David Freezer: So much to be positive about as City resume Premier League challenge
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Is it time to lose the fear of Premier League relegation?
In absolutely no way am I suggesting it's time to wave the white flag, that would be ridiculous after eight games - and I'm still hopeful that Daniel Farke will be able to mastermind a positive season.
Yet so much of the talk around the prospects of promoted sides is seen from the viewpoint of avoiding the drop. I've been guilty of it myself, yet perhaps seeing this campaign through a different scope would be beneficial.
The Championship is a great division to be involved in and is a level where the Canaries can thrive, as the 2018-19 title triumph emphasised.
A disaster is what has happened at Bury this season, where financial mismanagement saw the Greater Manchester club kicked out of League One and now on the verge of 134 years of history being consigned to the history books, with the High Court close to winding up the Shakers altogether.
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Or over in Italy just this week, Palermo officially went out of business after being declared bankrupt, having been in Serie A as recently as 2017. The Sicilian club's 117 years of history may have officially been wiped but a phoenix club was swiftly set up in the summer and is already performing well in Serie D, so perhaps not a total disaster.
Coventry having to play in a different city, at St Andrew's Stadium in Birmingham, these are the kind of problems which can lend perspective to all involved with the Canaries as they battle to become established in the top flight.
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Financially another year amongst the riches of the Premier League could begin a new chapter in City's history, allowing a degree of parity with clubs such as Burnley, Brighton or today's opponents Bournemouth.
The Cherries - like almost every club in the top tier - have super-rich backers and with Norwich a self-funding club without wealthy support, the financial playing field is very much not level.
Perhaps it's just a glass-half-full view, yet if all of that can be taken into consideration then it might just take a degree of pressure from the shoulders of Farke's squad.
They of course are putting themselves under pressure to succeed, a future in the Premier League is as important to the players as it is the club, both in financial terms and to the benefit of their professional ambition.
Knowing that staying in the top tier is not the be all and end all for supporters would help ease that burden though, with Farke regularly admitting the odds are stacked against his "underdogs".
That was a line being used even before half the City squad was decimated by injury - which thankfully has finally eased ahead of this afternoon's game on the south coast.
On the same day that England face Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, Farke can happily borrow a phrase from Eddie Jones: finishers.
That what England's head coach calls the players on his replacements bench, even in the official press release confirming the team. They are not just substitutes who might be needed, they are given positive reenforcement. Joe Marler, Dan Cole and George Kruis may not have made the starting XV but they are empowered with that status of being key to their team finishing the job.
While youngsters Archie Mair, Akin Famewo and Adam Idah will - hopefully - have exciting futures ahead for City, to ask them to come on during the 5-1 defeat to Aston Villa and change things would have been a huge ask of inexperienced players.
Yet Farke's finishers should be bolstered by Tom Trybull and Onel Hernandez this afternoon, key players during last season's success.
Combined with the influential Tim Krul being back in goal, the experience of Alex Tettey returning to midfield, with Mario Vrancic closing on his return to contention and other minor issues being rested during the international break, there's plenty of reason to accentuate the positives ahead of today's battle with Bournemouth.
And as I've mentioned the rugby: come on England!
- SURMAN'S TOP-FLIGHT TACTICS
There are few players as well qualified to give Norwich City advice on what it takes to become established in the Premier League as Andrew Surman.
So it was great to catch up the former Canaries midfielder ahead of today's game, to get his view on the way City are trying to do their business under Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke.
Farke's approach is not too dissimilar from the way Eddie Howe went about things at Bournemouth, even if that style may have evolved in the top flight.
Surman was part of the Cherries team which gained automatic promotion in 2015 and played every minute as Howe's team finished 16th in their first campaign in the Premier League.
With a wealth of experience in the top two tiers, the 33-year-old knows what he's talking about. Do check out both articles if you get a chance.