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Relegation watching: How do Norwich City stay up?

Norwich City are better off than Fulham and Cardiff in terms of points, but do the Canaries have any chance whatsoever of staying up?

Jamie McDonald

Earlier today we looked at Fulham's remaining scenarios in their last two matches of the season. This followed on yesterday's look at Cardiff City. Now we turn to Aston Villa's favorite six points: Norwich City.

Points-wise, the Canaries are not as poorly off as Cardiff and Fulham, but their run-in is an absolute nightmare. We're about to go through all of the scenarios, but it's hard to see them getting anything given their current form and their remaining schedule.

Norwich City

Points: 32

Goal Differential: -32

Matches Remaining: at Chelsea, Arsenal

The scheduling gods did Norwich City no favors. They've had to close things out this year with a match against Liverpool, a trip to Old Trafford, one to Stamford Bridge, and finally a visit from Arsenal. If it weren't for the fact that they were so lousy, you'd almost feel sorry for them. Here are the potential scenarios they have left.

They gain zero points (two losses): Norwich will be relegated.

They gain one point (one loss, one draw): They could ostensibly be safe, but it would take a lot of things to happen. Sunderland would have to lose out. Fulham could get no more than two points, and Cardiff could do no better than a win. And on that last bit, depending on how badly Norwich lost (and Cardiff won) there could even be a problem there with goal differential. In all likelihood, one points still means relegation.

They gain two points (two draws): 34 points could actually see the Canaries safe. Fulham wouldn't be able to catch them without a win and a draw (thanks to differential, Fulham pretty much must get a point better than Norwich to beat them), Cardiff would need a win and a draw, and for that win to be by six goals (so realistically, Cardiff would need two wins), and Sunderland would need two draws. That's the problem there, because for Sunderland to get two more points seems pretty easy. The rest of that scenario is actually fairly plausible.

You know, except for the part where Norwich take two points.

They gain three points (one win, one loss): How in the world are Norwich getting a win? Do Arsenal bookend their season by losing to two of the worst teams in the Premiership on the first and last day? But okay, let's dream. With a win, Norwich would catch Villa if the Lions did nothing. But they will still fall there based on goal differential. That means that if Sunderland could cobble together three or more points, Cardiff would still drop no matter what. Remember, too, that Fulham could still catch them at this point with two wins (again, tying on points does Fulham no good with anyone), as could Cardiff.

They gain four points (one win, one draw): Okay, this is just absurd. They are not getting a draw and a win from a visit to Chelsea and a final day against Arsenal. If they did, they could actually almost assuredly finish higher than Cardiff, no matter what happened. (It's hard to imagine Cardiff making up a 6-goal differential difference with both teams winning all four of their final matches). Fulham could best them with two wins, Villa could do it with simply a draw, and Sunderland would need just a win and a draw from their final three. Even at 36, Norwich are still very much in danger. But they're not getting 36.

They gain six points (two wins): It won't matter. The world will have ended. Norwich are not winning out.

What is likely to happen: Again, Norwich are not terribly positioned in terms of points, but it is legitimately difficult to imagine them getting anything from their remaining matches. It would be shocking if they got a single point, to be honest. So it's not happening. Norwich are on their way to relegation.

If they cannot get a win this weekend, there is no way that Norwich can catch Villa. Notice the pattern here. If Norwich, Fulham, and Cardiff lose this weekend, Villa are guaranteed to be safe regardless of what they do. Let's all become giant Chelsea, Stoke, and Newcastle fans!