Wednesday, December 5, 2012
One more game without defeat will give Chris Hughton’s Norwich City side the club’s all-time best unbeaten run in the Premier League – and one of the current record-holders is willing them to do it.
If the Canaries win or draw against in-form Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday (3pm), they will make it nine league games without defeat.
Their previous best in the Premier League since its formation 20 years ago is an unbeaten run of eight games in the 1993-94 season.
That impressive sequence coincided with City’s first European adventure, when, away from the league treadmill, Mike Walker’s team beat Bayern Munich over two legs in the UEFA Cup.
And one of the undisputed stars of that famous episode in club history would be delighted if Hughton’s team can go one better than Walker’s men on the domestic front.
Former midfielder Jeremy Goss said: “Of course, I would desperately love that record to be broken.
“We have to give a great amount of credit to Chris Hughton for this run of results.
“He was facing a bit of a storm at the start with some indifferent results but he’s turned it round incredibly well.
“I’d like them to go unbeaten for as long as possible, though I know that is a tall order.”
City’s eight-match unbeaten run in autumn 1993 included a 5-1 win at Everton and a 2-1 success at Chelsea, while Goss, enjoying a purple patch for goals that season, was on target in a 2-1 win at Sheffield United.
Hughton’s team have been stronger at home with victories over Arsenal and Manchester United, but also had some joy at Goodison Park with a 1-1 draw.
“Some people will be a little bit surprised because they’ve come from nowhere but the Arsenal result kicked it all off and gave them such big confidence,” said Goss. “They look super-confident and seem to go out feeling almost unbeatable.
“They have sewn things up at the back. Defensively they get men behind the ball and work hard for each other, but they can also cause teams problems at the other end – there are a lot of plus sides to their game at the moment.
“If I can make a comparison with our team, we were very resilient, desperate not to get beaten and they look the same.
“It’s well played, Chris Hughton.”
Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland at Carrow Road made it four wins and four draws for City from the past eight league games, but the trip to South Wales will certainly test them with Swansea unbeaten in six matches after a well-deserved 2-0 win at Arsenal.
The Canaries still have some way to go, however, to match their best top-flight run from pre-Premier League days. In 1986-87, Ken Brown’s team went 15 matches without defeat in the old Division One.
Their run from December to April was ended by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of a Tottenham side that included Hughton, with Clive Allen scoring a 12-minute hat-trick late in the game at White Hart Lane.
In 1983, Brown was at the helm when City finished the Division One season with a flourish, including a spell of 10 matches without being beaten that lifted them clear of relegation trouble.
The last time City went nine top-flight games unbeaten was in 1989-90, when Dave Stringer’s side did not lose until the 10th game of the season, a 4-1 defeat at Luton.