Norwich City 2021/22 Premier League Preview: Can Canaries stay up this time?

Nothing describes Norwich better than the term ‘yo-yo club’. They hold the record for the most Premier League relegations with five, joint with West Bromwich Albion.

Last season, they made their return to the top flight, winning their second Championship title in three years. Manager Daniel Farke will be hoping to avoid another immediate relegation.

Strengths

Scoring goals was one of Norwich’s strengths last season. They netted 75 goals in the Championship, second only to play-off winners Brentford.

They may have lost playmaker Emiliano Buendia to Aston Villa, but the acquisition of Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica is a promising one.

As well as the Kosovan, they still have Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell, who proved themselves capable of scoring at this level back in the 2019/20 campaign.

Weaknesses

When the Canaries were relegated two seasons ago, they scored the fewest goals and conceded the most. And while they’ve made some additions to their frontline, the defence is weaker, if anything.

Ben Godfrey was sold to Everton last summer, and Jamal Lewis transferred to Newcastle United. Meanwhile, the only defenders brought in since then have been Ben Gibson – who hardly got a look in at Burnley – and Dimitrios Giannoulis.

If they don’t make any more additions to their backline, it could be another season of defensive worries for Farke’s men.

Star man – Teemu Pukki

Fantasy football players will remember how good the Fin was in the early stages of the 2019/20 season. The striker caused problems for many top sides, scoring against all but one of the league’s ‘Big Six’.

Since coming to Norwich, he has scored 67 goals in 126 appearances in all competitions. He scored 11 goals in his last Premier League campaign and will be looking to add to that tally this time around. If you create chances for him, he will score.

Transfer business

The Norfolk side have been busy in the transfer window, with several incomings and outgoings.

The big loss will be the sale of Buendia, who won Championship Player of the Year last season with a stellar campaign.

Rashica replaces him with a respectable record in the Bundesliga, but he has big shoes to fill.

The only other notable departures are German pair Marco Stiepermann and Mario Vrancic, who leave on free transfers after four years at Carrow Road. The former is still a free agent, while the latter has joined Stoke City.

Other additions include Gibson and Giannoulis, who both sign permanently after spending last season on loan.

Pierre Lees-Melou has been bought from Nice, and Angus Gunn has returned to the club from Southampton.

Perhaps the most exciting arrival is Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour, who comes in on a one-year loan deal.

There are high hopes for the Scotsman, who has proven to be a tidy player in the Premier League and at Euro 2020.

American youngster Josh Sargent looks set to sign for an estimated £8 million, while Cantwell has been linked with a move to Aston Villa as a replacement for Jack Grealish. Norwich are reportedly demanding £40m for the midfielder.

Prediction

In theory, Norwich should be the best-placed of the promoted sides to survive relegation. However, it isn’t always that simple.

While the transfer business has been promising, several question marks remain over the defence.

If they do not strengthen their backline before the close of the transfer window, it isn’t easy to see them keeping many clean sheets.

They have enough firepower to frighten anyone, but this may not be enough to avoid a relegation battle.

Prediction: Relegation battle.

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