1. Will Rodgers stick or twist?
Last time out Brendan Rodgers surprised us all by changing his lineup and formation. The idea was to take advantage of Villa’s attacking fullbacks and create a 2v2 up front. It worked very well.
Norwich also love to throw Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis forwards, so the same areas could definitely be there to exploit. Kelechi Iheancho is in fine form so it would seem a little harsh to drop him at this point.
Still, the team has also had a lot of success in their regular shape. In particular, it’s been tested and worked well against struggling teams set up to frustrate us at home.
We had a few boys inside but they’re all fit and fine for Saturday. Everyone’s fine - the manager confirmed he has a full squad available
At Villa, we were playing our 3rd game of the week, so it made sense to get minutes for other players. After 6 days of rest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodgers bring the wingers back in. There is a midweek cup game coming up that Praet and Iheanacho will surely play in.
2. Keep Wilf near the ball
While I was hoping to see more of Wilfred Ndidi vs Jack Grealish, the Villans wisely started their star man out wide, which meant Wilf couldn’t be as involved in defending their main threat.
It could be another frustrating day for the Nigerian - only Sheffield United have sent fewer attacks through the middle this year than Norwich.
The majority of the Canaries’ attacks will probably come from the fullbacks above and two wingers from Emiliano Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Onel Hernandez. Chilwell and Pereira will again be key defenders, while Ndidi chips in where he can.
Fortunately, they’re not that much of threat. They look like a free scoring team because they concede a lot and scored three against Manchester City. In reality they’re 18th in both goals and xG.
3. Vardy vs Pukki
Of those few goals the Canaries have managed, it’s almost all been one man. Teemu Pukki leads the team in xG, xA and real goals (8 of their 17) and is 2nd in assists.
Still, his numbers don’t exactly compare favourably to Jamie Vardy. The prolific frontman has already doubled the Finn’s total for the season and has scored in each of his last eight games.
Jamie Vardy is 4 goals off joining the premier league 100 club. He was playing non-league football at 25. The man is an absolute freak and I fucking love him— Fake Carlton (@_CarltonCole9) December 8, 2019
With 41 and 47% of their team’s goals respectively, there’s no doubt that some part of the game will come down to how well the two teams are able to play in their leading man.
The big difference (other than Vardy’s outrageously good finishing) is in the strength of the cast around them. Pukki has just two teammates with two or more goals or assists this year, while Vardy has eight. The way he’s playing it would be an upset to not keep his streak going.