The numbers tell the story as late goals cover up the Canaries' real Achilles heel this season
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For all the talk of late goals and great character, Michael Bailey's analysis says getting ahead of the game has been the real hurdle for Norwich City in the Championship this season.
Only second-placed Cardiff (15 goals scored, six conceded) and fifth-placed Fulham (17-9) have been more productive than Daniel Farke’s Canaries in the final 15 minutes of Championship games this season – something that helped earn dramatic points against Ipswich Town and leaders Wolves in the last fortnight alone.
However, the reason for City’s likely failure to be among three of those four sides in the promotion hunt comes a lot earlier in games.
The Canaries have actually scored just 11 goals and conceded 22 in the first half of their league fixtures this season – only Sunderland (16-28) and Burton (12-24) have a worse record in the opening 45 minutes; two sides cut adrift in the relegation zone.
Norwich have scored first on 13 occasions, going on to win 10 and lose just once – earning an average of almost 2.5pts per game. That record is worth a place in the Championship’s top eight.
City’s record having gone behind first is also better than most in the division, picking up points in seven of those 17 games with two wins and five draws – an average of 0.65pts per game. In fact, Wolves’ average is lower (0.63) – the difference being they have fallen behind first only eight times all season. City have conceded first in half of their 34 games.
“For some unknown reason we just haven’t seemed able to get that early goal, that then changes the whole complexion of the game,” said on-loan City midfielder Harrison Reed – fresh from City’s goalless draw with Bolton at Carrow Road.
It was City’s fourth goalless draw of the campaign – where all four should have brought wins based on chances alone.
“Teams maybe look at the lack of goals we’ve scored and feel if they can sit in and defend, they could go away with one point – if they get a chance at the end, three.
“It’s something we’ve looked at over the season and it’s always been a thought throughout, that we’ve needed to score more goals and create more chances. It’s just unfortunate that again on Saturday, it didn’t go in.”
Sitting just above the relegation zone, Barnsley have had similar problems to Norwich this season. They welcome Farke’s side to Oakwell on Saturday.
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