Destined for the drop? History against Norwich in relegation fight

·3-min read

Norwich’s dreadful start to the Premier League season means they will need to break new ground if they are to avoid relegation.

Sunday’s defeat to Leeds was their eighth in 10 games and left Daniel Farke’s side bottom of the league on two points.

In the 29 completed seasons in the Premier League era, no team has ever survived with fewer than three points from their first 10 games – meaning the signs already look ominous at Carrow Road.

Writing on the wall?

How Norwich's record compares to the worst teams in Premier League history
Norwich have dipped below the lowest points total at this stage for a surviving team (PA graphic)

Norwich’s last brief visit to the top flight two seasons ago saw a more competitive start with wins over Newcastle and, shockingly, Manchester City – reigning champions then as now – as striker Teemu Pukki took smoothly to top-flight football.

They briefly fell to last place after losing their 12th game to previous incumbents Watford, but it was not until Boxing Day that they fell to rock bottom and stayed there – eventually finishing with 21 points, 14 adrift of survival and 13 behind the 19th-placed Hornets.

This time around there has been no early promise – just three goals scored in 10 games means clean sheets have been essential, with two in succession against Burnley and Brighton bringing their only points to date and that sequence abruptly ended by a 7-0 hammering at Chelsea.

Then-Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder reacts after a game last season
Norwich’s woes echo those of Sheffield United last season (Dave Thompson/PA)

The only previous teams on two points at this stage – Manchester City in 1995-96 and Sunderland in 2016-17 – both went on to be relegated, as were Sheffield United last season after taking only one point from their opening 10 games.

The Canaries have Brentford, Southampton, Wolves and Newcastle to come in their next four games, but will need to take advantage with a significant improvement in their form – through 14 games, the lowest total for a surviving team is eight points.

Three teams have survived with three points after 10 games – Everton in 1994-95, a 42-game season, Crystal Palace in 2013-14 and Newcastle in 2018-19, in one of a pair of more encouraging omens for this season’s other early strugglers.

Hope for Newcastle

A rainbow over St James' Park
History offers hope to Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The extent of Newcastle’s dismal start on the field has been masked slightly by Norwich’s woes as well as their own off-field turmoil and the promise of a January spending spree, but the Magpies have only four points themselves.

Even Derby, in their record-breaking 11-point relegation season of 2007-08, had five points after 10 games and only 18 Premier League teams before this season have had four or fewer – but eight of those have survived, most recently that Magpies side of three years ago under Rafael Benitez.

Southampton in 1993-94, Blackburn in 1996-97, Southampton in 2012-13, Sunderland the following year and Palace in 2017-18 all survived after taking only four points from 10 games, with the latter losing all of their first seven and sacking manager Frank De Boer along the way.

With Newcastle also having made a change in the dugout as well as the boardroom, Steve Bruce’s successor will have the chance to reshape his struggling squad come January. Before that, he will come into the club knowing that history shows all is not lost.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting