Norwich City find themselves in a position of luxury heading into the Championship run-in, with promotion practically in the bag and a wandering eye already starting to fix on preparing for life as a Premier League club.
It would take an almighty blip for Norwich to let promotion slip through their fingers from here. They have 83 points on the board and a 14-point gap to third placed, Swansea City.
Promotion should be a formality for Daniel Farke’s side from here, along with a second Championship title in the space of three seasons.
Not even a season-ending injury to Ben Gibson will knock them out of their stride, despite the on loan Burnley defender’s impressive showings this season for the Canaries.
As our graphic above shows, Gibson has featured in 27 of Norwich’s 38 fixtures this season in the Championship. He will not be able to add to that tally due to the aforementioned injury, with ankle ligament damage ending his season in March.
Nevertheless, he can take pride in what he’s contributed this season.
97 clearances and 115 interceptions across the season, at an average of 3.44 and 4.07 per90, are outstanding figures from one of the Championship’s top central defenders.
Not shy of mixing it with the division’s physical strikers, the 28-year-old also boasts a strong win percentage when it comes to aerial duels and defensive duels across a gruelling season.
Traditionally, a defender’s job can be ugly, but the modern game allows for sides like Norwich to play on the front foot and build on qualities that Gibson has in possession.
Gibson has attempted 931 forward passes this season at a success rate of 81.1%, whilst in total he accrued a pass completion of 89.4%, which is remarkable in such a progressive side.
They are numbers that make it a no-brainer to turn his loan into a permanent deal when the summer comes around.
Football League World reported yesterday that Norwich will turn Gibson’s move into a permanent one in the event of promotion. By now, that feels a formality rather than a possibility, with Gibson’s nightmare spell at Burnley surely coming to an end.
The fresh Premier League challenge lying at his door will be helping Norwich make a better fist of the top-flight than they did in 2019/20.
That, though, should be easier as recruitment already begins to fall into place for the high-flying Canaries.