What Norwich City must do to beat the drop from the Premier League

Ricky van Wolfswinkel during the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ricky van Wolfswinkel during the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Thursday, May 1, 2014
6:32 PM

There may be little evidence to suggest Norwich City can avoid relegation from the Premier League after dropping into the bottom three at the weekend.

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But they are not down yet and slip-ups from other clubs, notably Sunderland, could yet give them a chance of survival, or at the very least taking their fight to the final day of the season when, as we all know, anything can happen.

City fans looking for something to cling on to following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, and Sunderland’s 4-0 victory over Cardiff the following day, should bear in mind that it’s impossible for their side to be mathematically relegated next weekend.

Only a Sunderland win at Old Trafford, and a defeat for their side at Stamford Bridge, would leave the Canaries starring at the abyss by virtue of a considerably poorer goal difference.

Even if they lost on Saturday Gus Poyet’s men would still be able to effectively relegate the Canaries with a home win against West Brom the following Wednesday evening (assuming Chelsea win on Sunday of course). But a slip-up there and the battle for survival would go to the final day, with City needing to beat Arsenal while other results went their way.

Of course if Neil Adams’ side were to get a result at Stamford Bridge it would make life even more interesting – even though the favours would still need to keep coming from other sides, most notably a rejuvenated Sunderland.

Here’s a look at what would have to happen for Norwich to stay up. We are not entering the realms of fantasy here – just looking at the mathematical permutations of an increasingly desperate situation for the club and its supporters.

IF CITY TAKE NO POINTS

They are all but relegated. For the Canaries to stay up in that scenario would require a couple of narrow defeats on their part while Sunderland suffered a series of heavy beatings with an overall turnaround of at least 15 goals (three 5-0 thrashings for Gus Poyet’s side and two 1-0 defeats for City would just about do it).

On top of all that Fulham would need to take no more than one point from their remaining fixtures and Cardiff no more than two. Mathematically it would be possible to stay up. In the real world it wouldn’t.

IF CITY TAKE ONE POINT

They would still need a miracle to survive. Sunderland would have to lose each of their final three games - by any margin - while Fulham would need to take no more than two points and Cardiff three. You could argue a case for the sides below them helping the Canary cause, with fixtures like Stoke away (Fulham) and Chelsea at home (Cardiff) ahead of them. But while Sunderland could well lose at Old Trafford on Saturday it’s difficult to see them emerging completely empty handed from their remaining two home fixtures.

IF CITY TAKE TWO POINTS

They would stay up if Sunderland failed to match that tally from their three remaining games that include home fixtures against West Brom and Swansea, Fulham failed to take four points from their two games, and Cardiff failed to win both theirs (both the sides currently below Norwich have poorer goal differences).

It’s a fair bet that Norwich would finish outside the bottom two with a couple of draws. But outside the bottom three? It’s difficult to imagine Sunderland not at the very least scraping a couple of draws.

IF CITY TAKE THREE POINTS

They would stay up if Sunderland failed to pick up three points from their games and Fulham and Cardiff were unable to take six from six. One win from City would just about take Fulham and Cardiff out of the equation, but again Sunderland would be the problem.

If City lost to Chelsea and beat Arsenal and Sunderland won just one of their three games then City would go down barring an incredible goal difference swing. Aston Villa would remain out of the equation for the same reason.

IF CITY TAKE FOUR POINTS

A huge ask of course but then it would start to get interesting. Cardiff would then be unable to overhaul the Canaries, Fulham would need two wins while Villa would be catchable were they to lose their three remaining games, two of which look extremely tricky. To stay up with four more points City would need Lambert’s men to implode, Sunderland to take less than four points from their fixtures - amd Fulham not to take six. Now we’re getting away from the realms of fantasy – with other team’s results, if not City’s!

IF CITY TAKE SIX POINTS

Even two unlikely wins wouldn’t guarantee safety for the Canaries – but it would give them an excellent chance of completing a great escape. With six points under their belts they would stay up unless Sunderland won two out of three, Villa grabbed one win, West Brom a couple of draws or a win and West Ham and Hull a single point. City would be unlucky to go down in those circumstances. But sadly it’s also extremely unlikely that they will bounce back from a run of five straight defeats by beating both Chelsea and Arsenal.

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34 comments

  • Youre right bd, his positivity did not help. Our second-half capitulation was Hughtonesque. We looked feeble and clueless. True, we asked AN to do the impossible, but true also that he could have made a better attempt to do it.

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    Cecil

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • NA's "positive philosophy didn't help in our last match, it was same old story. I'd love the same players be forced to stay with us next season in the Championship. They got us into this mess, they should get us out of it!

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    bogbog

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • We're not down till it's mathematically certain. If you were a gambler you wouldnt bet on us staying up however. As to whether NA should remain as manager I'm not sure. I like his positive philosophy but has he got what it takes to get us back up next season?

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    Cecil

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Will yr radio follow it with"There is a circus in the Town"?

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    el dingo

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • and the chance to depress ourselves further with a loss to Ipswich after not eliminating the mistakes that cost us this season. Then of course we will all talk the talk and be way over confident like this season. Add the likely appointing of someone like Malky an negative tactics and im certainly more concerned that confident of immediate promotion back to the Premier League. Of course I say this while praying my reverse psychology works and we romp home to victory in both matches next season. Funny how as I type this, "cheer up sleepy jean" booms over the work radio.

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    Mattias333

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • One thing is for sure Finn Blue, whatever the result on Sunday we will still be above you. We still won't be £80m in debt, we will still own our ground and training facility and we will have a transfer budget for next year greater than zilch.

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    B Inners

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Quite right Henry. We haven't got the quality or firepower to get past either Chelsea or Arsenal, based on all the evidence this season. Stats and facts don't lie. We are where we are because we have been so dire. This is especially so against the clubs around us who Hughton kept on insisting we upcoming games we would wion. But as each went by and few points were accrued the writing was on the wall. In fact it has been for much of Hughton's dreadful tenure. On the other hand and despite Hughton's woeful team set-ups, selections, subsitutions etc, the players by and large had no stomach for the fight. We were weak and caved in as soon as the opposition scored, which happened with monotonous regularity. I cannot recall seeing a team surrender so tamely so often. The spirit, fight and never-say-die attitude that PL brought to the club was eradicated by Hughton and his coaches. It was always a case of avoiding defeat. But of course we weren';t ever good enough to do that and once behind had nothing in our locker to respond with. There were one or two notable exceptions, like the Liverpool game, but all that did was to underline the team's lack of desire every time they went out onto the pitch. It has been the most miserabler seasons, not just because of almost certain relegation but the way we played the game or rather failed to play it. The whol philosphy must change next season and for that reason we must rid ourselves of quite a number of the current squad even though we will probably feel the financial effects. But that is the Board's problem and one it very much engineered for itself by failing to bring down the axe when just about everyone else could seer where we were heading. I won't criticvise the board for past achievements, particularly for all the money Delia and her husband put into the club to help it survice. But in this case, I believe they must fess up and accept they got it wrong and then look to recitfying the situation so football may once again break out at Carrow Road.

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    malaga flier

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Lets all complain about the article. Heck lets all vote this article Player of the Season, that will show um! Not the writers fault they have nothing positive to write about. Yes it is pointing out the obvious but its better than us lot (myself included) moaning down here to the masses (likely 20-25 people).

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    Mattias333

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • I have no problem with this academic exercise per se. Merely tells us the maths as to what would happen under all circumstances however unlikely many may be. City are effectively down already. The local media yet to admit it publicly at least Hughton would have been sacked even if we had stayed up and only because of other sides troubles. Why will manage City? How many players will leave or be sold? More than you would want. The club needs to be re-built. The financial foundations are solid and most Championship teams are broke. Delia will sell at some point in the future. She has less money than most PL owners or Championship owners like Marcus Evans. Interesting times ahead for City. Many supporters of Championship teams have been disillusioned with their clubs situations for years. Could name a few.

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    Capri

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Henry, excellent point, in fact why did anyone think this would change back in November!

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    jigs69

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Why criticise the article? It's not the writer's fault the team he has to write about is in a relegation fight. It saved me the bother of working out all the permutations. Okay, our situation is deperate but until there is no longer a straw to clutch at I want to know the length of the straws. All short, it seems.

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    Lincs Canary

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Win !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Derek McDonald

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Lets look objectively and mathmatially in the simplest possible terms.... Spent lots on players this season + did not score enough goals = relegation and less money.

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    TheBirdCage

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • I believe holding up a white flag might be your only way out. And hope that they dont inflict to much pain. Come sat-night you might be bottom.

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    FINN.BLUE

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Thank you Barking Wise. It is so very sad that we cannot be discussing the merits of a successful season.

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    stormy

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • we have as much chance of Norwich winning the next two matches as of me winning the euro-millions on Friday night !!

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    MrB

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • To everyone who says the article is a waste of space... stop moaning about the past and deal with the here and now... or would you rather we just throw in the towel and sulk without putting up a fight? Of course we are all angry with the boardteamCH etc for this terrible season but crying over spilt milk is not the way any sportsman should think at any time... we should take it a game at a time.. and it's not quite over yet... Neil Adams has to believe there is hope and so do the team.. even at this late stage survival is not impossible, just very unlikely.. Here are some crumbs of comfort:- 1. Chelsea have lost their last two home games, to Sunderland and Atletico Madrid. 2. Last time we played Arsenal at Carrow Road we beat them. 3. We are due a massive slice of luck soon 4. Sunderland are a confidence team, capable of imploding at any moment

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    jops

    Friday, May 2, 2014

  • Agreed stupid article, if they want to print anything let's have an article on the merits or lack of them of each member of our pathetic board

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Agreed stupid article, if they want to print anything let's have an article on the merits or lack of them of each member of our pathetic board

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • I know that the sportswriters need to fill their pages, but this is absolute pie in the Sky rubbish. The most likely scenario is that we get no more points and go down in 19th place. This has been a disgraceful of mismanagement and squandered opportunities at all levels in the club. We need to learn from this and focus our energies on next season. WAKE UP!! The time for dreams is over!!

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    Algarve Canary

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Agree with everybody else, pointless article. To win games we need to score goals, which we cant do. We need to win 2 games in a row, which we haven't done all season. Why does anybody think this will all change for the last 2 games!

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    Henry

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Tried to post a comment on here.....Archant didn't like it it although I did not insult anyone or be rude to anyone.....I merely mentioned the names of past managers.......They will send the Police around to me next for playing my 50's and 60's Rock and Roll CD's because they have words that the precious ones today don't like. Bollards to them!!!

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    NICEONE

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • The normal indicator of competitive outcomes is current form. Out of the bottom four we have the worst recent form and therefore our goose is, as you say, pretty much cooked. Sad but true!! We have just not been good enough. I can, regrettably, live with that and the story is now about what happens next?? We have a history of poor managers appointed from outside who have just blagged it when in post i.e. Glenn Roeder, Peter Grant, Bryan Hamilton and yes Chris Hughton so I would like to see us put our faith in one of our own in Neil Adams as I think he has more potential than any external appointment. The Championship is about potential and future managers can hone their skills there and demonstrate that they are capable of managing at the highest level. I would prefer to watch NA's football in the championship rather than CH in the Premiership. I would also expect us to be competitive in the race to return to the Premiership, possibly not at the first time of asking but in the the near future. NA would need to show an ability to build a team progressively capable of competing in the Prem. OTBC.

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    NICEONE

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Pigs fed Runway clear Ready to fly

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    Croydonary

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Slice it any way you want City are down. Players are of poor quality and a board more interested in keeping the money . It is quite conceivable that City could drop straight through the Championship unless drastic action is taken.

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    stormy

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • If the article is a stupid waste why are you wasting your time commenting on it? Obviously the article is meant to promote discussion which it has done so it's served its purpose and was not a waste.

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    Cecil

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • A very silly article indeed. Failing to take points off poor West Brom and Fulham teams had the fat lady waiting in the wings. The only straw-clutching left would be a Hull win at Villa Park as national radio have Villa in free fall. What a shame we couldn't retain that lead at Villa Park before Bentecke inflicted the damage.

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    NorwichAbs

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • City need to win both and collectively cross fingers and toes. Good bye Premier League. The home match vs Aresnal is probaly also a time to say good bye to: Ruddy, Yobo, Bassong, Tettey, Fer, Snodgrass, Pilkington; RvW and Elmander, and possibly Hoolahan,

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    Soglio Star

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • What an absolute waste of space, agree with JB ,we have all worked this out for ourselves even an 80 year old !

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    richard grout

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Talk about clutching at straws! Meanwhile in the real world..... We are down and we need to fully concentrate on getting ourselves into the best position to compete successfully in the Championship.

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    la barbe

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • I cannot see us getting 4 points, let alone 6. In any case 6 may not be enough. Sunderland have 2 'easy' home fixtures and are likely to get 6 points themselves, if they need them. But they probably won't need them.

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    Cecil

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Basically - Win both games and keep their collective fingers crossed. Very unlikely. Home match vs Arsenal will probably be the last City game for : Ruddy, Yobo; Bassong; Tettey; Fer; Elmander; Snodgrass; Pilkington; RvW; Hoolahan.

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    Soglio Star

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • It does not make cheery reading. The best I can see us doing is 4 points. That requires Chelsea to be on a complete downer and Adams finding an away formula that works. Park the bus? Death or glory? The fat lady has the gig and is waiting to sing. What's the song? The Winner Takes it All? It's All Over Now?

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    Lincs Canary

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • What a stupid waste of an article. We need 6 points, we should have had these points over the last 36 games, but inept decisions from the chairman downwards have meant we need 6 from the last 2 games. Einstein I'm not, but SIMPLES ! Maths...... Surely there must be more relevant reports looking into who we need as a leader, CEO AND TEAM MANAGER, along with players out and in, budgets required and and and, let's get real it's next season now, let's get on with it

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    JB

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

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