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Norwich City: Ben Lee’s tactical analysis of Wagner strategy

Ben Lee is a City season ticket holder and author of the NCFC Analysis social media account, where he analyzes and reports on the tactical strengths and weaknesses of the Canaries. He has looked at the reasons for the downturn in the team’s performance and what the arrival of Ben Knapper might mean for the future. The team had a positive start to the 2023/24 campaign, winning three of their first four games, but then experienced a downturn. Injuries have exposed some tactical and individual weaknesses, particularly in the team’s deep build-up structure, where they create a 4-2-4 shape with a double pivot and a double false nine. However, with the injuries to key players, they have struggled to adapt to effective opposition pressing strategies, leading to a more uncertain approach to ball progression.

In addition to struggles with ball progression, Norwich also faces challenges in their defensive transitions and other phases of play. In possession, they transition into a 3-4-3 shape with a midfield diamond, but this structure has exposed their poor ball retention and defensive profile. They currently sit third in the table for goals scored but bottom for goals conceded. To mitigate these defensive weaknesses, the team should focus on strengthening their rest defence. From a tactical perspective, Norwich often either fail to press aggressively or to adapt to the opponent’s structure when out of possession, leaving large spaces between the lines and undermining their ability to end the cycle of conceding from transitions.

Following Ben Knapper’s arrival as the new sporting director, he has highlighted the importance of ‘control’ and ‘winning the ball back high’ as key facets of a team under his leadership. As a data-driven figure, Knapper will need to address the team’s poor performance metrics, including possession and intensity of press, to improve the team’s overall performance. Despite these challenges, it is worth noting that Daniel Farke, the previous manager, was more than capable. Overall, Norwich’s performance on the field has been a mix of promising starts and significant challenges, with the hope that Ben Knapper’s expertise and strategic approach will bring positive changes to the team’s tactical and overall performance.

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