Norwich City are back in the Premier League! The 19/20 season was a bit of a disaster for the Norfolk club, but will the 21/22 campaign be any different? Read below for our thoughts on whether Norwich will survive in the Premier League this time, and how their players may perform in Fantasy EPL!
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Will Norwich City Survive?
Read below for our analysis of the last couple of seasons, and how the Canaries may fare in the Premier League this season. We'll cover their Fantasy EPL prospects from a Fantrax perspective too!
Norwich City were promoted to the Premier League for the 19/20 season, after a somewhat surprising Championship title in 18/19. The Canaries scored 93 and conceded 57 en route to the league victory (mentioning how many they conceded is an important note which I will return to shortly!). Norwich started their Premier League season in pretty good form, as they beat Newcastle 3-1 thanks to a Pukki hat-trick, narrowly lost 3-2 to Chelsea, and beat reigning champions Manchester City 3-2. Six points from a possible nine during the first three games at Carrow Road. Pretty, pretty good. But then things quickly went downhill...
Farke did not adapt his playing style from the Championship. The Canaries didn't tighten things up in defence and were shipping goals left, right, and center. Conceding those 57 goals during 46 games in the Championship the season prior was the warning sign. But to be fair they did have horrible luck with injuries to their centre-backs. Only young Ben Godfrey managed to play anywhere near all of Norwich's games.
Norwich lost every single game during Project Restart, and finished bottom of the league. Poor finishing (26 goals from a xG of 38) + a weak defence (conceded 75) = no chance of surviving in the Premier League.
But Norwich City came storming back to the Premier League with a dominating Championship winning season. Apart from a slow to the season (4 points from a possible 12), the Canaries were pretty unstoppable. They reached the summit of the league at the end of November and held this position until the end of the season. Buendia was the hero, scoring 15 and assisting 16 during his 39 appearances. Pukki contributed heavily with 26 goals, and Hanley and Krul were dominant forces in defence. Aarons had another great season at right-back, and Tottenham loanee Skipp was incredible in central midfield. These six players all made the Championship Team of the Season.
This time around Norwich won the league scoring 75 goals and conceding 36. This is a really important note. Farke was much more measured in his approach, as he often settled for victories by a single goal margin. This will hopefully bode well for their Premier League prospects next season... has Farke learned from his fairly disastrous first crack at the top division during the 19/20 season? There isn't a particularly strong correlation between how a defence performed in the Championship compared to the Premier League, but still, this is a sign for optimism. Norwich might have learned how to defend!
Fantasy EPL Prospects
From a Fantasy EPL perspective, now that Buendia has left the club there really aren't many exciting options for the Canaries. Last season Buendia scored over 700 points based on Fantrax Default Scoring, and had a Points Per 90 of over 20!!! To lose an incredible footballer such as that is very disappointing. Milot Rashica has arrived for a club record fee from Werder Bremen, and has decent potential. He's not going to emulate Buendia though. The Kosovo winger is a raw talent and has decent stats from last year (9.9 Points Per 90 and 7.5 Ghost Points Per 90), but this will be his first season in England with a new club. He'll need time to settle in.
Elsewhere, Pukki and Cantwell are the most well known players and should provide decent value towards the end of the draft. I see both of these players as only just better than a streamer. I wouldn't be looking to draft them until Round 11 at the earliest. Pukki should be a decent FWD3/4, and Cantwell a MID4/5. Kieran Dowell is a really interesting player for me, as he performed pretty well during his 936 minutes of action last season. The former Everton man suffered several injuries, but ended the season in the best eleven.
Krul should offer good value as a low ownership goalkeeper; he'll be very busy on the saves front, and Norwich will hopefully be better defensively this season. Hanley and Giannoulis should offer decent value as streaming options throughout the season.
So... Will They Survive?
Norwich are not a club that will spend lots of money to try and stay in the Premier League. They proved that last time. They had fairly major financial troubles as recently as 2018, so will be using the Premier League money and player sales profits to set the club up for the future. Sporting Director Stuart Webber has publicly stated that he wants to have the best youth academy in the country. Money will continue to be invested into developing (and ultimately selling) players such as Godfrey, Lewis, Buendia, Aarons and Cantwell.
With Buendia gone, I think it's a given that Norwich will go down once again. The loan signing of Billy Gilmour is great, but more signings are needed. Realistically another central midfielder, a centre-back, and competition for Pukki. Although I think Norwich will go down, they should offer better value than they did during the 19/20 campaign. Farke has learnt from that experience, and should bring more defensive stability. I'm optimistic that Norwich assets will provide decent value this time around... it can't get much worse than the 19/20 campaign anyway!
I see Norwich as a side similar to West Brom from last season. Comparing Rashica to Pereira is a bit of a push, but the Kosovo winger should be Norwich's most attractive asset. In Krul they have a good goalkeeper similar to Johnstone. In Pukki they have a decent striker similar to Diagne. In Cantwell, Dowell, Hanley, Aarons and Giannoulis they have a handful of players that will bring value at certain points of the season similar to Gallagher, Phillips, Bartley, Furlong and Townsend.
West Brom/Norwich City comparison:
Pereira (11 Points Per Start (PPS)) = Rashica
Diagne (7.9 PPS) = Pukki
Johnstone (7.1 PPS) = Krul
Townsend (7 PPS) = Giannoulis
Matt Phillips (6.8 PPS) = Dowell
Bartley (6.2 PPS) = Hanley
Furlong (6 PPS) = Aarons
Gallagher (5.4 PPS) = Cantwell/Gilmour
I would also highly recommend not drafting most Norwich players. They have a rock hard opening fixture schedule, so if you were to draft someone like Dowell, Aarons, Gilmour or Hanley, you'll probably drop them before they feature in your Fantrax starting eleven. I would happily draft Rashica and Krul, and maybe Pukki and Cantwell if I was desperate. But that's it. Leave another manager to waste a draft pick on a player they then drop during the first few gameweeks!
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