Tactically speaking

The Official Website takes a closer look at how Norwich City might line up tonight, while WhoScored.com examines the contribution made by West Ham United left-back George McCartney.

West Ham United

George McCartney

Ahead of West Ham United's welcome of Norwich City on Tuesday, football statistics website WhoScored.com have taken the opportunity to preview the encounter.

In the corresponding fixture earlier this season at Carrow Road, Norwich ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Gary Hooper, Robert Snodgrass and Leroy Fer. West Ham's goal came from Ravel Morrison.

The Hammers have taken seven points from a possible nine of late and Saturday's 2-0 win over Aston Villa means the team have kept three clean sheets in their last three league matches. In contrast, Norwich have won just one of their last ten games in England's top tier.

Norwich's form on the road, having taken just eight points from 12 games away from home, doesn't bode well for the travelling side and West Ham will certainly head into the encounter full of confidence on the back of three impressive results. When taking into account the low number of away goals (eight) Chris Hughton's side have scored this term there's no reason why the east London outfit can't secure their 12th clean sheet of the campaign.

Crucial to this will be full-back George McCartney, who has played a key role in his last three league appearances. The 32-year old was part of the backline that shut out Cardiff, Swansea and Villa and the Hammers are yet to ship a goal in the last 277 minutes in which McCartney has played in defence.

With Norwich boasting a WhoScored.com weakness of 'finishing scoring chances', a tough trip to the Boleyn Ground hasn't come at an ideal time for the visiting team. Even from a creative perspective, the away team will struggle to muster the chances to test the West Ham goal, especially should they attack down the right flank, which is a statistically calculated style of play of theirs.

McCartney has a WhoScored.com strength of 'blocking the ball', meaning he'll be able to limit Norwich's goalscoring opportunities, especially if the away team focus their efforts down his side of the pitch. In turn, this will allow the Northern Irishman to press forward in the hope of catching the Norwich defence on the break and utilising his strength of 'crossing'.

Both defensively and offensively, McCartney can be a key player in the encounter at the Boleyn Ground as the Hammers aim to continue their impressive run of form that will increase their chances of securing Premier League safety.

*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

Ruddy

Martin  Yobo  Bassong  Olsson

Redmond  Tettey  Johnson  Snodgrass

Fer

Hooper

As is so often the case with a team struggling in the lower reaches of any table, Norwich City's difficulties this season have stemmed from not scoring enough and conceding too many.

Only Crystal Palace had scored less than the 19 goals Norwich have managed, while the Canaries tally of 37 conceded made for the fifth highest total in the Barclays Premier League.

While there is still time for Norwich to turn things around at both ends of the pitch, the patterns of achievement are there for all to see.

In short, Norwich have struggled to break teams down - three of those 19 goals came in one game against West Ham United in October - while they have conceded goals in alarming bunches, particularly away from home - seven at Manchester City, five at Liverpool and four at Arsenal.

Those disappointing goal statistics have not been for want of trying, as manager Chris Hughton has fielded a 4-4-2 formation - or variant of it - in 23 of Norwich's opening 25 league matches. On Saturday, however, he used a 4-5-1 to successfully stifle Manchester City at Carrow Road and may go with that more defensive shape again this evening.

Style-wise, Norwich like to get the ball wide, where arguably their two most talented players - Robert Snodgrass and Jonas Gutierrez - lurk. Both like to get crosses into the penalty area regularly. However, Snodgrass faces a fitness test and Gutierrez is likely to miss the match thought injury, so Nathan Redmond could feature from the start.

Youngster Redmond loves nothing more than running at his full-back and crossing or unleashing a shot on goal.

Those crosses will most likely be aimed for centre forward Gary Hooper or supporting midfielders such as Bradley Johnson or Leroy Fer.

The winger from the opposite flank will also be expected to get into the box to support when the attack is down the other wing.

At the back, goalkeeper John Ruddy is a giant of a man, capable of dominating his penalty area and also using his huge frame to keep the ball out of the net.

In front of him, new signing Joseph Yobo may come into the defence. The Nigeria veteran is strong and consistent. His partner will either be Ryan Bennett, Sebastien Bassong or Michael Turner.

Bassong is perhaps the best athlete and footballer among that trio, while Bennett is strong in the air and in the tackle and is reluctant to sell himself to opposition forwards.

The full-back areas will be patrolled by strong, attack-minded Scotsman Russell Martin and the lively Swede Jonas Olsson, both of whom will not think twice about getting forward to support their winger - possibly leaving space in behind for West Ham to exploit.

In midfield, Fer could be in the starting line-up after being a first-choice for much of the season. The Dutchman is an all-round talent who can break up the play and create and score goals of his own.

The all-action Johnson loves a tackle and interception, while also getting forward into the opposition penalty area.

More defensively, Norwegian Alexander Tettey likes to position himself to intercept passes and cuts an imposing physical presence. He uses the ball securely, completing nearly 90 per cent of his passes.

Other midfield options for Hughton include the box-to-box midfielder Jonny Howson and enigmatic Republic of Ireland playmaker Wes Hoolahan.

Norwich have options up front. The physical Elmander can hold up play and keep defenders occupied, while leading scorer Hooper is a more all-round forward who is accurate when given the opportunity to shoot from any range.

Should both be left out, Netherlands international Ricky van Wolfswinkel could deputise. Norwich's record signing works hard and is strong in the air, but has struggled for goals.