Norwich City began the season with the usual optimism of a promoted team but was it realistic to expect a comfortable mid-table ride? A predictable opening-day 4-1 drubbing by Liverpool was followed by a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Newcastle United at Carrow Road, with Teemu Pukki bagging the Canaries’ first ever Premier League hat-trick.
Match of the Day pundits were eulogising about the Finland hitman and suggesting that he had the class to keep them away from the relegation zone and ensure at least another season in the top flight for the East Anglia outfit.
However, it has been tough since then and even an amazing 3-2 triumph over champions Manchester City on home soil has not been able to spark them into life. Six defeats from eight games is the stark reality for a side that dominated proceedings to win last season’s Championship title and it seems inevitable that they will be battling for survival come May.
Norwich had enjoyed five seasons in the Premier League prior to the current campaign, spending three consecutive years in the promised land between 2011 and 2014 but they have suffered three relegations and suffered the drop after just one season last time around in 2015-2016.
It is always tough for the so-called lesser teams to compete but not impossible as the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley now seem well established in England’s top division having spent the majority of their time in the lower leagues.
The smaller teams usually base their survival strategy on winning as many games as possible on the own patch and picking up what they can away from home and that will surely have to be the Canaries’ mantra as well.
Both their three-pointers have come at home while they have scored just one goal and conceded 10 in four straight away defeats – a worrying trend even at this early stage of proceedings.
Scoring goals looks like being the problem, with Pukki not on the score sheet for the past three games and they were blown away 5-1 at home by Aston Villa before the international break.
It is going to take a collective effort from all connected with the club – players, management and fans – to keep their noses above water and it would be no surprise to see a rallying call from a certain celebrity chef at some stage.
However, it did not work back then and hard work will be the key to getting out of trouble during the next seven months.