David Freezer: Plenty of inspiration for Norwich City to kick-start their Premier League campaign
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
There’s no doubt that Norwich City supporters are concerned about their team’s survival prospects, but there is plenty of evidence to calm those nerves.
The Canaries' return to the Premier League began with optimism dominating yellow and green thoughts, after a fantastic Championship title triumph which was secured with an attractive attacking style.
However, Daniel Farke's team were dumped into the relegation zone as the second international break of the campaign began, slumping to a 5-1 defeat to Aston Villa amid a grim injury crisis robbing them of nine players.
Many hopes are now pinned on experienced and influential players such as Tim Krul, Grant Hanley, Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic recovering fitness ahead of a trip to established top-flight side Bournemouth.
City sit second-from-bottom in the table after eight games, with the worst defensive record in the division of 21 goals conceded and with six defeats to their name.
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It's not all been quite so bleak though, with a dominant 3-1 home victory over Newcastle in August which only saw a clean sheet ruined by a late Hanley slip, as well as an against-all-odds 3-2 home victory over reigning champions Manchester City when Farke's team dug deep to defy their injury restrictions.
There is still plenty of football to be played though, with 30 games of the season remaining, and Newcastle can provide an apt reminder that a slow start to the season doesn't have to be fatal.
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The Magpies were second from bottom after eight games last season with just two points, conceding 17 goals. However, once Rafa Benitez had whipped his team into shape, they finished 13th and 11 points clear of the bottom three.
And in 2017-18 all three teams in the relegation zone after eight matches went on to survive comfortably. Palace went from conceding 18 and having just three points, to finishing 11th and 11 points clear of the bottom three - with Leicester and Bournemouth the other two sides who surged after a worrying start.
The season before that Stoke and Swansea had been stuck in the drop zone with eight matches played, with six and four points respectively, but both went on to finish in mid-table with a degree of comfort.
So while alarm bells are ringing at Carrow Road, that hard earned faith in Farke's motivational abilities and coaching skill doesn't need to be thrown out of the window just yet.