Are Norwich contenders for relegation this season?

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Many pundits, including Robbie Savage, believe that Norwich are in the race for safety this season, but with good signings adding to their already strong squad, I find this a bit puzzling.

Robert Snodgrass was one of the stand-out players last season for many people, alongside him in midfield was Wes Hoolahan, Jonathon Howson and Anthony Pilkington. 

At the beginning of last season, looking at that midfield, not many people would have given those players a chance in the Premier League, but they were one of the strongest midfields in the Premier League. 

Playing behind the midfield, Russell Martin was also enjoying life in the Premier League, Javier Garrido also had a great season as did Sebastian Bassong. 

Grant Holt seemed to be the only striker in the Norwich side, and only scored eight goals. Then there is the rock between the sticks, John Ruddy. Ruddy enjoyed an excellent season.

From this, we can say, categorically, that the strike force needs strengthened, which Chris Hughton has done in two outstanding strikers in Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. 

Van Wolfswinkel is very consistent in front of goal, scoring around 15 goals a season for Sporting Lisbon whereas Gary Hooper has excelled for Celtic scoring well over 60 goals in the past three seasons. 

Many have been sceptical about these two signings and whether they will be able to carry their amazing form in to what is known as the most difficult league in the world. 

I am of the belief that they definitely can. Hooper has proved himself in the Champions League against some of the biggest clubs in the world, and Van Wolfswinkel has also proved himself in Europe. 

If this pairing play regularly and form a bond and connection straight away, I can see Norwich banging in the goals this coming season.

If the midfield remain in the same form as we witnessed last season, there will be no problems in this area. 

Some of the performances from the midfield were a joy to behold last season, especially from Snodgrass. None the less, Hughton has strengthened this area. The pacey, young prodigy Nathan Redmond being signed from Birmingham and Leroy Fer being snatched from FC Twente after enjoying a terrific season in the Netherlands last season. 

In a few years, Redmond will be an outstanding Premier League winger, but at the moment I feel that he doesn’t have what it takes, whereas Leroy Fer definitely has the ability to slot into the first team straight away. 

I am still of the belief that Snodgrass is pivotal to this midfield and should be included whenever possible in the starting eleven week in, week out.

Defence was something of a hit or miss last season. Russell Martin being the stand-out player in the back four last season. 

This is the area that is most in need of strengthening. Bassong had a good season as did Michael Turner and Javier Garrido, but there seemed to be something missing. They have added pace with Martin Olsson, something which I think was missing last season, but they are in desperate need for a centre back. 

Too many mistakes were made by one or the other centre back and that is something that needs to stop with a completely new centre back.

If Norwich further strengthen their defence, I could not see in any way shape or form, how they could go down. 

They have made some great signings that have only strengthened from an unbelievable team performance last season. If the defence is strengthened, there is no way Norwich will go down. Norwich to beat the drop, undoubtedly. 

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Gary Hooper
Premier League
Norwich City

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