Despite our excellent season back in the Premier League, one thing has been a constant worry is conceding goals. We have conceded the most goals outside of the bottom three this season, which is not a good statistic to have against our name.
I know our style of play means other teams are going to get opportunities as we push forward ourselves, but maybe a little tightening up is needed for next season. Now, one position that can help stop the flow of goals is the holding midfield position. Let’s assess whom we have to play there at the moment.
Firstly, we have David Fox who usually plays in the base of the diamond, meaning he takes up that holding midfield position. Now Fox is not a player, in my eyes, whom is able to break up the oppositions attacks constantly enough. However, Fox adds a different dimension to the position with his wide array of passing, which gets Norwich flowing.
Next, we have Bradley Johnson. Johnson is more of a central midfielder but can play more in a holding role. Johnson is more of a tough tackler than Fox is, but Johnson’s passing abilities are a level below Fox’s. Johnson is definitely more effective as part of a midfield two than in the diamond.
The final candidate would be Jonny Howson, but he has shown himself to be a very effective player when he is pushed forward, so he wouldn’t be an ideal option.
The holding midfield role is crucial in terms of breaking up play. The great teams of yester year all had an enforcer. Makelele, Keane, Vieira are all examples of this. To tighten up our defence a holding midfielder is needed. Ideally, we would have a holding midfielder whom has the passing abilities of Fox and the tackling abilities of Johnson.
However, there are very few players whom have the combination of this who are available within our price range. Maybe a loan signing could do the job, someone like Emmanuel Frimpong or Oriol Romeu, who doesn’t get regular games at the top clubs, but could do a very good job for us.
I would say that Norwich do need a quality holding midfielder to protect the defence next season, but finding one that can do the job in our diamond of passing as well as breaking up the play could be a much harder task.