Iwan Roberts: ‘You can’t go through a season without back to back wins and expect to stay in the division’
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Norwich are only one of two clubs in the Premier League this season not to have won back to back games – you can’t do that and expect to stay up.
The other team is Brighton - who are eight points in front of Norwich.
Aston Villa have achieved the feat once and those wins came over Norwich and Brighton. Watford, who sit just above Norwich, recently won three on the bounce, with two of those victories coming against Villa and Bournemouth, two teams in and around that relegation battle.
You can't go through a season without back to back wins and expect to stay in the division. And you have to be taking points from those teams who you are fighting with you to stay up.
Norwich simply haven't done either of these things so far this season.
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In their previous season in the Premier League, Norwich won consecutive games twice under Alex Neil and to stay up this season this is the type of run the lads are going to have to put together with just 13 games remaining.
Take Bournemouth, for instance; they were dropping like a rock towards the Championship, lost at Carrow Road on January 18, but since then have won back to back games and have now climbed out of the bottom three.
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People were saying that Sean Dyche's Burnley team were in real trouble recently when they lost four consecutive Premier League games at the end of December/beginning of January, but they have since clawed their way up the table after winning seven points from their last three games. Now they're up to 11th, out of harm's way sitting on 31 points and a couple of wins away from yet another season in the top flight of English football.
I look at City's next five league games and it's hard to see where back-to-back wins are going to come from with some real tough fixtures on the horizon, and time is running out.
I look at Newcastle up there in 12th on 31 points - a team that Norwich have outplayed twice, taken four points from this season and, let's be honest, it should have been six - but for (once again) some wayward finishing and one or two fantastic saves from Martin Dubravka. How on earth are Newcastle 13 points better off than Norwich at this stage of the season?
Steve Bruce's men have been solid defensively at St James' Park, they've conceded one goal or less in 10 of their 13 games, including five clean sheets. If you do that you can nick games 1-0, which they've done three times at home.
Scoring goals has become a big concern for Norwich - they've scored two goals in a game just once in their last 11 league outings. It's not a case of not creating, as opportunities are being created - they just aren't being taken, and that was the case again last weekend.
Top scorer Teemu Pukki's last two league goals came from penalties and he's now not scored from open play since his goal at the King Power Stadium back on December 14, and that has to be a concern for the head coach. I sympathise with Teemu, who's normally so cool in front of goal. However, he now seems to be snatching at chances and doesn't look anywhere near the confident striker we know he is.
There's so much emphasis and pressure on him to score the goals to keep Norwich in the league and that burden on his shoulders can weigh very heavily at times. He just needs one goal to get going again, then hopefully he'll go on another goalscoring run which will see the team pick up some much-needed points and close the gap on those teams just above them.
Hopefully this winter break has come just at the right time for the players and they can recharge their batteries, come back fresh and raring to go for their final 13 league games and somehow string a run of results together which would see them stay up.