Danny Murphy backs Norwich City’s bid for a successful Premier League return

Jonny Howson plays the ball with Russell Martin watching on - two Norwich City players who will retu

Jonny Howson plays the ball with Russell Martin watching on - two Norwich City players who will return to the Premier League this season knowing exactly what it's all about. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City are the club primed to make the most of their Premier League return – that's according to Danny Murphy.

The Canaries had to do things the hard way last season, with a triumphant Championship play-off campaign coming almost a month after Bournemouth and Watford had secured automatic promotion.

However, the Cherries are embarking on their first season in the top flight of English football, while the Hornets haven't appeared in the Premier League since a one-season stay for the 2006-7 campaign.

As for Norwich, Saturday's Carrow Road curtain-raiser with Crystal Palace sees them kick off their fourth top-flight season in five years.

And it's that experience former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder turned Match of the Day pundit Murphy believes will see City clear of their fellow new boys – and hopefully on to Premier League survival.

'Norwich for me are probably the most equipped to stay up, simply because they've got players that have been there before,' said the 38-year-old. 'They may not have done it last time, but that extra bit of experience of being there before and going through it means a lot.

'It's going to be tricky for Watford and Bournemouth because they have got inexperienced squads.

Most Read

'I know Watford are trying now to add a bit of experience to it, but if there was one I was going to have a bet on to stay up, it would be Norwich. The other two, I fear for.'

The survival battle offered the best entertainment in the Premier League last season, as Chelsea strolled to their first title in five years. Murphy expects Jose Mourinho's men to win out again, but he is hoping for more competition along the way.

Murphy added: 'I think Chelsea will be the team to beat again, they have to be. They set such high standards last year and I still think they might go for one more big name to strengthen that squad.

'I still think Manchester City will be their closest rivals. Their squad is strong and Fabian Delph is a terrific signing. Raheem Sterling is a good signing too but he needs to improve and to find a position in that side.

'I actually think Manchester United and Liverpool have done good business. If you look at where United have strengthened in midfield, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger to add to Michael Carrick, that looks really strong centrally for them.

'And my old team Liverpool, Christian Benteke was a lot of money, but he's exactly the type of player they need. He's strong in the air, someone who can hold the ball up and he has a great goals-to-games ratio. And the young Brazilian lad Firmino looks a super talent.

'So I think it'll be closer. I still don't see anybody other than Manchester City with the squad to take on Chelsea – but I hope I'm wrong, because you want three or four teams pushing for the title.'

Although Murphy remains to be convinced about Arsenal's chances, despite their Community Shield victory over Chelsea at the weekend.

'I can't seem to get on board with it,' Murphy told BBC Sport.

'Until they add one or two more, I don't think they've got enough in the big games to compete with Manchester City and Chelsea.

'I don't think the signing of Petr Cech is enough to bridge the gap.'

• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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