Norwich City Season Preview: Can the Canaries continue to fly high?
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Norwich City Season Preview: Can the Canaries continue to fly high?

Norwich took the Championship by storm last season and are looking to establish themselves on their return to the top-flight.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

It was one of the stories of the season. How a club that looked destined for a mid-table Championship finish at best, tore apart a competitive second tier with their attractive brand of free-flowing football.

Under the guidance of Daniel Farke, the Canaries have put together a continentally-infused ball-playing eleven that love to score goals, despite a limited budget.

With just one player on their books who boasts Premier League experience, Norwich barely stuttered after a harrowing start to the season this time, last year.

Yet, on their return to the top-flight after a three-year absence, the Canaries have put faith in those that got them this far with a waft of contract extensions and just a splattering of new faces. This side is here to entertain.

Transfer business

Norwich's Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, another mastermind in their renaissance, acknowledged that very little funds would be spent early in pre-season. Just  £1 million to date and a loan fee for goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann who arrives with an abundance of experience from Schalke.

A large chunk of the money paid out has gone to West Ham for the services of Sam Byram. Still just 25, he will provide competition for the extremely talented Max Aarons and Jamaal Lewis.

Patrick Roberts provides an exciting loan prospect from the Premier League champions and will offer pace and flair on the wings. Norwich also secured the services of Swiss international Josip Drmic on a free transfer and he has already netted a hat-trick during pre-season.

Faith has been shown in last season's crop with every single player in the starting eleven for the final game of the Championship campaign offered an extension in the last 12 months, along with several other key squad players.

Where the season can be won and lost

Norwich will be keen to get their campaign off to a good start as they hope to continue to ride the wave of confidence developed over the last year.

The Canaries' success has been developed by an intense, attacking approach. In Emi Buendia, Marco Stiepermann, Onel Hernandez, Mario Vrancic and now Roberts, they have a wealth of creativity. At the point of the favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, they boast Teemu Pukki, last season's Championship top scorer.

But defensively they still have weaknesses. Whilst the Canaries netted seven goals shy of 100 last season, they conceded more goals than seven other clubs in the second tier, including Stoke City who finished 16th.

Norwich are the sort of side that could batter a side 5-0 but then lose 6-1 the following weekend.

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One to watch

At 19 years old, right-back Max Aarons is one of the most talented prospects in England and will surely graduate from the England youth set-ups to the senior squad in the very near future.

Aarons loves to push forward, adding another dimension to the gifted Norwich offensive pattern. He created six goals last season and scored three himself.

Newcastle fans may recognise him as the cousin of Rolando Aarons.

Potential wildcard

Todd Cantwell was used sparingly last season, mainly due to the effectiveness of the continental talent.

However, the 21-year-old midfielder who can play all across the engine room, has been particularly impressive during pre-season. Playing in a number ten role, he dominated the tempo against Atalanta before scoring the opening goal.

It was only when he was taken off that Norwich capitulated.

What to expect

Entertainment! As already touched upon, Norwich love to score but also leave gaps at the back.

However, Farke is a measured tactician and will ensure that his squad are well-drilled for the campaign, along with each and every fixture.

Whilst many have already tipped the Canaries for relegation, mainly due to their lack of pre-season spending, the truth is that Norwich are going to be an unknown feature of this Premier League campaign.

They have the ability to sit too deep after intense spells of attacking pressure, a tactic unlikely to work against some of the high-class teams in the Premier League. But, if they get their game management right, there is no reason why this side can't avoid relegation and work towards mid-table.

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