Tactically Speaking

The Official Website takes an in-depth look at how Norwich City could line up on Saturday, while also focusing on Guy Demel's outstanding defensive contribution for West Ham United.

West Ham United

Guy Demel

With a trip to Carrow Road looming, WhoScored.com believe Norwich City's indifferent goal return this season and recent history between both sides could result in another clean sheet for West Ham United.

The Hammers are unbeaten in their last five competitive meetings with the Canaries and will be looking to continue that fine run of form on Saturday. The resolute defence will once again be expected to play a crucial role in the encounter, with the team yet to concede a goal from open play in five Barclays Premier League matches away from home this season.

Up against a Norwich team which has scored six goals in ten league matches so far, West Ham will hope to ensure that as little trouble as possible is posed to Jussi Jaaskeläinen. No team has scored fewer goals in England's top tier this season than Chris Hughton's side, with the Canaries boasting the worst chance conversion rate (4.8%) in the division.

Moreover, with the Hammers keeping six clean sheets in total this season and four of those coming away from home, Norwich face an uphill struggle to find a way past the West Ham backline. Norwich are also coming off the back of a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City last weekend

West Ham, meanwhile, secured a positive result in the two Premier League meetings with Norwich last season; a 0-0 draw at Carrow Road followed by a 2-1 win at the Boleyn Ground.

Evidently, Norwich found it statistically impossible to break down the steadfast West Ham defence and it is expected to be a similar story when the Hammers make the trip to Norfolk. According to WhoScored.com's statistically calculated ratings, four of West Ham's top six performers this season operate in defence as a result of their impressive collective displays.

Guy Demel is one of those and he is tipped to impress once again this weekend. The Hammers are yet to concede in an away game in the Premier League in which he has started and while regular centre-back pairing Winston Reid (7.52) and James Tomkins (7.16) have both have a higher WhoScored.com rating than Demel (6.94) this term, the Ivorian has proven that he is a key member of the West Ham starting XI.

Demel concedes just 0.4 fouls per game, despite making two tackles per game, showing he is concentrated in his defensive work and does not give away many free-kicks in dangerous positions. Demel also makes an average of 2.5 clearances and 1.3 interceptions per game, helping his side's defensive cause.

Combined with Norwich's impotence in front of goal, another away clean sheet for the Hammers is a possible outcome in the encounter. West Ham have, defensively, performed exceptionally well this season and they can be confident of keeping the Canaries grounded.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Norwich City

Possible starting XI


Martin  Turner  Bassong  Olsson

Snodgrass  Howson  Fer  Johnson  Pilkington


Norwich City manager Chris Hughton will be tempted to ring the changes following a difficult week.

Hughton saw his side thrashed 4-0 at Manchester United in the Capital One Cup fourth round before going down 7-0 at Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League last weekend.

While the Canaries boss will be desperate to score a vital victory, both for the club and for his own personal position, the former West Ham United defender is likely to stick with his tried and tested 4-5-1 formation.

Defensively, Norwich play a compact style, with a bank of four defenders protected by five hard-working midfield players.

On the attack, the full-backs will look to join in as Norwich switch to a 3-4-3 formation, with wide midfielders Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington pushing up to support the central striker.

As for Norwich's playing style, they like to get the ball wide to their over-lapping full-backs and midfielders who can both cross or shoot from outside the penalty area.

Up front, if Gary Hooper leads the line, he is a hard-working striker who can convert chances or play with his back to goal and bring others into the action.

Personnel-wise, England international John Ruddy will start in goal. A physically-imposing yet agile figure, Ruddy appears to have been born to be a goalkeeper. His most impressive asset is his shot-stopping.

At the back, right-back Russell Martin is a strong, all-action defender who likes to get forward - as was shown by his goal at the Boleyn Ground last season. On the opposite flank, Sweden international Martin Olsson is quicker and more mobile, but maybe does not possess quite the same quality in possession as Martin.

The centre-back positions may be up for grabs after last weekend's loss at the Etihad. Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong were the pair who started that game. Turner is an archetypal centre-back - tall and strong in the air and in the tackle - while Cameroon international Bassong is an athletic, quick and mobile defender who likes to mark his forward tightly. Both make just shy of six clearances each per game.

Should either be dropped, Ryan Bennett could deputise. The former Grimsby Town and Peterborough United player is strong in the air but maybe lacks a bit of mobility on the ground.

Norwich's two recent defeats were both suffered following the loss of influential Norwegian defensive midfielder Alex Tettey to an ankle injury that will rule him out until 2014. Into his boots has stepped one of Norwich's large band of former Leeds United players, Bradley Johnson, who is likely to be named as one of three central midfielders alongside fellow ex-Leeds man Jonny Howson and Dutchman Leroy Fer.

Johnson is a powerful left-sided midfielder who can create and score goals, while Howson is a more mobile box-to-box player who is also Norwich's top Barclays Premier League scorer with two goals. Fer, who joined Norwich in the summer, is the defensive midfielder in the formation, using his strong physique to break up play - he makes a team-high three tackles per game - and find his team-mates with low-risk passes - hence his 86.1 per cent completion rate. Fer is also capable of joining the attack on occasion.

In wide areas, Snodgrass will play on the right but is left-footed. The Scotland international possesses real quality with the ball at his feet and can deliver threating set pieces, while in open play he is elusive enough to create space to get crosses and shots away. Likewise, Pilkington is a right-footer playing on the left. A strong runner with the ball who is also decent in the air, he can create goals and also pop up in the opposition penalty area to score them himself

Should Hughton opt to change his midfield, the versatile Scot Steven Whittaker could play wide on the right, while the young creative player Nathan Redmond is an option on the left, Experienced Irishman Wes Hoolahan could also be involved. It is perhaps telling that Redmond (17) and Snodgrass (15) have both unleashed more shots on goal than any of Norwich's forwards this season.

Up front, Hooper has been the preferred option for Hughton for the majority of this season, but Norwich have options other than the former Celtic man.

Swede Johan Elmander is tall, strong and can hold the ball up well with his body, bringing midfielders into play. Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel has not scored since the opening day of the season following his £8.5m summer arrival, but was a prolific scorer with former clubs Sporting Lisbon and Utrecht. Either could be preferred to Hooper.

Finally, former Leeds man Luciano Becchio is a forgotten man at Carrow Road, while Saturday's game may have come too soon for exciting forward and 2013 FA Youth Cup winner Josh Murphy, who debuted at Manchester United last week.