Norwich City Are Top of the League – So Why Aren’t They Favourites for the Title?


Norwich City have been sitting pretty at the top of the league since Week 12 when they jumped from the play-off places to the top of the tree. Week 29 is looming large, which means the East Anglian outfit is now used to being the leader of one of the most profitable divisions in world football.

On the surface, everything looks rosy. However, delve under the surface and a different picture emerges. Currently, it’s Brentford that are the bookies’ favourites to take the title and gain the first automatic promotion spot at 10/11.

The Bees are second in the league and have never been in first position all year, so why does it seem as if the Canaries will play second fiddle at the end of the season?

The Chances Are Drying Up  

At the beginning of the season, Norwich couldn’t stop scoring, and clinical striker Teemu Pukki quickly shot to the top of the goal-scoring charts. However, the omens don’t appear to be too kind to Norwich at the moment, especially considering Pukki only has 11 goals all season. In comparison, Brentford’s main man, Ivan Toney, has 22.

There is also a lack of assists because Emiliano Buendía is the only Norwich player in the Championship’s top 18 goal creators. Reading and Brentford, two of Norwich’s biggest challengers for EFL silverware, both have three. As a result, the odds on who will win the EFL Championship in 2021 have moved in the Bee’s favour, with Norwich ranked at 2/1 to win the division outright. Brentford’s odds are 10/11, even Swansea are thought to have a good opportunity at 9/2.

If Norwich’s attack doesn’t click soon, those figures might change again, leaving them stranded in the play-off positions.

They Aren’t Competing with the Big Teams  

A successful season doesn’t revolve around a handful of fixtures. Still, taking points from a close rival is essential as it provides more breathing space. Concerning Norwich, the side hasn’t performed well against the top six since the start of the Championship season on 12th September.

For example, they got beat away from home against Bournemouth, who are now sixth. They drew with Brentford, the side that could take their mantle at the top of the league. And Watford beat them on Boxing Day.

When you combine these results with poor performances in recent games against Middlesbrough and Millwall, you can see why there isn’t much confidence among the bookmakers.

A Game in Hand  

Even worse is the fact that both Swansea and Brentford have a game-in-hand. Norwich have played 28 games, leaving them on 55 points. The Swans and the Bees are on 53 and 54 points after 27 games respectively.

With the form both are in – Swansea recently beat Norwich 2-0 at home – it’s no coincidence that the odds for a top-two finish have plummeted. As of February 10th, the current leaders are only 4/7 to secure automatic promotion. Steve Cooper’s men, on the other hand, keep shortening, and you can now get 6/4 for Swansea City to avoid the hell that is the play-offs.

It seems that a perfect storm of a lack of goals and creativity, Norwich’s poor run against good sides, and the fact that their two main rivals have a game-in-hand means the fate of the title is nowhere near certain.