Sunday 07

Norwich City

Canaries need to buck the trend

2nd September 2019, 16:07 by Neil Foster

It may be early in the season but two of the promoted clubs - Norwich and Aston Villa – are already down in the bottom three and look set to struggle.

Teams coming up from the Championship all have ambitions to finish mid-table and establish themselves as a top-flight outfit – and the likes of Bournemouth and Watford have done that in recent years.

But for every one that does there is a Fulham or Huddersfield, who flirted briefly with the promised land before falling back into the second tier.

The Terriers’ stay was for two seasons but last term was one to be forgotten for the Yorkshire outfit.

The Canaries have never been a regular fixture in the Premier League but it was hoped that Daniel Farke might be able to keep them out of the danger zone and enable the fans to watch the final few games of the campaign without worrying about the drop.

That might still happen as there are 34 games to go, but they were outclassed by West Ham on Saturday and only have the Hornets below them in the standings.

It just goes to emphasise the difference between the Championship and Premier League, with Villa also struggling despite the hype of returning from their first Premier League relegation.

Of the two clubs, the Villans clearly have a more storied history than Norwich and have always been thought of as a top-flight club but it will mean nothing if they fail to show the application needed to stave off relegation.

There will doubtless be no shortage of effort from Farke’s men too, but do they have the class to stay among the elite?

Teemu Pukki has beaten some high-profile Premier League rivals to be named the PFA fans’ player of the month for August, with five goals from four matches and his continual form and fitness will be key to the club’s hopes.

The Finn scored heavily in the Championship last season and will hope to continue that until next May but, as he picks up the odd niggle here and there and defenders start to work out his style, he may well find it a bit tougher.

It is then that the strength of the squad will be tested to the maximum as will Farke’s ability to get the best out of his charges in the face of stellar opposition.

It has been an encouraging but tricky start and things are unlikely to get any easier when Manchester City come calling after the international break.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.

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