Norwich City: What Goes Up Must Come Down

What Norwich City achieved last season was remarkable: automatic promotion from the Championship in their first season after promotion from League 1.

That’s back-to-back promotions for Norwich City as they prepare for life back in the Premier League for the first time in six years. Unfortunately, with the high level of ability in the Premier League, I see Norwich as have coming too far in too shorter space of time. Norwich City are going straight back down.

On paper, their defence looks weak. They conceded the most goals of all the top 6 in the Championship last season; almost twice as many as winners Queens Park Rangers (58 compared to 32). Manager Paul Lambert hasn’t made a great deal of defensive signings this summer either.

The captures of Ritchie De Laet and Kyle Naughten on loan from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively are both good players. However, there is a lack of experience between them, and Naughton is a more attacking full back than a defending one. The rest of the defence that came up with the Canaries looks worrying slow at this top flight.

What got Norwich here will be their best chance of keeping them here. The highest goalscoring team in the Championship last season averaging 2 goals a game. Grant Holt scored 21 league goals last season. A striker who knows how to win a free kick, a lot of Norwich’s success may be built around him this season. But will he be able to step up to the new level?

The same can be asked of Steve Morison, signed from Millwall this summer. As to Simeon Jackson who came good in the final few weeks of the season to help seal Norwich’s promotion.

A striker with some top flight experience Norwich have brought in is James Vaughan. The Premier League’s youngest ever goalscorer, Vaughan has consistently suffered from injuries since bursting on the scene in 2005. Last season at Crystal Palace was the first time he’d played more than 14 games in a season (30) and scored more than 4 goals (9). He has just 7 Premier League goals to his name after the past 6 years, but never had a long run in the first team at Everton.

A slow and inexperienced defence and a strike force that may not be able to step up to the top level. However, they do have a good shot stopper between the sticks in John Ruddy. And that’s what you need as a promoted team coming into the Premier League. Queens Park Rangers certainly have that with Paddy Kenny, and it goes without saying that Ruddy needs to play well if Norwich are to have any chance of finishing in the top 17.

I don’t expect Norwich City to achieve that. The Canaries are 8/11 to be relegated and 11/4 to finish bottom.