Norwich Will Be Promoted Again This Season & They've Learnt Their Lessons

12 December 2020 04:45

There comes a time in any relegation-threatened club's season when they need to make a huge decision.

They can either part ways with their manager and hope the new appointment sees them safe, or they can accept they're going down and stick with their current boss in the hope he brings them back up.

Daniel Farke seems to have learnt from his mistakes | George Wood/Getty Images

To the surprise of many, Norwich opted for the latter last season and showed faith in Daniel Farke. Now, you may wonder why it was such a surprise given the German tactician's brilliant feat in achieving promotion with the Canaries.

However, when you consider the club looked pretty much doomed midway through their first campaign back in the top flight, a new manager would have had the best part of half a season as well as the January transfer window to revitalise his squad.

Nevertheless, Norwich's hierarchy decided not to take the gamble, and boy is it paying off. Farke has clearly learnt from his mistakes and the Canaries look a completely different proposition in this year's Championship when compared to the team promoted in 2019.

The first major difference is the club moving away from its over-reliance on Teemu Pukki. Back in 2018/19, the Finnish goalscoring machine was on fire, spearheading Farke's attack as his 29 league goals secured promotion to the Premier League.

Norwich are no longer so reliant on Teemu Pukki | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

So if he can score in the second tier he can score in the top tier, right? Yeah, that worked out well. The club made absolutely no attempt to significantly bolster their attacking arsenal having been promoted, and after a run of six goals in his opening five games, the striker would score just two following the turn of the year - including a run of 13 games without a goal.

It would have been easy for Farke to revert back to his old ways following their relegation, and once again look to Pukki to drive them to promotion. Instead, he brought in Jordan Hugill to play as the focal point of the team's attack, deploying a much more forward-thinking midfield containing the likes of Mario Vrancic, and suddenly the goals are beginning to be shared out among the team.

While Norwich were regularly lauded for their pretty football in their 2018/19 promotion campaign, as soon as they tried to adopt the same philosophy against teams with much more energy and pace about them, they were soon found wanting.

This time around, Farke hasn't completely abandoned his footballing ethos, but the team looks much more direct, with summer arrival Przemyslaw Placheta adding some much-needed pace in a side which looked completely bereft of it last season.

Przemyslaw Placheta has added some much needed pace | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The slightly cumbersome, laboured midfield of Kenny McLean and an ageing Alex Tettey has been replaced with a much more dynamic, energetic midfield containing Lukas Rupp and Oliver Skipp. Suddenly, Norwich have gone from a pretty team who need Pukki, to a fast paced, powerful side that's full of running and can score goals from anywhere on the pitch.

Perhaps the one element of luck - if you can call it that - in Norwich's season, is that they managed to keep hold of pretty much all their star players over the summer. You may wonder why we call this 'luck' as opposed to the club holding firm and refusing to sell, but their form towards the end of the season may have played a large part in their solid summer business (or lack of).

The Canaries lost every single one of their final ten games in the Premier League - scoring just one goal in the process. Suddenly, players like Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell who had been linked with moves to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively, no longer looked such an attractive proposition.

Norwich endured a miserable Premier League return last season | LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

Surely Farke didn't do that on purpose? Or maybe. no, no chance, we're not having it.

Conspiracy theories aside, Norwich look the real deal this season. They sit top of the table and will definitely get promoted. But never fear, this isn't Groundhog Day. They're a far better team than the one that finished top of the Championship in 2019, and they look to have learnt their lessons from their disastrous Premier League campaign.

Source: 90min