Norwich City’s win against Leicester City was undoubtedly a huge one. It was a clean sheet against a top-four side- something the side has been a stranger to this season. In fact, many a sports betting agent expected Leicester to win easily. But in the Premier League, one win means nothing if a team wants to survive. As for Norwich, their case is a peculiar one.
The odds for Norwich going down would be higher than that of the other clubs. The sports bookies online are convinced Farke’s men are doomed. But there are a lot of reasons why the Canaries may have a better chance of coming back up if they go down, as compared to the other clubs.
The example of Burnley is a crucial one in this. The Clarets came back to the Premier League in 2014 with Sean Dyche in-charge. They had an identity as they constantly played a pragmatic brand of football in a 4-4-2 shape. Their recruitment worked according to that and the players would fit into that style.
The 2014-15 season saw them go back into the Championship rather expectedly. They also lost key players in Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier to top clubs. But Dyche’s men came back a season later to play European football and establish themselves a regular midtable club.
Over the last few years, many clubs have gone down and have not come back up. A lot of that was due to a lack of identity and this led to the recruitment being wishy-washy and reactionary on many occasions. This planless approach has hardly been known to take clubs anywhere but down the division.
Norwich know that themselves. They were in the Premier League in 2012 but a lack of playing style and stability saw them go down. It took them seven years to come back up and create an identity of playing an attacking brand of football.
They have scored the second-lowest number of goals and have let in the highest number of goals. But despite that, Daniel Farke has kept the identity intact. They keep 50.3 percent average possession- the ninth-best in the Premier League. That doesn’t mean much but for a team like them, that is very rare.
That is how they came to the Premier League from the Championship. Players like Todd Cantwell, Emi Buendia, Kenny McLean and Marco Stiepermann would get on the ball and dominate possession. Teemu Pukki would get on the end of through balls and score. The technical abilities of the attacking players was key and they’ve not lost their tendency for that.
It isn’t just that though, which shows that they’re a sustainable club. Sporting director Stuart Webber has been an expert at spotting undervalued talents which suit the Canaries system. While Germany is usually a hub for them (signings of Lukas Rupp and Ondrej Duda show that), but they have a consistent pattern.
Earlier in the season, Webber told BTSport: “We truly believe there are players out there. There is good value in the market. You have to look for it. You have to get off your backsides on the weekend and watch players and find them. Go and find players who can help us.”
He has been the secret for how the club has been signing undervalued talents that suit the technical brand of football. It ties into how they are a club with a plan- unlike Huddersfield Town. The Terries did have a plan but they lost the plot after the sacking of David Wagner and they don’t seem close to coming back anytime soon.
Webber is a former Huddersfield man himself. He knows what went wrong there and what needs to be not done to go the Huddersfield way. He has the idea, like Farke, about how the club will thrive in what it currently is.
They can lose players like Cantwell, Buendia, Jamaal Lewis and Max Aarons in the summer while going down. But they have the setup to replace them with lesser-known players quickly and get back up like they did with James Maddison. That is where the beauty of Norwich City lies.