With safety assured last season, the Canaries look to create a squad this summer that is capable of climbing up the division in 2013/2014
When Norwich fans poured over their fixtures for the forthcoming Premier League season they must have at least released a bead of sweat when they saw they will finish their 2013/2014 campaign with hugely challenging fixtures.
The Canaries face Liverpool (H), Manchester United (A), Chelsea (A) and Arsenal (H) in four games which will either secure their position in the league or help them push on into the Europa League places.
It will be daunting for a team who last season had a detrimental dip in form during the second half of their campaign. After their 2-1 win against Wigan on December 15th, the club only won four more games in the league until the end of the season, yet still managed a brilliant 11th place finish with 44 points to their name.
This was achievable because of a successful start to the season in which Chris Hughton’s team only lost four games up until that Wigan victory on December 15th, winning games against Arsenal and Manchester United while on a nine game unbeaten run.
Key performers for the 54-year-old were Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass (who scored eight and six goals respectively this season) and defender Sebastien Bassong, who went on to win Player of the Season for the Norfolk club.
The Yellows have recruited the services of striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon (for £8.6 million) and defender Javier Garrido from Lazio on a permanent deal after a productive season-long loan. Both will look to help Hughton emulate Norwich’s early form this season and carry it forward to a fresh Premier League campaign.
Van Wolfswinkel’s arrival is particularly exciting for Canaries’ fans, who saw their club break their transfer record to acquire the Dutch frontman. The 24-year-old has had two caps for the Netherlands thanks to his brilliant form at both Utrecht and Sporting Lisbon (in a combined 119 appearances for the two clubs he scored 54 goals).
The signs are good for Norwich that they can push on from this season’s achievement and begin the new Premier League campaign as they did with the previous one. Despite a testing final four games in store for them in May, the plan is that those points will become inconsequential when survival has already been secured.
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