Chelsea’s first match against a newly promoted side sees them host the ambitious Norwich. But are Norwich overreaching their means likes others before them?
The memory most people have of Norwich in the Premier League is likely a case of “oh yeah, they were there that season”. Norwich is almost always the team that earns promotion before going down without really making any noise along the way.
But things are different at Norwich now. Daniel Farke has helped to spread the Jurgen Klopp/Dortmund coaching tree as they raced their way to the top of the Championship.
Their promotion does not come without asterisks however. While they came up with a fantastic goal scoring record, their form at the other end was left wanting at times. This feels like a story that has been heard before and it is really hard to tell if this will be another year where Norwich goes down without a whimper or if they fight expectations and stay up.
Like most of the Klopp/Dortmund tree, Farke uses a 4-2-3-1 to have a lot of players initiating a high press. Ideally, they win the ball back high and can initiate a fast attack against an unprepared opponent. Otherwise they look to force the opponent into playing faster than comfortable to avoid the press and into mistakes.
It is the same exact high speed stuff that saw Huddersfield go from Championship perennials to the Premier League. But just like David Wagner’s side, that may not be a long term option for Premier League success. The gap in quality between the two leagues is as great as it may have ever been and the aggressive styles of the Championship often struggle when met with the raised quality in the Premier League.
The best thing Frank Lampard’s side can do is wait for Norwich to over commit. And they surely will as it is the point in the season where every promoted team continues to stick doggedly to what worked to bring them up. On opening day, that only briefly caused Liverpool issues before they showed the quality gap. That will be Lampard and Chelsea’s main task as well.
Norwich will be a good match for Lampard’s style. While the Chelsea side does intend to press high, they are not afraid to concede space to create room to counter for themselves. So long as Norwich sticks to their way, they will over commit and Chelsea’s attackers will find plenty of space.
Even last season, as Norwich ran their way up the table, Lampard’s Derby County side was able to take four out of six points from matches with them. Now that Lampard has the higher quality side, things should be even more straight forward. Of course, Lampard will not assume that as he looks to build up a run of form with Chelsea.
Daniel Farke is a good manager and Norwich was rightfully promoted. But if they stick to what got them promoted, they will surely go the way of teams like Fulham or Huddersfield (albeit after a season of safety).
Frank Lampard will not take anything for granted but this one seems pretty straight forward at this part of the season.