Norwich City Clinches Promotion, Returns to Premier League

Norwich City is headed back to the Premier League.
Publish date:

Norwich City is headed back to the Premier League.

The Canaries clinched promotion to England's top flight afterbeatingBlackburn 2-1 on Saturday, securing at least a top-two finish in England's League Championship. Norwich was relegated to the second tier after the 2015-16 season and wound up outside of the promotion and playoff places in the following two seasons, with 14th and eighth-placed finishes.

That all changed in the 2018-19 season. The club clinched its promotion by going unbeaten in its last 13 games, though it could have done it sooner had it not drawn its previous four matches before Saturday's decisive result.

Norwich's charge was led by Finnish forward Teemu Pukki, whose 28 goals–none of which have come from the penalty spot–are the most in the league. The club's only other double-digit scorer was Marco Stiepermann, who scored the first goal in Saturday's match. But the lack of added scoring punch mattered little in a season in which Norwich lost just six of 45 matches and has a season finale at promotion-hopeful Aston Villa next Sunday.

Dutch veteran goalkeeper Tim Krul led the effort in the back, with Swiss center back Timm Klose and German center back Christoph Zimmerman roaming in front of him to fortify the spine of manager Daniel Farke's club.

With Norwich taking one of the promotion places, the other automatic berth appears to be going to Sheffield United, which leads third-place Leeds by sixpoints, though Marcelo Bielsa's side has yet to play its penultimate match.

Whichever one of Sheffield and Leeds does not finish in second will head to the four-team playoff, joined by West Brom and Aston Villa. The final playoff place remains up for grabs, with multiple teams still mathematically alive heading into the final week of the season.

Norwich will surely hope its return to the Premier League lasts longer than its previous stint. After winning the promotion playoff final after the 2014-15 season, Norwich was sent right back down the following year.