Following a surprise goalless draw against Manuel Pelligrini’s Manchester City, Norwich City find themselves level on points with Sunderland, as they look to survive this season’s Premier League relegation ‘rat race’.
Alex Neil, who had recently reached the milestone of his first year in charge of Norwich City, following his switch from Hamilton in early 2015. He will be facing arguably his toughest test to date, as he looks to steer the canaries to safety. Pundits believe it is now a mini-league between the four bottom clubs. With the recent appointment of Rafa Benitez for Newcastle & Sunderland’s track record of dodging relegation, some pundits have discounted Norwich from the survival equation.
With the recent appointment of Rafa Benitez for Newcastle & Sunderland’s track record of dodging relegation, some pundits have discounted Norwich from the survival equation. I believe it’s too early to write Norwich off. Especially given that the performances have been there throughout the season, with the Liverpool and West Ham home matches being prime examples, but momentary lapses in concentration or minor individual errors have cost them goals. These factors, as well as a lack of ‘the rub of the green’, has hindered their progress this season.
Norwich, who currently sit in 18th place on goal difference, may well have been tempted to have changed their manager, as they remain the only club out of the bottom 5 to not change their manager this season. I personally feel this is a good decision, as I believe Alex deserves his shot at getting the club to safety, given that before his appointment in early 2015, Norwich were 7th in the Championship and were sliding down the table despite their great start to the season.
Secondly, as previously mentioned Norwich have put in some good performances throughout the season, which in my opinion hasn’t reflected some of the performances. This is something Neil will be hoping his side can recall on, as a repeat of performances from games against Leicester, West Ham and Liverpool minus the result could be enough to keep them up, especially as they come up against Newcastle and Sunderland in the next few weeks at Carrow Road. These are pivotal fixtures that Norwich need to be targeting something from in order to secure safety.
Thirdly, I feel that the club should remain ambitious and keep Neil even if the club was unable to beat the drop, as he clearly has that spark in him. Many fans share the same view that a few years down the line he could be a great manager for the club, especially given that at the moment he is only 34 and is still learning as a manager. It would seem that his appointment was viewed as a long-term option for the club.
Some fans do feel that a change is needed in order to keep Norwich away from relegation and have banded names such as Nigel Pearson around. Pearson is understandably a credible candidate given that incredible way in which he and his staff managed to turn around Leicester’s fortunes despite looking like almost certain to go down last season. But I do feel that if this was to happen, Norwich would lose out on a talented manager in Alex Neil. This change may save (benefit) the club in the short term, but in the long run, they could lose out on a series of successful seasons under the talented Scotsman, and for that reason, I’m backing Alex Neil even if the canaries fail to survive this season, as without him we probably wouldn’t be in the Premier League in the first place.
This is the beauty of sport, we simply don’t know what is around the corner, just take a look at Leicester, very few people would have predicted how successful they have been this season.
Do you think Norwich can beat the drop, and do you think Alex Neil should remain in charge if the canaries are in the Championship next season? Leave your comments and thoughts below.
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