Norwich City have been something of a yo-yo club between the Premier League and Championship and will now be targeting an extended stay in the top flight after coming from nowhere to be promoted in the No 1 spot last term.
German managers have been making quite a name for themselves in English football over recent years and Norwich boss Daniel Farke is trying to follow in the footsteps of his compatriots Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner by making an impact in the Premier League.
Norwich City Enhanced Odds
The Canaries are without doubt the underdogs for their season opener against Liverpool, but given this is somewhat of a ‘free hit’ for them at the European Champions, you never know – they could catch their opponents cold. Enhanced from 17/1, there’s a HUGE 100/1 up for grabs below.
Not many people outside of Norfolk would have backed the Canaries to win the Championship but they did so in terrific style, finishing five points clear of Sheffield United.
They were particularly difficult to beat away from home, losing only twice on the road, and scored shedloads of goals with Finnish striker Teemu Pukki proving to be an absolute revelation.
Daniel Farke was hired by Norwich on the strength of his work with the Borussia Dortmund second team, having earned two promotions with his previous club Lippstadt.
It would be fair to say Farke’s first season in England was underwhelming as Norwich finished 14th in the table, but he clearly derived great benefit from the experience and last season showed exactly why he was chosen for the job.
Transfer Window Activity
Norwich did some good early transfer business but have not gone mad, clearly wanting to keep faith in, and reward, the players who performed so well for them this season. They are not a team of stars, it’s all about the collective effort.
Of the newcomers, Josip Drmic is a proven goalscorer and has been joined in arriving from Germany by goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann on loan. Right-back Sam Byram has joined from West Ham and winger Patrick Roberts gets the chance to prove he can cut it in the Premier League on loan from Manchester City.
Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki pictured at their pre-season friendly match against Schalke on July 19 2019 (PA Images)
The Key Man
Considering he scored five more Championship goals than any other player in that division last season, just missing out on the big 30, much will be expected of Teemu Pukki to fire Norwich to Premier League safety.
The 29-year-old Finland international was something of a flop at Celtic earlier in his career, but improved hugely in his four subsequent years with Brondby and it would be surprising if Norwich ever made a better free-transfer signing than him.
Do the Canaries need to add some Premier League experience?
For newly-promoted teams, this always tends to help. But Norwich built their success in the Championship last season on being better than the sum of their parts and so it is no surprise that they have chosen not to stray from that formula.
At least new signing Sam Byram can add a smattering of top-flight experience from his time at West Ham, and at the time of writing there was still a week remaining before the transfer deadline and so manager Farke may yet have something else up his sleeve.
Will Pukki’s goal-poaching be as effective at the top level?
That’s one of the big questions if Norwich are to stay up. A prolific goalscorer is an absolute godsend in the Premier League and it’s something Cardiff last season, for example, badly missed.
If Pukki can grab, say, a dozen league goals – which would still not be half of his total last term – it could make all the difference between survival and heading straight back down.
Huddersfield set a precedent when they stayed up against the odds two seasons ago and Norwich are a fairly similar entity in that, like the Terriers, they have a German manager and a team of anything but household names.
But there is a lot to be said for continuity and, having found the secret to success in the second tier, the boys in yellow may just be able to continue the momentum they generated last season to secure themselves a second straight campaign among the elite.
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Norwich City Tips & Betting Specials 2019/2020
How will Norwich cope in the top tier after winning the Championship last term? Get our Norwich City betting tips and the latest Norwich betting specials here.