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Talking Tactics

Classy Cantwell can spring Chelsea surprise

Adrian Clarke 23 Aug 2019
Todd Cantwell, Norwch

Adrian Clarke says Daniel Farke's faith in young Norwich City midfielder is starting to pay off

Adrian Clarke is looking at key tactical talking points ahead of Matchweek 3.

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Chelsea know the scoring threat posed by Norwich City's four-goal striker Teemu Pukki but Todd Cantwell is fast emerging as a real danger, too.

Only Kevin De Bruyne, with 12 chances, has carved out more goal opportunities than Cantwell's eight this season.

The Norwich attacking midfielder is a talent Frank Lampard's side must keep close tabs on in Saturday's early match.

Cantwell was a surprise selection by Daniel Farke in the defeat at Liverpool in Matchweek 1 but displayed great poise and created three chances.

Making an impact

He followed up with a superb 90-minute outing in last weekend's 3-1 win against Newcastle United, claiming two assists and providing three more key passes.

The 21-year-old academy graduate was a central squad player making 18 starts and six substitute appearances as Norwich won promotion last season.

He delivered a series of eye-catching cameos, scoring once and claiming two assists.

Cantwell was thrust into Farke's starting XI after a terrific pre-season and has not looked back. 

Exuding confidence, he has flitted around the final third to great effect.

Creative influence 2019/20
Player Club  Chances created Chances created in open play
 Kevin De Bruyne MCI  12 6
 Jack Grealish AVL  8 7
Todd Cantwell  NOR  8 6
 Pedro CHE  7 7

It will be fascinating to see how much freedom Farke gives his enterprising midfield trio for the visit of Chelsea.

In a difficult opener at Anfield, Emiliano Buendia stayed largely on the right, Marco Stiepermann remained central, with Cantwell operating down the left.

The tactical approach at home to Newcastle was far more liberated.

All three rotated positions on a continual basis and this bamboozled the Magpies.

If Norwich have the bravery to replicate this against Chelsea, rather than reverting to a more rigid structure, it will pose Lampard's men problems when they are out of possession.

Last time out, Cantwell, Stiepermann and Buendia all took up smart positions wide of centre to receives passes, and from those half-spaces they like to link with the full-backs, or look for the runs of Pukki.

Cantwell is also a strong runner, who makes late surges into the area and nearly scored from one such run last weekend.

Reaping the rewards

Chelsea may choose to focus their attention on stifling Moritz Leitner.

The German central midfielder made 105 passes against the Magpies, dominating with his distribution.

He picked out Cantwell 15 times and kept the ball moving, consistently bringing his team-mates into play.

If Leitner is allowed to dictate matters in a similar vein on Saturday, the Canaries' creative midfielders could enjoy another successful outing at Carrow Road.

Also in this series

Part 1: Young Arsenal midfield can test Liverpool
Part 2: Long-range Wilson gives Cherries new dimension
Part 3: Keane and Mina forming effective pairing at Everton

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