After winning the Championship for the second time in three years, the Canaries are back in the Premier League. Norwich, lost their talisman, Championship Player of the Year Emi Buendia who helped them in winning the Championship with 97 points. Their efforts also surpassed the club’s previous best of 95 points set in League One in 2010. All of this is encouraging, as Norwich really maintained the second-highest goal total in championship last season.
Norwich have been far better this season than they were when they won the league two years ago. The 2020/21 version of the team felt more complete as a whole, thanks almost solely to considerably improved defensive play than in 2018/19. They not only scored 18 less goals this season, but they also conceded 21 fewer goals over 46 games, a drop of nearly half a goal per game from the previous campaign makes them a strong contender in the Premier League survival race.
The improvement at the back can be attributed to a number of factors, the majority of which are more refined individual performances in executing the gameplan, as the underlying numbers remained similar: Norwich conceded 53 (non-penalty) goals from 47.2 expected goals in 2018/19, and 33 from 45.7 expected goals in 2020/21.
Norwich has attempted to recruit players to make the loans of Ben Gibson and Dimitrios Giannoulis permanent. They also signed permanent transfers Milot Rashica, Pierre Lees Melou, and Angus Gunn, with Billy Gilmour on loan. Norwich’s investment concerns are already evident, not just in the quality of players signed, but also in the fact that the club’s net spend this offseason is only -1.38 million dollars.
Buendia’s departure leaves Norwich with a gaping vacancy on the wing. Everything the squad achieved was funnelled through him, as seen by his 15 goals and 15 assists. Buendia has always been Norwich’s main playmaker, but this season he shot more than ever and scored goals to go along with it.
Norwich’s starting lineup is fixed, with the only issue being who will partner Gilmour in midfield. The question is, how much money does the team have left to spend on transfers? They require a genuine midfield general, but such players are difficult to get by on a budget. It would be possible to use their second Premier League loan spot for Alexis Mac Allistor but it seems like Kieran Dowell will get playing time this season.
Teemu Pukki, 6.0m forward, is the Canaries’ only FPL target. Pukki will be a strong asset in FPL if he can match his 11 goal, three assist performance without Buendia. Billy Gilmour has gained traction as a 4.5m midfield enabler, but only if you expect to use him three or four times this season. So far, Max Aarons has made it into 3.2 percent of teams but his attacking stats doesn’t make him a good pick for FPL.
We like Rashica’s price at 5.5m because he takes set plays, but we’ll have to keep an eye on what he does because it’s a congested price bracket that includes Stuart Dallas, Emile Smith Rowe, and Bryan Mbeumo. Todd Cantwell joins the fray in draught leagues, but that’s about it for the Canaries, who don’t have much to look forward to right now.
Unfortunately, the simplest fantasy advise we can give this year is to captain anyone playing against Norwich, but ideally, like Fulham last season, Norwich can put things together and surprise us all.