Norwich City confirmed the sacking of Chris Hughton after their 1-0 defeat to West Brom on Saturday, much to the surprise of many. The Canaries have replaced the former Newcastle boss with youth coach Neil Adams, who played for Norwich between 1994 and 1999. A statement ran on the club’s website: “The decision has been taken to give the club the maximum chance of survival.”
However, Hughton sees it differently. Seemingly disgruntled by the affair, the 55-year-old said: “I understand the recent frustrations, but I remained totally confident that we were on course to create history at the club by retaining our top-flight status and move into a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League.”
The final five fixtures are going to be even more testing for Norwich City, where they will face Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. It’s hard to back Norwich City in any of the games given they are 19th in the form table. Each game has its own task with all of sides having something to play for in this hectic Premier League season.
While the timing of Hughton’s sacking has been confusing, it is an understandable decision in terms of how the season has planned out for the Canaries. After signing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer, big things were expected of Norwich City. Especially after finishing 11th in the league last season, a top ten finish did not seem too much of an ask for Hughton.
Football is about progress and after spending a fair bit of money in the summer, the Norwich board did deserve progress for the squad. Comparing Norwich to Southampton, there was little difference between the two sides at the beginning of the season but both sides have gone in completely different directions.
Perhaps a number of factors can be attributed to Norwich’s fall down the Premier League table. One major factor is the lack of goals from their strikers. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper have only managed six goals between them in the Premier League this season – a disappointing total for a partnership that scored a combined 33 goals between them in Portugal and Scotland.
The managerial change could be what Norwich need, with many not favoring them in their final five fixtures, they can be fearless in their end of season run in. Certainly they have the quality in their squad to beat anyone in the league. Their wins over Manchester United and Arsenal last season prove they have it in them.
If they win against Fulham this Saturday, they may lift any pressure that is on them anyway. With a win they would stretch their lead over 18th placed Fulham to nine points. Surely that gap would be enough to keep them in the Premier League considering the form of the three sides at the bottom.
Maybe one advantage of appointing Adams at such a late and critical time of the season is the players have to take on his ideas from the start and if he is successful in keeping Norwich up, the crowd may take to him instantly as Norwich manager.