Chris Hughton sacked – madness or masterstroke by Norwich?

Chris Hughton

After losing 1-0 to West Brom at home at the weekend, Norwich have confirmed that Chris Hughton has been relieved of his duties.

The Canaries face a real scrap to stay in the English top-flight, with five games for new man in charge Neil Adams to keep the club in the Premier League.

Former Newcastle boss Hughton has been on the precipice for some time, with the 55-year-old subject of plenty of rumblings in the media over his future throughout the season.

There is no doubt that the 2013-14 campaign has not gone how Norwich would have hoped for after a relatively ambitious foray into the summer transfer market.

However, with five cup-finals left to save their top-flight status, is sacking Hughton now the club’s potential lifeline or the final nail in the coffin?

Saturday’s defeat at Carrow Road to West Brom was certainly a disappointment, especially given the fact that victory would have taken the club well away from the bottom three and condemned their opponents to a frightening finish.

Despite the frustrating loss, Norwich are by no means dead and buried and are still the envy of teams below them. With five games left to play, they are five points clear of relegation.

Fulham and Cardiff are looking exceedingly doomed to be demoted, while Sunderland are paying the price for a cup run and need a minor miracle to get out of the quagmire.

Chris HughtonThe Stadium of Light outfit are bottom of the pile after a 5-1 hammering at Tottenham last night, but have two games in hand over the others. Even two victories, which seems unlikely given the Wearside club’s current form, would not see Norwich drop into the danger zone.

In my opinion it is a strange time for the Carrow Road outfit to part company with Hughton, who has had a tough job to emulate past overachievements by Norwich in the Premier League.

Having stayed true to the former Tottenham assistant for 33 games, surely giving him the remaining five made sense?

The main thing that has seemingly frustrated the Carrow Road club’s powers that be and the side’s fans has been a lack of goals.

New manager Adams has been described as ‘progressive’, which is more of an insult to Hughton than praise for his replacement.

After the summer additions of Gary Hooper and Dutch internationals Leroy Fer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Norwich were expected to be more of a force going forward.

However, a return of 26 goals in 33 games has not lived up to expectations, with only Crystal Palace scoring less this season.

There is little time for new man Adams to operate, with Hughton’s replacement expected to deliver immediately.

It is looking likely that the usual 40-point margin would be more than enough to save the division’s bottom dwellers and with the Canaries on 32 points, two victories should be enough to keep them in the Premier League.

However, just where those wins are going to come from remains to be seen. A simply massive fixture against Fulham at Craven Cottage this weekend must not be lost, and may well need to be won.

Following their match-up against the Cottagers, Norwich have the toughest run-in of any Premier League side, facing Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last four games.

For Adams, this is the ultimate baptism of fire.

Selecting a ‘more progressive’ manager at this time of the season could well pay dividends if a reinvigorated Canaries can pull off a shock or two.

However, if Norwich’s new boss decides to be too forward thinking, the fans may wish they had the more conservative style of Hughton still in charge to save their blushes – and their place in the Premier League.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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