Meet the opposition | Norwich City

9th December 2022
First team
Max Aarons

As Swansea City prepare to welcome Norwich City to the Stadium, we take a closer look at the Canaries.

What's their story?

Norwich are back in the Championship this season following another solitary campaign in the Premier League.

With six separate stints in the Premier League since its inception in the 1992-93 season, the club achieved its highest-ever position in the same year with a third-place finish.

Falling to the third tier in 2009 for the first time in nearly 50 years, the Canaries clinched successive promotions under Paul Lambert, narrowly edging the Swans in the hunt for automatic promotion in 2010-11.

Relegation in 2015 was followed by the club bouncing straight back up at the first time of asking thanks to play-off success under manager Alex Neil, but they dropped back into the second tier for a record-equalling fourth time in 2016, before continuing to rise and fall over the last four seasons.

Their most notable honours are two League Cup victories in 1962 and 1985, whilst they became the first English club to beat Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium during their 1993-94 UEFA Cup campaign, with Wales international Jeremy Goss among the goalscorers in that famous success.

How's their form?

Josh Sargent

Mixed. Norwich started the season heavily-fancied to secure promotion, but they have won just two of their last 10 Championship fixtures.

That has seen them drop to fifth in the standings, but they remain well-placed to be among the contenders to go up.

Those two wins in their last 10 have come away from home.

Who's the gaffer?

Dean Smith

Dean Smith is in his first full season in charge of Norwich, having been unable to keep the Canaries in the top-flight after succeeding Daniel Farke last term.

Smith joined having left Aston Villa early in the 2021-22 campaign, ending a three-year stint in charge where he had revived the fortunes of the Midlands club.

He led them to play-off success in 2019 and helped them re-establish themselves in the top tier.

Previously his stints in charge of Walsall and Brentford had seen him marked out as a man renowned for playing attractive football and producing competitive sides on a limited budget.

During his playing career the former defender he made over 550 league appearances for the likes of Walsall, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale.

He moved into coaching after hanging up his boots and was named Walsall boss in 2011, enjoying just shy of five successful years in the role, which included a remarkable escape from League One relegation when the Saddlers had been nine points from safety.

He switched to Brentford in 2016 and had the Bees in the play-off hunt in his two full seasons at the helm.

Who's the captain?

Grant Hanley

Grant Hanley. The Scotland international has had his injury problems since joining Norwich in 2017, but he remains an experienced and influential figure within the camp.

The 31-year-old got his break with Blackburn in 2010, having spent time in the youth ranks of Queen of the South, Crewe, Rangers and Rovers.

He spent eight years in total at Ewood Park before a solitary season with Newcastle.

He is now in his sixth season with Norwich and has racked up over 150 league appearances for the club.

He has 46 Scotland caps under his belt.

Who are the key men?

Teemu Pukki

The Canaries are waiting on the fitness of forward Josh Sargent after he was forced off in the USA’s World Cup victory over Iran.

The 22-year-old has been in excellent form for Dean Smith’s side and leads their goalscoring charts with nine goals, whilst also contributing two assists.

Sargent started his development career in his homeland, before joining German club Werder Bremen.

He has dovetailed well with Teemu Pukki. The Finland striker has been a mainstay at Carrow Road since arriving from Brondby in the summer of 2018.

The 32-year-old has scored 84 goals in 188 appearances and he has been as effective as ever this season with six goals and five assists to his name.

Despite his relatively tender years, exciting full-back Max Aarons has already passed 175 league appearances for Norwich since coming through the academy ranks at Carrow Road.

Initially on the books at Luton, Aarons made the switch to East Anglia aged 16 and has not looked back.

He made his debut at the start of the 2018-19 season and was a stand-out performer as the Canaries secured promotion to the Premier League.

Aarons was named EFL Young Player of the Year for that campaign, an award he would win again in 2021, and his name was mentioned in despatches when it came to young players in contention for England call-ups.

He has been a regular for Norwich over the last four-and-a-half years and his energy and ability to provide support and composure in the final third is a real asset for the Canaries.