The relegation battle is almost certainly going to be more exciting than the title fight. Liverpool are clear favourites to win the league, while the relegation fight is wide open with no one side looking certainties for the drop. The bottom three hasn’t changed much in recent weeks, but all three have found crucial victories which have moved them up the table.
Norwich have been dragged right into the mix and many now expect them to get relegated in the season, and the timing of Chris Hughton’s sacking was ludicrous. If it had been done earlier in the season, Norwich may have survived, but leaving it as long as they did damaged the side more than it helped it.
Norwich are on a dreadful run of form, picking up only 4 points from their last 8 matches. It’s bad enough that they are coming into the run in with poor form, but their remaining matches don’t make it any easier for them as they face games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Although anything can happen in the Premier League as witnessed this weekend, it will be difficult for them to beat any of those teams given their lack of confidence. The main advantage that Norwich have over Manchester United is that they have something to play for, while Chelsea may also have lost the title race by the time the Canaries visit Stamford Bridge.
The Norwich owners will be extremely disappointed if the side are relegated, considering they spent more money than they ever had before in the summer totaling around £26m. The likes of Gary Hooper, Johan Elmander and Ricky van Wolfswinkel have only 8 goals between them in the league, which is unacceptable for a trio of Premier League strikers. Although Leroy Fer has been an influential player, he hasn’t been able to drag Norwich high enough in the table. The defence have also been very good, keeping many clean sheets. It’s clear the problem has been in the final third.
It’s very worrying for Norwich that other sides in the bottom six, especially the bottom three, are starting to pick up points and putting in consistent performances week in week out. Sunderland have traveled to Chelsea and Manchester City and taken four points from the title challengers, taking Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge in the process. Cardiff have won away at Southampton, who have been one of the most consistent sides in the division. Fulham won back to back matches before the weekend. All three look to be very capable of staying up, but the Premier League has shown there are plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season.
Looking at the various run ins, Norwich have certainly got the toughest run in out of those in the bottom six and they need at least three more points to even stand a chance of survival. Although it can be considered that the lack of expectation can be a benefit as Sunderland have shown in the past week. Many thought they were dead and buried, but after their last two results against title challengers, they are in with a great chance. There is no reason why Norwich can’t do something similar over the next few weeks.