Despite a midweek slip, Norwich City are second in the Championship table, and in a pole position to reach the Premier League. However, after finishing 14th in the Championship last season, Daniel Farke’s side wasn’t considered a favorite for promotion this season, so what is the secret to their success?
Norwich’s squad is a perfect blend of talented youth and experienced old heads whose form has been incredible consistent, which is a vital reason for their rise this season. Eighteen-year-old Max Aarons and 20-year-old Jamal Lewis are a pair of impressive defenders that have added energy and excitement to the Norwich side. Both Aarons and Lewis have dazzled in both boxes, using pace and power to stop and create attacks. Farke’s faith in the pair is impressive, as is his confidence in 20-year-old Todd Cantwell and 21-year-old Ben Godfrey. However, it is easy to have faith in youngsters when their teammates have great pedigree and nous. Norwich’s youngsters complement a side that includes significant internationals such as Tim Krul and Timm Klose, and exciting campaigners Alexander Tettey and Jordan Rhodes. The Norwich side seems perfectly balanced, fair and even, inspiring and steady. There seems to be no weakness in their team and no real lack in any area. They are full of both youth and experience, and both intellect and energy.
However, there is no doubt that Teemu Pukki is Norwich’s main man. Pukki is a 28-year-old Finnish international striker, who was signed from Brondby on a free transfer in the summer. He is a former Sevilla, Schalke and Celtic striker who has shown his pedigree by scoring 20 goals in England’s second tier. If Norwich are promoted this season, Pukki deserves a vast amount of credit. When James Maddison departed to Leicester in the summer, many wondered who could fill the void he left. Pukki has answered the call. His work rate, his power and pace make him awkward for defenders and his pure will to score is awe-inspiring for his teammates. Pukki is the spark; the player that turns a well-assembled squad into a promotion winning team. Pukki’s play has been brilliant this year, and he is enjoying a remarkable season.
Despite the efforts of the players, Farke’s influence at Norwich is perhaps the most significant reason for their form. Farke, after all, is the man who assembled the brilliantly balanced squad, promoted youth talent and signed Pukki. Farke, a 42-year-old German, has masterminded Norwich’s revival. In less than two years, Farke has slowly transformed Norwich from a deteriorating if not an average team into the Championship’s very best. Farke is reportedly on the verge of signing a new deal at Carrow Road as a reward for his efforts. Surely Farke should be applauded by all for his work, and his skill at crafting a team capable of challenging for promotion and competing in the Premier League in years to come.
Whether Norwich win promotion this term or not, they must be commended for both their approach and their results. It will be both enjoyable and intriguing to see what Norwich do next. They have certainly done a considerable amount right this season. I am sure, like me, you will watch on in support and with interest in the seasons to come.