Norwich have a love-hate relationship with the Premier League.
Four out of the Canaries’ six seasons in the top flight have ended in relegation. Once Norwich reach the promised land, they struggle to stay there.
However, this Norwich side has plenty to get excited about from a neutral perspective given their sizeable combined total of goals scored and conceded last season mounting up to 150.
The Championship winners are led by an attack-minded boss preparing for his debut season at the top of the English game and boast a range of exciting talents ready to make the step up – but can they translate their second-tier superiority into top-tier success?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about Norwich ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Where did Norwich finish last season?
1st (Championship). Norwich weren’t supposed to win the league last season.
They were tipped for mid-table or an outside bet for the play-offs at best, but Norwich fully bought into Daniel Farke’s philosophy and it paid dividends.
Teemu Pukki led the line with 30 Championship goals while Mario Vrancic, Onel Hernandez, Jordan Rhodes and Emiliano Buendia all chipped in with at least eight goals to cement Norwich as the most fearsome attacking unit in the division.
The Canaries weren’t without fault. They shipped an alarming number of goals for a title-winning side, but a never-say die attitude saw Norwich come back with late goals from losing positions to earn 24 points across the season.
Who is Norwich’s key player?
Teemu Pukki. Every Championship-winning side boasts a talismanic striker, though very few translate their second-tier dominance into top-tier form.
Flick through the list of Championship Golden Boot winners since 2005. Not all were promoted despite their best efforts, barely any actually cut their teeth in the top flight: Nathan Ellington, Marlon King, Jamie Cureton, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (twice), Peter Whittingham, Nicky Maynard, Danny Graham, Rickie Lambert, Glenn Murray, Ross McCormack, Daryl Murphy, Andre Gray, Chris Wood, Matej Vydra… can Teemu Pukki break the mould?
He bagged 29 last season which puts him second-highest on the list after Murray’s terrific 30-goal season with Crystal Palace.
The most remarkable aspect of Pukki’s feat was that he still had time and chances to record nine assists on top of his mega-goal tally.
Pukki signed on a free transfer from Brondby last season and will enter the Premier League campaign with terrific confidence he can step up again.
The 29-year-old – who failed to light up the Scottish Premiership with Celtic several years ago – isn’t the most physically intimidating striker at 5ft11 but he is comfortable playing with his back to goal to assist others and quick enough to burst in behind defenders.
He is a perfect fit for a counter attacking system and if Norwich are to survive, they’ll have to make the most of that style and Pukki himself.
Who is Norwich’s biggest summer signing?
Sam Byram (£750k). In stark contrast to Aston Villa, Norwich will back their Championship heroes to carry momentum into the new season.
It’s an admirable approach in a wild marketplace, but are the Canaries’ players ready to step up a level in union?
Right now, Byram is the biggest money spent by Norwich, but that will surely change before the campaign begins, though he is by no means a poor signing, and sub-£1m for a potential Premier League starter is a clear win.
The former Leeds man was a sensation in the Championship after breaking through their academy to nail down the starting right-back spot before his 20th birthday.
He moved to West Ham during a period of uncertainty over the new stadium, a weak sole excuse for his personal dip in form, but the discontent couldn’t have helped him settle into new surroundings for the first time in his career.
Byram has a second crack at the top flight with Norwich and will be determined to get his career back on track.
Who is Norwich’s manager? Meet Daniel Farke
Farke’s appointment felt like a mid-life crisis moment for a side whose previous manager lists reads ‘Alex Neil, Neil Adams, Chris Hughton, Paul Lambert, Bryan Gunn, Glenn Roeder…’
Fed up of the monotonous stable of repeating names just looking for their next pay cheque, Norwich went outside the box and plumped for a candidate whose only management job was that of Dortmund II.
And man, it worked.
The German 42-year-old cleared the decks in 2017/18, he swept away the deadwood and rebuilt his squad from the ground up.
A testing debut season saw Norwich finish 14th, but he was afforded time and patience, and now the top brass are reaping the benefits after waltzing to the title in 2018/19.
Farke plays a possession-based attacking game. Norwich played the second fewest long passes in the Championship last season and the third highest number of short passes.
He encourages his full-backs to fly forward – leading to the emergence of terrific right-back Max Aarons – but may need to rein his side back if they want to prevent being cut to ribbons by Premier League danger men.
Norwich fixtures – The start
9th August: Liverpool (A)
17th August: Newcastle (H)
24th August: Chelsea (H)
Norwich fixtures – The run-in
2nd May: Chelsea (A)
9th May: Burnley (H)
17th May: Manchester City (A)
Full Norwich fixture list and TV details here
The fans say…
JON PUNT, ALONG COME NORWICH
What is the mood like among fans going into 2019/20?
It really couldn’t be more positive. Outsiders might look at Norwich’s lack of transfer activity as a negative, but the club have been merrily signing up last season’s heroes onto longer term contracts and just about everyone is delighted.
These boys earned a crack at the top flight and now we’re assured they’ll be given their chance. Alongside that, the atmosphere fostered between the fans, players and club is as unified as many can remember.
Togetherness can be key when mounting a survival bid, and the hope is everyone stays on the same song sheet when an inevitable drubbing or two comes our way.
Who will be your key player this season?
Emi Buendia has the raw talent to make it to the very top. The fact this talent has started to be refined under the coaching of Daniel Farke stands the young Argentine in excellent stead for the coming season.
Buendia, like Wes Hoolahan before him, holds the key to the door in the attacking thirds and is a vital component of the side, his ability in tight pockets of space and tireless workrate should see him make a seamless transition into the top flight.
Any young talents to look out for?
Where to begin? Norwich’s academy production line was electro-shocked into life when Sporting Director Stuart Webber walked through the door. He placed an emphasis on creating pathways for young players to break into the first team.
That paid dividends last season, with four academy graduates regularly featuring and the pick of that crop has to be the EFL Young Player of the season, right back Max Aarons. I wouldn’t sell him for four Aaron Wan-Bissakas.
Norwich scored a lot of goals last season but also conceded plenty. Does that concern you going into the top flight, and can neutrals expect high-scoring games to continue?
Norwich kind of solidified the defensive side of their game in the second half of the season so it doesn’t concern me greatly.
The positive to draw from those high scoring encounters was the way in which we won games.
So many late goals gained us valuable points, which speaks volumes of the team’s fitness, conditioning and desire.
Daniel Farke is still relatively unknown to fans who don’t look beyond the Premier League. Does he have what it takes to succeed in the Premier League?
Farke’s possession based style and attention to detail should adapt well to the Premier League. City performed admirably in the cups at both the Emirates and Stamford Bridge in 2017/18, with the more technical players shining.
The key will be around adapting our style when we’re not allowed to completely impose ourselves on a match, or if we see a lot less of the ball than we are used to.
The team showed last term they have the ability to counter quickly, we may need to rely on that more heavily this time around.
Where will you finish in the Premier League?
15th – provided we can build momentum after a difficult first six games.
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Where will Norwich finish? RadioTimes.com says…
There always seems to be a fine balance that promoted must strike between sticking with promoted players and investing in Premier League quality.
Fulham overhauled the core of their team and paid a heavy price, Norwich have rooted themselves in the opposite camp of sticking with their existing squad.
Farke’s formula led to an excellent reaction from his side last year and he’s clearly hoping to keep the momentum flowing.
However, the Premier League is a very different proposition to the Championship.
It’s rare that teams score their way to safety in the top flight, you need a resilient back line to shut out the danger when the big guns come calling.
And Premier League defences are far trickier customers to deal with than in the second tier.
Norwich will play some lovely football, they’ll record a few eye-catching results and give the neutrals plenty of entertainment, but that doesn’t always bode well when it comes to mere survival. It’ll be close, but a little naivety in their approach to the season could leave them short.
Predicted 2019/20 position: 18th
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