Opinion: So what’s it going to be then? Survival, or the drop?
08:53 15 April 2014
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A few weeks ago, Norwich City were going down. I know, I said so. Inferior goal difference would seal their fate. Then they changed manager, and a certain optimism crept in – and, despite the desperate result at Fulham on Saturday, it remains.
Let’s cut to the chase: I have changed my mind. I have forecast survival by a point. (Insert laughter here).
However, it is not of their own making, rather Fulham’s undoing. City have the worst run-in imaginable – Liverpool are as in-form as you can possibly imagine, for Manchester United it is about pride, Chelsea want the title and Arsenal, on the final day, may need the points for a top four spot. I say ‘may’, but if they don’t, there is a better chance of City nicking something – they’ve done it before; surely on the final day when a Premier League place is on the line, there is half a chance of them doing it again.
Changing managers has affected the thinking, because I do believe Neil Adams is capable of more than Chris Hughton would have been. Sadly, the question is perhaps out of his hands, and in the grasp of Felix Magath and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
Magath’s Fulham have two wins on the bounce behind them, and that constitutes a huge winning streak when you are down at the bottom end. The fact is, when you are rubbish, very few games yield points.
So, as well as predicting (I use the term loosely) what City will do, Fulham’s and Cardiff’s run-ins need to be scrutinised.
Fulham’s next game is at Tottenham, a team who appear to treat consistency with utter disdain. But would you put your money on Fulham winning? Let’s say they lose: how does that affect confidence? They then entertain Hull - their place in the FA Cup final has queered the pitch a little, but they are a good side and Steve Bruce’s players will be wanting to play themselves into his Wembley team. Can’t see them letting up, but let’s give Fuilham a point. Stoke away – Stoke should be too good; then Palace at home. Will Palace be on the beach? Not under Tony Pulis, but that’s where I give Fulham another point.
Cardiff have a terrific win at Southampton at the weekend, but I can see only a coupe of draws – Stoke at home and Sunderland away. Newcastle away and Chelsea at home could be blanks.
Sunderland are dire. End of.
So that leaves Norwich on 33 points and surviving by one. It’s a ridiculously low points tally, but it would appear to be three from four, with sqeaky bum time for the others.
It is so close at the bottom it is hard to call, but I am therefore pinning my hopes on a home draw against Arsenal on the final day of the season. hardly a safe thing to do ... and if City do manage to lose all four games, it could well be goal difference that does for them.
Which is what I predicted in the first place ...
Norwich have announced details of half-price ticket deals for the final Premier League away games at Manchester United on Saturday, April 26 (5:30pm) and Chelsea on Sunday, May 4 (4pm). Tickets for both games are now on general sale and available on a one supporter-per-person basis. Contact the club’s ticket outlets for further information.