Norwich City won the Championship at a canter. The Canaries finished the season on 94 points, just one shy of their best-ever tally of 95 set in League One in 2009/10. They were deservedly promoted to the Premier League.
The Yellows’ 2-1 final day win at Aston Villa confirmed a 4th second-tier title. Norwich’s third promotion in the last nine seasons was sealed by a run of 14 games unbeaten, their best run since January 2010. They lost just six games all season, a club record in a 46-match campaign.
Norwich proved that the answer is not always close to home when Daniel Farke joined last term. Eyebrows were raised after he mustered only a 14th place finish. They stuck with their man, however, and have been the standout performers in the second tier this season by a country mile.
Farke’s first full season in chargofsaw them settle into a 4-2-3-1 formation. His faith in youth yielded dividends. With the exuberance of a series of fledgling academy graduates and the elegant Emil Buendía, his dynamic squad thrived without the burden of expectation compared with rivals.
Farke encourages his defenders to go into advanced areas and asks his attackers to spread out. In this way, Norwich created time and space for themselves on the ball. Playing out from the back with intelligence, the Canaries controlled matches and forced opponents to do a lot of chasing
Every player performed their role to maximum effect from defence to attack. With pace out wide, strength in the centre and a forward who can not just put the ball in the back of the net, but also hold the ball up and bring his teammates into play.
Teemu Pukki led the way in the final third with 38 goals in 42 league matches (29 oals and nine assists). His work-rate stood out, averaging a goal every 133 minutes across so many games takes some doing. he
In defence, there’s a great blend of youth and experience. Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons are two youngsters showing remarkable progress. They have Ivo Pinto, Timm Klose, Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmerman as a mentor.
Tim Krul is an experienced safe pair of hands but the Yellows may need an experienced centre-back to sit in front of him to marshal the defence.
Farke flaunts German influence in the way they play. Mario Vrancic, Moritz Leitner, Marco Stiepermann and Tom Trybull were top Bundesliga campaigners.
Norwich may not have the financial strength of Wolves. But the Championship winners could follow their predecessor’s path in the Premier League if the spine of their squad remains at Carrow Road.
Written by Toby Prince
Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby