By Michael Cowlishaw
Christmas 2012 was definitely one to forget if you were a Norwich City fan. The club has slipped from the rather lofty position of 8th in the Premier League table (after beating Wigan 2-1 on the 15th of December) to the slightly lower position of 13th having not won a game since that win against the Latics.
According to the aptly named football statistics website ‘Footstats’ and based on last weekend’s result, with the Canaries given a thorough beating at the hands of Liverpool, Norwich currently boast the worst form in the Premier League. One point from a possible 18 that were available, has now got the football pundits who previously talked up Norwich as possible Europa League challengers, to the most likely team to be dragged into the relegation dogfight.
A tough league fixture list ahead, that includes a triple header of London based clubs (Spurs, QPR and Fulham), Norwich will need to find the confidence to tackle each game head-on and start collecting the points that will see them safe for another season in the Premier League.
And history had told us that bad runs are not always a sign of a relegation battle. We forget that at the start of the season, Norwich began with a terrible run of form that saw the club wait until October to get their first Premier League win of the season. In turn, it started the run of good form that saw the Canaries go from 19th to 8th over a space of 10 games. The Canaries are now regarded as a mid-table side, and with that, runs of bad form are to be expected. As the BBC’s Mark Lawrenson noted prior to the defeat by West Brom in December, ‘There are about 10 teams in the Premier League that are capable of going unbeaten for four or five games and then going the same amount of time without a win.”
Other teams have been in the same position Norwich currently find themselves in. At this same point last season, Wigan went nine games without a win, only to find a good run of form that saw themselves safe for another year. QPR were also in a similar position, and with results under Harry Redknapp starting to deliver points, they could perform the great escape again. Norwich though have the benefit of not being in the bottom three and being cut off from the mid-table positions. The 13th place we currently occupy is secure from the relegation places by seven points and is still a healthy gap if the Canaries can get a win in the next two games. It’s worth noting as well that the teams that surround Norwich in the Premier League table are also just above them in the ‘Footstats’ form table. West Ham, Newcastle, Fulham and Stoke have all had mixed results lately, and are within reach if Norwich can get three points.
All runs come to an end. Our bad run came to its eventual end at the start of the season, and it rebounded into the best run Norwich City have ever had in the Premier League. With this in mind, we shouldn’t be too worried that this poor run of form is a sign of our season falling apart. And the gaffer certainly doesn’t think so, as Chris Hughton told the BBC this week ‘We’ve had a few big results go against us before, but we’ve managed to bounce back from them, and it led to a good run that was extremely good for this division.’