The day that every Norwich City fan had been waiting for ever since promotion back to the Premier League has arrived; the fixture list was announced today and the Canaries will begin the 2015/16 campaign at home to Crystal Palace. It will be a fairly relieving welcome back to the big time for City, who will be aiming to win their first game of the season for the first time since hammering Grimsby 4-0 all the way back in 2002. Last time in the Premier League, under Chris Hughton, Norwich drew 2-2 at home to Everton and club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored his first and only goal to date for the club.
Other notable fixtures to catch the eye will of course be the “big four” making the trek to Carrow Road – current champions Chelsea come to Norfolk on Saturday 28th November, whereas last year’s runners up Manchester City will arrive for Saturday 7th November. Arsenal are the 7th May 2016, and Manchester United complete the top four with a visit on Boxing Day.
A Luis Suarez-less Liverpool will first face Norwich on 26th September, with the Uruguayan making the move to Barcelone and setting La Liga on fire, winning the Champions League. It’s fair to say that City fans won’t exactly miss El Pistolero, with the controversial yet breathtaking hotshot averaging two goals a game against the Canaries, with the majority of his strikes being absolutely stunning.
Two ties that could decide Norwich’s fate next season will be when this year’s other promoted sides visit Carrow Road – two games in which the hosts must look to take maximum points from if they wish to harbour realistic hopes of survival. Bournemouth visit on 19th September, whilst Watford will look to have revenge for the 6-0 aggregate drubbings that Norwich dealt them last year on 12th December.
Of course, the most important games of the season – as proved during that dreadful Hughton-Adams campaign – are the last five, and this year’s would have been impossible to have been worse than that year’s. Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal run in; instead, it is Sunderland, Watford, Arsenal, United and Everton who Norwich will look to. Hopefully, come those last few games of the season, survival will be guaranteed, yet the Premier League has its reputation of being one of the toughest leagues in the world for precisely that reason.
Here’s to the opening day!
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