Norwich City are on course for the lowest Premier League points total of all time after a 7-0 home surrender to Chelsea.
Without a win after nine games, with two points on the board, it’s not just a likely relegation that adds to the feeling of déjà vu in East Anglia. Norwich has been here before and will be again the next time they are promoted.
This is no reflection on Daniel Farke, who has orchestrated two excellent League campaigns and yet, in his current form, will be overseeing a team scoring between eight and nine points.
But everything else is the same. The first time, Teemu Pukki caused a sensation. Soon the goals dried up, although he finished with 11 in the 2019-20 season; certainly not bad numbers for the leader of a team which had no hope of remaining on its feet.
Those who once seemed destined for the top like Ben Gibson, whose form plunged after leaving Middlesbrough in 2018, can’t expect that to change. Sent off for a second yellow after fouling Reece James, England’s lone prospect instead recalled the defender who had only secured one senior start in the league at Burnley.
Max Aarons, one of Norwich’s most promising prospects, has joined host England’s Chelsea scorers including Callum Hudson-Odoi, James and Mason Mount; even the rift between club academies has become a depressing subplot with each ritual humiliation.
Defeats like Norwich’s serve no one, let alone BT Sport, who will soon retire from England’s top-flight cover and few of their leaders will question why. Broadcasting the Premier League is disproportionately expensive and it’s not always fun.
That’s why, as mocked as Newcastle fans were for their celebrations of the Saudi-backed takeover, it’s understandable to some extent. There is increasingly no other way to break the mold. Even Leicester, arguably the best-run club outside of the traditional ‘big six’, struggled to maintain its grip on the wrecking ball which hit the elite with successive blows, but never quite succeeded. cracked the facade.
Norwich can still avoid the ignominy of having the worst Premier League season yet. In 2005-06, Sunderland took just five points in their first 15 appearances – the Black Cats finished with 15 overall.
Derby, whose 2007-08 campaign (11 points) recorded the lowest total since league reform in 1992, saw the Rams win six of the first 15 games, the same record as Sheffield Wednesday in 1999-99, Swindon Town in 1993-94 – before the league was reduced to 38 appearances – and Aston Villa in 2015-16.
Sheffield United did even worse, losing 12 of their first 13 games in 2019-20 and drawing only one (with Fulham) in December. QPR in 2012-13 did not win until the 17th week of play.
So the upheavals become rarer and more meaningless. The Premier League’s greatest strength once lay in its depth, its ‘anyone can beat anyone’ back and forth. When the armors are pinched, when Chelsea were knocked out by West Bromwich Albion 5-2 at home in April, what does it all mean when it would never have saved their conquerors from relegation?
There was no appetite for a Super League. He was uncompetitive and he ultimately banished the last semblance of a draw for 14 from the current Premier League crop.
Norwich, meanwhile, was relegated on the first try after his last three promotions, finishing 18th, 19th and 20th. Barring a miracle, history will repeat itself and they will once again be defeated in the Promised Land. It is nothing to aspire to and by small fault on their part, it becomes tedious to see it happen over and over again.