Can Norwich establish themselves in the Premier League?
Norwich have earned a promotion to the Premier League four times over the last 20 years and are on course to secure a fifth, given their dominant form in the Championship.
Daniel Farke’s men were relegated from the top flight after only one season amongst the elite in the 2019/20 campaign. The Canaries mustered only 21 points from their 38 games, crashing back down into the second tier as a result of their miserable term.
It followed a similar pattern to their previous spells in the Premier League where the club lacked the quality and failed to produce results when it mattered the most.
Since the inception of the Premier League, Norwich’s longest stint in the top flight has been three years. Indeed, the club were one of the initial 22 teams that competed in the newly-created league in 1992. Their span lasted those three seasons before they were relegated in 1995.
Paul Lambert and Chris Hughton then combined to lead the Canaries to another three-year stretch before another relegation followed in 2014. On three occasions Norwich have been promoted, but then have plummeted down after only a season – in 2005, 2016, and 2020.
Farke is leading the charge to take the Canaries back into the Premier League, and barring a meltdown of epic proportion in the final two months of the term, the East Anglian outfit should be back amongst the elite. Norwich are even backed at 1/9 in the Championship betting odds to win the title. Such is the strength of their position after 35 games.
However, the question looming over the Canaries is how to remain in the Premier League for an extended period of time. Norwich have claimed the identity of a yo-yo club – they have often been too good for the Championship but have failed to find their feet in the top flight.
Their commitment to their style of play in the 2019/20 season was admirable. Farke insisted that his team would play the football that won them promotion to the Premier League.
However, time and again, his team were exposed at the back. Teemu Pukki, who had been so clinical in the Championship, lacked the prowess against the quality backlines of the top flight. Emiliano Buendia was a bright light, although the Argentine did not quite shine enough to drive a survival run.
Pukki and Buendia have been the foundation of their promotion push once again, as they were in 2019. Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons have taken significant strides in their development after impressing in their last Premier League campaign.
Those players will be key once more in the top flight. However, for a team that cannot splash the cash, the Canaries will be scrambling for low-cost additions. They were robbed of two talents that they cultivated in the form of Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis after their relegation, as Everton and Newcastle pounced for their signatures.
Norwich will have to nail their summer recruitment to ensure that they have the quality in place to compete in the Premier League.
In recent times, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United have proven that a team ethos can work for a season. The Canaries will have greater ambitions and they do not want to be in the same position next year where they are facing another drop to the second tier.