After their best top-flight finish since 1992/1993’s inaugural Premier League season, Norwich City have strengthened considerably over the summer and the 5/2 about them tumbling into the Championship in May is an unattractive proposition.
Last season’s eight-goal top-scorer Grant Holt has dropped down a division, with a £2m move to Wigan and while he is sure to fill his boots with the Latics this year, Canaries’ fans will be cheeping with delight at the sight of new strikers Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, who managed to find the back of the net 33 times between them in 2012/2013, for Sporting Lisbon and Celtic respectively.
In midfield, Dutch international Leroy Fer – who was on the verge of an £8m transfer to Everton in January, before a failed medical scuppered the move – has been snapped up for just half that from FC Twente and on the wing, Chris Hughton fought off competition from the Goodison Park club and Swansea City to land Nathan Redmond, who was impressive when scoring for the England Under 21’s against Scotland recently.
Norwich struggled to hold teams on the road last year – their away goals against tally of 38 was the third-worst in the league – and with only left-backs Martin Olsson and Javier Garrido brought in for cover in defence, Hughton will be hoping first-choice centre-half pairing Michael Turner and captain Sebastian Bassong can stay fit in front of John Ruddy, who was sorely missed when injured for most of the last campaign.
Without their England goalkeeper between the sticks, the Carrow Road club went on a nightmare run – winning just twice in the league between January and May – and Hughton will be glad to have his number one fit for the start of the new term, after Ruddy kept two more clean sheets in his 15 league appearances than replacement Mark Bunn could manage in 22 starts.
With the teams around them all improving also, Norwich will do well to match last season’s stonking 11th place finish, but the 13/50 on them staying up this season looks the bet to be on.