Tottenham tactics: Spurs vs Norwich preview

With the international interval over, it’s time to get back to business in the Premier League with Spurs vs Norwich.

Eight new arrivals at Carrow Road sees a much changed Canaries side, but they will be looking to cause us the usual headaches. So, what can we expect and what should be the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Norwich this time?

Norwich set up and style

Chris Hughton lines his side up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with two inverted wingers on the flanks. These players are key to the attack, as the Canaries look to get the ball out to them at every opportunity, but they perform two different functions.

On the right Robert Snodgrass cuts inside looking to cross, whereas over on the left, Nathan Redmond wants to dribble in-field and shoot. They are aptly aided in their tasks by their full backs and we’ll look at this further in a minute.

In the middle of the park, he employs two players that can win the ball. Leroy Fer is much better at this than Bradley Johnson, but both can tackle and start an attack. This is key, as Norwich are happy to concede possession, drop deep and play on the counter. When they have the ball, both players are looking to move it out to the wide men in order to go forward.

Up top, Johan Elmander plays off Ricky van Wolfswinkel in a combination of striker and support striker, rather than a creative number 10 playing off a number 9.

The Swede floats from flank to flank looking to first of all create an overload in the wide positions. He then moves towards the edge of the area in order to pick up passes from which he can shoot.

The Dutchman plays much narrower than his counterpart. He is the focus for long balls played forward from the back, as well as crosses from both Whittaker and Snodgrass on the right.

Despite the much changed line-up change, Norwich still play a huge number of long balls. This is quite curious, as Ricky van Wolfswinkel is good in the air, but not the strong type of target man that Grant Holt, Steve Morison and Kei Kamara were.

Against Southampton last time out, pretty much all of their long balls that were played up the field failed to find their target. The ones that switched play from flank to flank were much more accurate.


Norwich long balls attempted, Norwich 1 Suthampton 0.

Leroy Fer

I’m going to start with Leroy Fer, as the Dutchman is the key player to getting the attack moving when Norwich have the ball.

He is excellent at winning the ball back for his side, mainly through tackling, but also by intercepting it. With Norwich sat deep, he screens the defence, but then is also available to receive possession from the back four when they win it back.

Once play has moved up the field, he then goes in support of the wide players to make himself available for a pass back inside.


Leroy Fer pass received, Norwich 1 Southampton 0.

From there, he can switch the play to the other flank by means of a quick pass, just as he did on moving the ball to Nathan Redmond for his goal against Southampton.


Leroy Fer passes played, Norwich 1 Southampton 0.

Leroy Fer is a dangerous player as he can dictate the tempo from midfield. The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Norwich should see us try to overload this area with our central trio, so as to not give him time or space on the ball.

Robert Snodgrass and Steven Whittaker

The flanks are the main destination when Norwich have possession and the partnership of Robert Snodgrass and Steven Whittaker is a good one.

The two Scots are both looking to get forward and combine well with neat dribbling, passing and overlaps. The majority of balls played between the two are vertical up the line as they look to get each other in to advanced positions.


Passes from Steven Whittaker to Robert Snodgrass and vice versa.

Whilst Whittaker is on his natural right side and can opt to cross or shoot, Robert Snodgrass is left footed and therefore looks to come back inside and cross.


Robert Snodgrass passes played, Norwich 1 Southampton 0.

The right side is by far Norwich’s favourite to build attacks, so the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Norwich here need to be aware of this. Danny Rose will probably start with Nacer Chadli on this side and both men will need to play high up to force the Norwich pair back.

Stopping the supply line from central midfield will be the first job; then pushing these two back to have to start from deeper is the second.

Nathan Redmond

On the other side, Nathan Redmond is a real handful to dribble inside and shoot from his starting position on the left.

The England U21 man sets up like a traditional winger, playing wide and receiving the ball midway inside the opposition half. But instead of hugging the touchline and looking to get in-behind down the flank, he darts inside and fires shots from the corner of the penalty area.


Nathan Redmond passes received and shots.

Javier Garrido backs him up by trying to take defenders away from the area, as he moves past him down the line. This gives Redmond’s marker a choice to make of whether to go with Garrido or not, allowing the winger to move inside if there is any indecision.


Garrido’s movement takes two defenders with him, opening the space.

The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Norwich here should see Kyle Walker look to force Redmond down the line. Walker has the pace to match up with the Norwich man and should look to keep both him and Garrido in wide areas where they have to look to cross.

Where Norwich concede chances

Norwich sit deep as a team and with their sizeable centre backs they’re good at clearing anything put high in to the box.

While size is their advantage, mobility is not, with both Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong slow to deal with attacks that come through the centre on the floor.

Everton scored twice against them through doing just this, as Steven Pienaar slid a pass through the inside left channel for Nikica Jelavic to latch on to. The Croatian’s shot was saved, but Seamus Coleman scooped up the rebound.


Everton open up the Norwich defence.

The goal set the tone for Everton carving up the Norwich defence for much of the game. They created chances from neat passes through the central channels – especially the Canaries’ inside right channel patrolled by Michael Turner.

They also played a couple of neat cut backs from Javier Garrido’s left back zone – where Ross Barkley’s opening goal was created from by Seamus Coleman’s dribble inside. The only time an aerial cross found its target was from Leighton Baines on the left.


Everton chances created vs Norwich.

In their last match against Southampton, the Saints didn’t score, but they did create openings from going through the central channels, as did Hull the weekend before.


Hull and Southampton chances created vs Norwich.

The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Norwich needs to see us look to get in through the inside channels or by working the ball in to cutback positions behind the full backs.

Spurs vs Norwich outlook

The Canaries have traditionally done well against us at the Lane and this will be another tough match. In Spurs 1 Norwich 1 last season, they bombarded us from the flanks and cannot be allowed to do the same again.

Norwich will look to sit deep, soak up pressure and play on the counter. The response to this should be similar to the approach of Everton. The Toffees pressed them high up and controlled possession of the ball, often keeping it in the Norwich half, creating an abundance of scoring chances.

When they do have the ball, we need to be wary of where our wide forwards are to not allow Garrido/Redmond and Whittaker/Snodgrass to operate in their tandems.

The natural result should be a 1-1 draw, but with Norwich having struggled away and Spurs failing to score from open play, this could be settled by the odd goal.

Spurs vs Norwich prediction: Tottenham 1 Norwich 0.

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