By Edward Seaman
Chris Hughton’s future as Norwich manager is hanging in the balance after the Norfolk club were mauled 7-0 away at Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.
If anything, the scoreline flattered the Canaries, who had John Ruddy, despite a few errors himself, to thank for keeping the score down to seven.
The result and the performance has left Canary fans seething and manager Chris Hughton, who was already under pressure, with a lot of work to do to salvage his job.
Going into the game on Saturday, Norwich were already in the bottom three having picked up just eight points from their first 9 games, losing five along the way.
The problem, however, stretches back further than this.
If you look at the calender year 2013, Chris Hughton’s side have only won 6 games, almost certainly relegation form. On the 15th December 2012, Norwich beat Wigan 2-1 at Carrow Road, since that win just 27 points has been accumulated from 31 games. In a results business, that speaks for itself.
What is most strange is that Norwich not only spent big this summer, they spent well. Over £20 million was spent to bring in the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper, Leroy Fer, Johan Elmander and Martin Olsson amongst others. These are all players with experience in Europe or international level.
Couple that with the exciting young talent of Nathan Redmond and Norwich fans were cautiously optimistic going into the new season.
There is no difficulties spotting the two main problems. Too many goals conceded and not enough being scored.
Following the opening day 2-2 draw at home to Everton, Norwich have only found the net four times in nine games, whilst at the same time conceding 18.
The front three of van Wolfswinkel, Hooper and Elmander have only mustered 6 shots on target between them and only one goal, way back on the opening day when the Dutch international van Wolfswinkel headed Norwich level against Everton.
At the back, Norwich improved under Hughton in his first season at the club but this season, have been poor. The reliable duo of Sebastien Bassong and Michael Turner have come under a bit of pressure and the Canaries continue to crumble far too easily at the back.
Without John Ruddy in goal, Norwich could have easily conceded more in a number of games this season.
So will Hughton have time to turn it around?
At the moment, who knows?
When the dust settles from the embarrassing defeat at Manchester City, chief executive David McNally has a big decision to make. Hughton is starting to lose the backing of the fans and on the evidence of the capitulation at the Etihad, maybe the players too.
Up next is West Ham at Carrow Road and if the former Birmingham and Newcastle man is still in a job, then that must be described as a must win game.
It is even hard to say whether a win in that game will even be enough to win back sections of the crowd with many fans disillusion by what they have seen over the previous months.
Whatever happens, it is bound to be an interesting week in Norfolk with the Premier League’s third managerial change looking close in the offing.