Forget the last months of the season
Before Christmas it’s just a little fun and games in the championship.
Everyone knows that you don’t need to play well or collect points before the end of the year; save your energy, win a few games in March or April, and you’ll get at least one play-off spot – those are the rules.
Alright, that’s obviously not quite true, but it’s not far off.
England’s second tier have the odd knack of throwing an absolute wild card at the end of each season. There is always a side that has languished in the middle of the table all season, but after streaking a few wins at the back of the campaign, they are sneaking into the top six – take Swansea last season for example.
It happens so regularly that it’s not even a shock anymore. The “black horses” that make a late run for the playoffs shouldn’t even be considered underdogs – if you’re not at the bottom of the table with five games to go, then you’re okay.
So the final months of the season are obviously imperative in the league – as they are in any league, but even more so in this one – yet, in a strange way, it’s the this month that will determine which league Norwich City plays next season.
In one of the most fiercely competitive campaigns in recent memory, the Canaries have been the eternal pioneers of this season’s race for the Premier League.
Although they were able to throw cover over the majority of the league – with just eight points gap between Cardiff City, 15th and Watford, sixth, Daniel Farke’s side managed to maintain their place at the top of the table.
Consistency is the key to success in the championship. It’s all well and good to have a winning squad that only show up once every five games, but to win in the second tier of 46 games you have to be able to produce week after week, and that is exactly what Norwich did. this season.
Their ability to bounce back from loss is what sets them apart from the rest, having only suffered back-to-back losses after the entire campaign. This mentality coupled with a team brimming with talent undoubtedly sees them as the favorites to clinch the title. however, could all of this be about to change?
For most Championship clubs, January is the time to consolidate their progress for the season as they look to add to their roster and progress towards their goal for the season – Norwich is in a very different position.
Having performed so poorly at the end of last season, very few Premier League vultures have circled Carrow Road in an attempt to pick their brightest stars. Yet after spending the past four months reminding everyone how good they can be, top clubs are back.
Max Aarons is one of those linked with a January move, Manchester United reportedly keen to provide a more offensive alternative to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Aarons has been superb for the Canaries this campaign, playing every minute of the club’s 23 league games so far, with his energy and drive on the Norwich right-wing becoming a hallmark of their game.
If the Canarian hierarchy were tempted to part ways with their talented youngster, it would be nearly impossible to replace him with a player who has experience winning the league, could provide similar levels of quality and could be captured in the space of a matter of weeks.
Emiliano Buendia was one of the few Norwich players who are said to have left the club again this summer after their miserable altercation, so it’s no surprise to hear that the Argentine is being courted by Arsenal again.
While Aarons would be a huge loss for Farke’s side, losing Buendia would undoubtedly be the biggest blow. Not only does the midfielder have stellar stats this season – contributing seven goals and seven assists in 19 league appearances – he’s essential to Norwich’s style of play.
Jordan Hugill and Teemu Pukki might be strong forwards in the Championship, but they’re also not the type who can give themselves a chance out of thin air – they both need consistent, quality service, and that’s exactly what Buendia offers them.
Losing the creative midfielder would not only take away a huge goal threat, it would also mean that Farke was forced to completely mix up his pack and develop a new style of play mid-season – something that is unlikely. to glean instant results.
It remains to be seen whether the speculation surrounding the two players is true, but considering Arsenal’s lack of cunning in midfield and United’s need for a more offensive right outlet, the two respective rumors seem quite right. plausible.
If any offers are made, Norwich has a huge decision to make: take the money up front and risk losing millions by missing out on a promotion, or reject potentially enticing sums of money and pray that they will. hang out of their place in the top two – good luck with that one.