Norwich to finish bottom and four other things you wouldn’t have predicted two weeks ago
In the space of a fortnight, Norwich City have gone from being feted as conquerors of the champions to looking nailed-on for relegation from the Premier League.
They say a week is a long time in politics but in just double that time the fortunes of several Premier League clubs have taken a massive turn upwards or downwards with the Canaries not the only example of a club who’s outlook has grown increasingly grim.
On September 21, Daniel Farke’s side travelled to Turf Moor to face Burnley still basking in the warm afterglow of their famous 3-2 win over Manchester City the week before.
They fielded an unchanged team, albeit with goalkeeper Tim Krul playing with the aid of painkillers, and were pressed off the park by a hungry Clarets side that comfortably won 2-0 and the following two matches have got steadily worse.
Crystal Palace won just as comfortably a week later and Aston Villa thrashed them 5-1 at Carrow Road on Saturday to leave Norwich sitting third bottom of the table on six points.
Aston Villa crushed Norwich City to leapfrog the Canaries in the @premierleague table.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 5, 2019
And, with the state of their current injury crisis, Farke may be wondering where the next point is coming from – something which nobody really expected when his side outfoxed the champions.
Everton are balanced precariously one point above Norwich in 17th and fans are beginning to question whether manager Marco Silva is the right man for the job at Goodison Park,
Dissenting voices were just starting to be heard when the Toffees lost 3-1 away at Bournemouth in mid-September, but the home game against Sheffield United appeared a gift-wrapped chance to steady the ship.
But Everton lost 2-0 and, amid a four-game losing streak in the league, remain stuck on the same number of points they had on September 1.
Silva is now the hot favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post and at odds-on, most think he won’t even last until Christmas, which not many would have predicted two weeks ago.
Likewise, who would have thought that last year’s Champions League finalists Tottenham would have started so poorly? A fortnight ago, bookmakers were quoting Spurs as a 4/9 chance to finish in the Premier League’s top four again this season.
However, following last week’s 7-2 home reverse to Bayern Munich and Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Brighton the layers are losing their faith in Mauricio Pochettino’s men and now offer 11/10 or 6/5 in some places. There’s still plenty of time to sort out their obvious problems but can anyone really be confident that they will recapture their form of last season again?
As some sides slide, others surf up to unprecedented heights in the table – notably Crystal Palace (4th) and Burnley (5th).
Even after winning at Old Trafford, the jury seemed to be out on whether the oldest manager in the top-flight could get a tune out of an Eagles squad that has flirted with relegation for the past six seasons – finishing with between 41-49 points.
But Roy Hodgson’s men have already accumulated 14 points – something it took them until December 15th to do last year – and can start to think about challenging their record Premier League points total.
Sean Dyche’s Clarets are back to hunting a European berth after last year’s early-season involvement in the Europa League seemed to knock them off-kilter. Before that home win over Norwich two weeks ago, they had made an unspectacular start, but can now boast the third-best home record in the division.
Predicting Palace to comfortably avoid the drop and Burnley to mount a top-eight challenge again would have seemed preposterous last month but maybe not any more.