Norwich Aren't the Worst Premier League Team Ever...Even if They Were Very Bad

Todd Cantwell, Jamal Lewis
Norwich became the 1st team to be relegated this season | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Norwich City's relegation back to the Championship was confirmed on Saturday when they were emphatically thumped 4-0 by West Ham.

It finally brought some closure for the Canaries to end an abysmal campaign. They dropped into the relegation zone in October and were bottom by late December, and never found a way back.

There have been some awful moments for Daniel Farke's side. A 5-1 loss to Aston Villa, a 4-0 loss to Manchester United and Saturday's defeat to the Hammers all stick out, but the compilation of disasterclass moments of their season would probably last an eternity.

Todd Cantwell, Ezri Konsa Ngoyo
A 5-1 loss to Aston Villa set the tone early on | David Rogers/Getty Images

Norwich fans will not argue with the fact that their defending has looked completely clueless at times. 'Men against boys' is a phrase often invoked in conversations about their games, as the Canaries have just looked so out of their depth throughout the entire campaign. They're on track for one of the all-time worst points totals.

Does that make them the worst team in Premier League history? Not a chance.

It has often been quite painful to watch Norwich play this season. Their poor showings create an anxiety of its own, but what makes it all worse is just how little Farke's side actually deserve to be where they are.

They have played some stunning football at times this year. Their youthful exuberance has created fast, exciting attacks time and time again. It's similar to Liverpool's all-go style and Manchester United's high-tempo excitement.

Daniel Farke, Max Aarons
Daniel Farke's side have played an entertaining brand of football | Pool/Getty Images

Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis bombing on from full-back has been a delight to watch. The creativity of Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendía has been enthralling at times. Watching Ben Godfrey try to live up to his high potential at the back has been fascinating.

Their 4-1 loss to Liverpool on opening weekend was one of the best matches of the season and flattered Jürgen Klopp's eventual champions, and their 3-2 win over Manchester City will not soon be forgotten. They literally beat the defending champions.

Unfortunately, what that youthful exuberance has also brought is an inexperience which has been sadistically exploited all year. Even the older heads haven't brought the know-how to make it in this league.

Let's take a look at who Norwich turned to for their 'experience':

Tim Krul (32): An impressive 157 PL games before this season
Alexander Tettey (34): 71 PL games before this season
Grant Hanley (28): 31 PL games between 2009-2012
Timm Klose (32): Three years sat on Wolfsburg's bench
Mario Vrančić (31): Three years of Bundesliga relegation battles
Teemu Pukki (30): Away from a top-five league since an underwhelming Bundesliga run between 2011-2013
Marco Stiepermann (29): Seven games with Borussia Dortmund between 2009-2011.

Simply put, that's not good enough. No newly-promoted side could get by with that level of so-called experience.

Naïve Norwich have lacked the anticipation, vision and discipline required to make it in the top flight, and opposing teams figured that out quickly. If you could stifle their attempts at flying forward, you'd be able to create chance after chance after chance after chance.

Teemu Pukki
Teemu Pukki stunned Manchester City | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Containing Teemu Pukki presented a real challenge early on, but the Finnish international's goals dried up around the time Norwich dropped to the foot of the table, and without a reliable target in attack, the Canaries became a side who were only really there to be thumped. Unsurprisingly, that's how it all panned out.

They've been a confusing mix of outstanding and utterly dire, but the fact that they had some positives should save them from the unwanted label of 'worst ever'.

Tyrone Mears, Morten Gamst Pederson
Derby managed just 1 win in the 2007/08 season | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The teams who are in that category - 2018/19 Huddersfield, 2016/17 Sunderland and 2007/08 Derby - all looked out of their depth for the entire season and rarely brought any positivity. They never had any hope of making it.

Truthfully, Norwich didn't really have any hope either, but at least they were fun to watch and proved that they can actually play football. There's plenty of talent at Carrow Road, but the Canaries just weren't ready.

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