After a period of two months, the EFL Championship makes a return for the 2022-23 season. One of the 12 games in matchday one sees Cardiff City welcome Norwich City to the Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff finished the last season in 18th place on the points table, while Norwich were relegated from the Premier League after finishing at the bottom of the table. Both teams will be looking for a fresh start this season and will have different objectives. Cardiff will look for an upper midtable finish whereas Norwich will be aiming to bounce back to the Premier League.
Cardiff City finished the 2021-22 EFL Championship with 53 points. They had a record of 15 wins, eight draws and 23 losses, and their goal difference stood at -18. They let in far more goals than what xGA predicted. According to the metric, the Bluebirds should have let in only 53 goals, but they picked the ball from the back of their own net 68 times. The xGA table put Cardiff as the sixth-best defence, but in the actual goals conceded column, they were ranked as the joint sixth-worst team, along with their Welsh rivals, Swansea City.
Midfielder Ryan Giles was Cardiff City’s most successful threat creator last season. He produced the most threat from open play as well as from set-piece situations. Next best threat creators in the squad were Marlon Pack and Will Vaulks. The two leading assist providers for the Bluebirds were Giles and Joe Ralls, with nine and six, respectively. Most of the threat came from the left-hand side of the pitch.
Norwich City had a miserable campaign in the Premier League last season as they were relegated. They finished with the wooden spoon and a record of only five wins, seven draws and a whopping 26 losses. Their goal difference was an atrocious -61, leaking 84 goals. The Canaries also underperformed on their xG of 32 by scoring only 23 times. That is 11 goals fewer than the next worst teams, Burnley and Watford, who were also relegated from the top flight.
As seen from the shot map above, Norwich City missed too many big goalscoring opportunities last season, some of them even from inside the six-yard box. They attempted only 374 shots in the season and scored 21 goals, taking their shot conversion rate to 17.81 shots per goal scored. The Finnish man, Teemu Pukki, was the Canaries’ top goalscorer with 11 goals.
Cardiff City will be desperate to improve on their 18th place finish in the last season, and Norwich will be looking to win promotion at the first time of asking. Both teams will be eager to get their campaigns underway positively.