With Norwich struggling for wins as the season reaches its climax , how close are they to losing their top flight status?
With the announcement that Ricky van Wolfswinkel would be a Norwich player next season, Canaries fans were understandably elated at the news that such a natural goal-scorer would be joining their ranks.
In fact, I went so far as to declare it one half of a possible dream strike-force with long-term Norwich target Gary Hooper.
But looking at the current Premier League table, a question has to be asked. A question steeped in speculation but a question regardless; because in a year when the final relegation place is near impossible to call, Norwich cannot be discounted.
Following their 1-1 draw with Sunderland last month, defender Russell Martin said his side were two wins away from survival. He talked of the magic 40-point mark, which at the time seemed unattainable for many of the sides below them.
Back then City had a seven-point cushion above the relegation zone. But that cushion is now down to four, after Norwich took just one point from a possible six, losing what could prove a vital match away to Wigan.
And the concerns for Chris Hughton’s side don’t grow any less if you look either forwards or back.
Looking back only demonstrates how hard Martin’s target may be to reach, as his club have won just two of their last 16 league games.
And looking forward, you see that a visit to Arsenal is followed by three consecutive six-pointers against Reading, Stoke and Aston Villa.
While the Royals are all but condemned to Championship football next season, Stoke and Villa most certainly are not.
Villa’s form has been great in recent weeks, while Tony Pulis will know that a home win at the Britannia is imperative.
There is almost certainly only one relegation place to avoid now. And it will ultimately be taken by one of a surprisingly large list of contenders.
Newcastle’s last-gasp winner against Fulham may have just saved them, but any one of the five clubs below them could still lose their place in the top flight.
It was a problem van Wolfswinkel probably didn’t consider when he opted for Carrow Road. A problem his future team-mates will hope to prevent in his absence.
How worrying is Norwich's current form? And is their a genuine chance they could be playing in the second tier next season?
image: © Vincent Teeuwen