Norwich City out to avoid an all-time low in front of goal
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City must end their current goal drought not only to prevent a nail-biting end to the Premier League season – but to avoid landing themselves with an unwanted record.
The Canaries are in danger of finishing the campaign with their lowest goal tally in 23 seasons of top-flight football.
With seven league games to go, starting with the visit of Swansea City to Carrow Road on Saturday (3pm), Chris Hughton's men have managed just 28 goals.
It is one of the main reasons they are still searching for the handful of points required to guarantee another season among the elite.
And it is still eight goals behind their lowest previous total at the highest level, the 36 they scored in a 42-match programme in 1972-73.
It was the club's first season in Division One and one of only three instances when they have failed to average at least one goal per game in the top flight. On the other two occasions, when they scored 37 in 42 fixtures in Division One in 1973-74, and 37 in 42 again in the FA Premiership in 1994-95, they were relegated. Their lowest goals total in a 38-match season was 41 in 1990-91.
It serves as a warning to City as they face the Swans, looking for only their second win in 15 league games and down to a cushion of just four points over the bottom three.
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Last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Wigan was the 12th time this season City have failed to score in a Premier League match – and the seventh time they have drawn a blank in the past 10 league games, in which they have managed just four goals.
There is, however, encouragement in the shape of this weekend's opponents.
The Canaries have won all three matches against the Swans since they were promoted together in 2011, scoring 10 goals in the process, including a marvellous 4-3 win at the Liberty Stadium in December, and they will be bidding for their first double of the campaign.
And their home form in 2013 has been respectable – steady if unspectacular with City unbeaten in five games, albeit four of them draws and three of those 0-0.
Their goalscoring problems are underlined, however, by the fact that the four strikers in their Premier League squad of 25 have managed just seven league goals between them this term, skipper Grant Holt bagging five of those as the club's top scorer, but still 10 behind his league tally last season.
Hughton started the last two home games, against Everton and Southampton, with two strikers. He must now decide whether to persist with the tactic in their first home match for four weeks.
He admitted after the defeat at Wigan that there was a growing need to address the lack of goals.
He said: 'It's fair to say, the stats don't lie. Our general play has been good enough, but to win games you've got to score goals and we're just finding that a little more difficult at the moment.
'You have to be confident you've got enough in the team and the squad to get the points needed. But you have to show it.
'What we have been is solid generally. We just need to make sure we can find the goals that are going to win us games.'
• NORWICH CITY'S TOP-FLIGHT GOALS
One goal per game or fewer
1972-73 Played: 42, Goals: 36, Average: 0.86, Position: 20th, Top scorer: Cross 11
1973-74 Played: 42, Goals: 37, Average: 0.88, Position: 22nd, Top scorer: MacDougall 11
1987-88 Played: 40, Goals: 40, Average: 1.00, Position: 14th, Top scorer: Drinkell 12
1994-95 Played: 42, Goals: 37, Average: 0.88, Position: 20th, Top scorer: Ward 8
2012-13 Played: 31, Goals: 28, Average: 0.90, Position: 14th, Top scorer: Holt 5