Norwich City’s relegation was confirmed in typically disastrous style with a 4-0 hammering at home to West Ham United.
Though the real damage had long been done, the curtain was finally pulled across the Canaries’ single-season return to the Premier League with a four-goal haul from Michail Antonio, who becomes the first West Ham player to score four goals in a league match since David Cross against Tottenham in September 1981.
4 – Michail Antonio is the first West Ham player to score four goals in a league match since David Cross against Spurs in September 1981. Quad.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 11, 2020
Although they’re languishing at the bottom of the table on just 21 points, 2019/20 hasn’t been all bad for Daniel Farke’s men. After all, they did beat Manchester City 3-2 in September to end an 18-game Premier League unbeaten run for the then-reigning champions.
Furthermore, Teemu Pukki is one of four players to score 11 Premier League goals this season alongside Chris Wood and Manchester City duo Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus — not terrible company to be in — while playmaker Emiliano Buendia has created the joint-third-highest number of chances (81) in the English top flight.
Norwich spent just over £8m in the transfer market and have helped academy graduates Todd Cantwell, Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Adam Idah establish themselves at the highest level. At worst, most of the aforementioned names will help the club Norfolk club make a huge profit when the transfer window opens.
“We went into the season more or less like the same group and just a bunch of young lads and players who hadn’t experience at this level,” Farke said of his decision to stick with the squad which won promotion.
“We wanted to create a miracle and because of that, we are still a bit disappointed that it’s just a realistic outcome and not a miracle outcome and for that it’s a bit too early to be excited about the Championship season.”
However, there is still the fact Norwich’s defence has, in general, been a walking disaster in the Premier League and to illustrate that point, here are eight damning stats behind their relegation.
1. Relegation kings
The term “yo-yo club” is one we’ve all become familiar with in the Premier League era, with the likes of West Brom, Birmingham and Middlesbrough bouncing between the top two tiers of English football throughout that period.
However, one club has felt the dizzying highs of promotion and the humbling lows of relegation more than any other: Norwich City.
5 – Norwich City have become the first team to be relegated from the Premier League on five separate occasions. Demoted. pic.twitter.com/Q8JhUb8lMn
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 11, 2020
This is the Canaries’ fifth relegation from the Premier League so far. Literally no other club owns relegation like Norwich do.
2. Can’t buy a win
Any team that wins just five of their 35 games so far should expect to be relegated but where earlier in the season, Norwich were playing some attractive football and putting in plucky performances to stay in touch, they’ve taken a real nosedive recently.
In fact, they’ve now lost all seven of their games across all competitions since returning from lockdown in a run which extends to eight consecutive defeats going back to before the suspension of play.
Their 2-1 defeat to Watford on July 7th meant they’d lost six consecutive league games for the first time since May 1995 and, as we know, that was soon extended to seven against a West Ham side hardly covering themselves in glory right now either.
If you can’t score goals, you’re going to struggle to do anything of note in the Premier League, or any other league for that matter.
This season, despite averaging 11.3 shots per game, Norwich have managed a miserable 26 goals from 35 Premier League matches, the fewest in the division and four behind the next team up, Crystal Palace.
By virtue of not scoring many goals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not many of Norwich’s players have individually celebrated scoring this season.
Teemu Pukki has 11 goals and Todd Cantwell has six but beyond them, not one player in yellow and green has managed to score more than a single goal in the Premier League this season.
When those two dry up, Norwich run out of ideas and it’s become all too easy to simply cancel Farke’s side out by keeping Pukki and Cantwell under wraps.
5. Open the floodgates
The big difference between Crystal Palace and Norwich struggling to score is the fact that while the former has kept things relatively tight at the back (conceding 43 goals, the seventh-lowest amount in the Premier League) the latter has gifted goals to the opposition like it’s Christmas.
So far this season, with three more games still remaining, Norwich have conceded a massive 67 goals in 35 Premier League matches. No team has leaked more and, just in case you needed further illustration of how poor that is, that figure translates to just under two goals per game (1.91).
6. Dirty laundry
This may be stating the obvious but as a result of their god awful defence, Norwich have also kept the fewest clean sheets (5) of any Premier League team this season.
In fact, the last time the Canaries stopped a team scoring against them in the Premier League was in a 1-0 win over Leicester at the end of February, the last time they didn’t lose a league game.
7. Dead ball
Perhaps the first thing Farke could have done to try and alleviate the pressure on his crumbling defence is try to address their absolutely horrendous record from set-pieces.
No Premier League team has conceded more goals than Norwich (16) from dead-ball situations during 2019/20 and yes, while they’re also terrible from open play — only Bournemouth (41) have conceded more goals than the Canaries (39) here — defending corners and free-kicks is something that requires serious work on the training ground.
Get that wrong and, as we’ve seen, your team will shoot itself in the foot time and again.
8. No bouncebackability
Last season, during their charge to the Championship title, Norwich managed to win an extremely impressive 27 points from losing positions. They may have shown traits of that leaky defence that has crippled them this season, but they never let it drag them down and almost always found a way to get back into a match.
This season, that never-say-die attitude has completely evaporated and so far, the Canaries have won a grand total of zero points from losing points. None, not a single one!
Get your noses in front against Norwich and you can sit back, relax and watch their heads drop so far the ground can be felt rattling as far down the A140 as Ipswich.