Chris Hughton is by all accounts one of the nicest men in English football. His demeanor and actions as a gentleman have made neutrals like I root for his sides whenever the clubs we support are not playing against a team he manages. As a fan of his, I was very excited by the signings made this summer by Norwich — players who seemingly could transform the Canaries into contenders for a European place.
The Canaries penchant to lose points at home while controlling the opposition has become regular occurrences. Despite the impressive outlay of funds (nearing £25 million in summer spending) acquiring players who were in demand on the transfer markets such as Leroy Fer, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, the Canaries have had a miserable start to the 2013-14 season with the sides immediately below Norwich having changed managers and are gradually finding some form, thus elevating the danger for the Canaries.
Seemingly time and again, Norwich has created more chances in matches at Carrow Road only to find they’ve dropped points on the home ground. With a relegation fight looming, it’s becoming obvious any margin for error the Canaries had is now gone.
The Boxing Day home loss to Fulham was a terrible result and now the Canaries travel to another rejuvenated London side fighting relegation in Crystal Palace. Under Tony Pulis, Palace have become a more organized and resourceful side, capable of pushing even the best teams in the league to the brink, evidenced by their near-miss at the Etihad on Saturday.
Last season, Norwich was riding high in the top-half of the table when four consecutive losses during the festive period saw the Canaries drop down the table and eventually end up in a relegation scrap. After spending big money this summer to avoid a repeat performance, it appears Norwich is in even a worse position than a year ago, teetering ever so slightly outside the drop zone and not taking advantage of good performances at home to bank points.
Premier League survival is all the East Anglia club can hope for this season. Despite the great signings on paper, survival is far from guaranteed at this point in time. Is it time to change managers before the January window opens? It seems obvious that a change won’t be made but by sticking with Hughton, the Canaries are most certainly taking a major risk.
Editor’s note: For the latest Canaries news, analysis and opinion, visit the Norwich City team page.