Terri Westgate: City could make those hasty predictions look very silly
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
We have all heard the declaration that Norwich City are destined for relegation this season.
After losing to Leeds numerous commentators gave their pithy opinions about our football club, and how we were merely making up the numbers in the Premier League.
Often this was based on watching edited highlights, sometimes it was just a glance at the score line, and whilst that first win escaped us it was difficult to persuade with a counter argument - though some of us did try.
However, nothing is decided in the first 10 games of a football season, and the overreaction in some parts of the media to our poor start is now starting to be tempered, as we slowly begin to close the gap on the teams above. We are still second from bottom, but we are certainly not adrift from the rest of the league. There will be some now nervously looking over their shoulder as we head into one of the busiest periods of fixtures.
The last three games, starting with Farke’s final match at Brentford, have shown that we are still capable of the attacking play that got us promoted into this league. The determination and desire needed to fight the drop have been shown in abundance, and again on Saturday we proved that we could be competitive at the top level.
Wolves had been in good form coming to Carrow Road, so it’s a testament to our performance that so many Canaries fans were disappointed that we came away with just a draw.
Losing Mathias Normann to injury in the first half was a blow, as in a short period of time he has become an important part of the team, and being forced into an early substitution can ruin the flow of a game. However, Rupp came on and put in an assured performance to quieten his critics, which are dwindling in numbers with each appearance.
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Encouraging though it was at the number of chances we created, failure to convert any is the reason the match ended goalless. But with the confidence of the players growing, I believe they will soon overcome that hurdle as well.
For inspiration to see how fortunes can change, look no further than Ben Gibson.
In those early fixtures against the might of Liverpool and Man City’s forward line, he looked overawed and behind the pace. Against Wolves at the weekend, he was consistently shutting down attacks and making crucial tackles, and helping us to our third clean sheet of the season.
I am not one for overreaction, so I didn’t get angry or rise to the bait of the ridiculous statements made after our heavy defeat at Chelsea. I knew it wasn’t a result that would determine our season. The comments were made without any insight and were designed to provoke, as controversy is a cheap way to get clicks and views online.
I am also cautiously optimistic now about our chances of avoiding relegation.
I believe that we have enough talent in our squad to get the results to drag us up the table to the heady heights of 17th place, or even higher. But there is still a lot of football to be played, and as Saturday demonstrated sometimes when you play well, you still don’t get the win. There is more drama to come, there will be disappointing defeats, but there will also be unexpected wins.
However, there is no longer just belief that we can compete at this level, but concrete evidence.
There may be glory in beating teams like Man City, but it is picking up points against Brentford, Southampton, Burnley, Wolves and Brighton that will keep us in this division. And when this unbeaten run comes to an end, we must dust ourselves down and not let it dampen our spirit.
The story of our season has plenty of chapters left still to be written, and our destiny is still in our own hands.