Opta Evaluation

Tuesday 15 April 2014 09:00

The Opta statistics reinforce just how hard Fulham had to work for their win on Saturday afternoon, with Norwich City a match for the Whites in practically every department.

That said, you need to take your chances if you’re to win games in the Barclays Premier League, and that’s what Hugo Rodallega did in the 40th minute to secure a huge three points for his side.

Fans of the Canaries will argue that they should have been in front by the time Rodallega struck, and they may have a point. David Stockdale made four saves in the game, the two most impressive of which arrived within 30 seconds of one another in the first half with the score goalless.

First, he showed impeccable reflexes to divert Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s effort behind for a corner, from which he needed to be alert once again to prevent Leroy Fer’s header from finding the back of the net.

Further promising openings came and went to no avail for Norwich whilst the game was deadlocked, as Bradley Johnson hit an attempt wide following Fer’s header, before Robert Snodgrass hit the crossbar with a free-kick. In total, the visitors mustered 14 attempts on goal, exactly the same amount as Fulham.

With what was at stake during the game, there was always going to be a nervous energy about proceedings, and that goes some way to explaining the 70 and 78 per cent pass accuracy that Fulham and Norwich ended up with, respectively.

In addition, the Canaries also made 77 more passes than Felix Magath’s men, although we did play a greater percentage of attacking passes (70.4 per cent compared to Norwich’s 67).

A huge plus to come out of the weekend’s victory was the clean sheet kept by Stockdale and his teammates; our fifth in the Premier League this season and second in the last five matches.

Defensively, the statistics reflect favourably on Fulham, with the Whites making 10 more tackles than Norwich, with an 89 per cent success rate, compared to the Canaries’ 76 per cent. We also won 62 duels to their 50, although the away side did dominate the aerial battles, winning 19 of 33 duels contested in the air.

On his second home debut for the Club, Mahamadou Diarra put in another huge performance sitting in front of the back four. The manner with which he performed his defensive duties is best illustrated by the number of interceptions he made (five), while he also won possession four times. Add to that an above average pass accuracy of 80.6 per cent and the 32-year-old can be pleased with his contributions during his 85 minutes on the pitch.