Win against Sunderland should ensure another season in the Premier League for Norwich City

Robert Snodgrass of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal and celebrates during the Barclays Premier Lea

Robert Snodgrass of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal and celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

And that should be the win that secures an unprecedented fourth successive season in the Premier League for Norwich City.

After all, football didn't really exist until 1992, did it? Some elements of the modern game overlook how we actually had nine straight seasons in the top flight until 1995.

There is the small formality of another seven fixtures to be negotiated, but the bottom trio now need three wins just to catch our present points tally.

And Sunderland looked such a dispirited, off-the-pace outfit on Saturday you wonder whether even with their games in hand they will manage to amass seven points to match our current 32 and at least make us have to go through the motions of picking up a draw somewhere to be absolutely sure of survival.

There is going to have to be an unprecedented turnaround in form at the foot of the table if the survival target is to get anywhere near the traditional 40-point mark.


You may also want to watch:


At the moment you're probably thinking that a single victory would be enough for the Canaries, or if Saturday's determination can't be repeated, avoiding defeat against West Brom and Fulham.

It's hard to think that either Cardiff or Fulham are going to catch us now, given their current form – seven and five points from their last 10 fixtures respectively.

Most Read

Yet for all this, few could have anticipated such a convincing victory over Sunderland – and yet again Chris Hughton comes up with a win when he needed one, following on from West Brom last May and West Ham and Hull this season.

This one, though, was less about his immediate future and more about the club's status.

A draw would have left the Canaries perilously close to the bottom three and wondering where their next win might come from.

And a defeat… well, although we'd still have been one point ahead of the drop zone I think there would have been a few people already starting on plans to visit the pubs of Brentford next season.

As it is though, it just goes to prove what we've felt all along this season – that for all our previous failings, if we can get our act together there's far worse teams in this division than us.

In each of our recent Premier League seasons there's always been the fear that each subsequent season would be that bit harder with more of the 'deadwood' at the bottom of the table.

Not a bit of it.

Sunderland were awful on Saturday – when was the last time a manager at this level was forced into tactical substitutions inside 40 minutes after an overpaid, bloated squad looked totally disinterested? – and the likes of Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Hull and West Ham weren't a great deal better.

Yet we have laboured to take 15 points from this motley group with a collection of never-to-be-remembered performances.

Saturday had some hesitant moments – most notably moments during the first 15 minutes of the second half when we sat deep and invited Sunderland to come forward – but overall it was by far and away our most attacking display of the season.

Why can't we be like this more often? It's more than just the availability of the likes of Jonny Howson or Alexander Tettey, confidence oozed through almost the whole line-up.

We imposed ourselves on the opposition rather than letting them continually dictate matters. And as soon as we went ahead we didn't try to sit on our lead and stifle the game.

Let's not get completely carried away by this result – it's the bare minimum expected of anyone in the Premier League to beat truly woeful opposition.

But this has set the standard for the next three vital fixtures. Fail to repeat it, drop lots of points, especially against Fulham, and we could yet be dragged back into trouble.

Players and management – it's over to you.

Let me tell you what we expect from our club, Mr Shearer...

Of course, if we did go down at least one consolation would be that the likes of Alan Shearer would no longer take an interest in us.

The Match of the Day 'expert' wondered what do we Norwich City fans expect? I can tell him:

– A more adventurous approach to matches.

– Players putting in the same effort shown against Sunderland on a much more regular basis.

– The management team knowing how to get the best out of their squad.

Clubs our size do not stay up forever, we accept that and I think most people know the margins are such that we could easily go down if we misjudge things.

But what is less acceptable is how we've gone about the last 15 months – you'd barely need the thumbs of both hands to count off the truly great performances seen at Carrow Road in that time.

The likes of Mr Shearer can sit in a nice, warm television studio, watch some heavily-edited highlights and believe that it's like that at Carrow Road every other weekend.

Amazingly it isn't. And if television pundits actually went out and paid – and that's the key word – to see any of our matches against, say, Cardiff or Fulham, they'd then realise for themselves what we expect: an awful lot more than what we were served up against poor opposition.

If we go into more games with Saturday's more attacking resolve and determination there would be a lot less criticism being hurled in the direction of Team Hughton and perhaps more admissions that they really were doing 'a very good job'.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus