Norwich City grabbed promotion to the Premier League for the third time in a decade this season, very much asserting themselves as a yo-yo club in the process.
Norwich, who enjoyed their best ever finish in the top flight during the first year of the Premier League, surprisingly won the Championship despite not being tipped at the beginning of the season.

Manager Daniel Farke has built a robust side, slick on the ball but effective without it. Having lost James Maddison last summer, it was widely believed they’d struggle to become a force in the Championship, but stormed to the title clinching it on the final day.

Daniel Farke – By ZakNelson1995 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The fact they beat Aston Villa, the division’s form side, on the final day will give them some hope of being amongst the favourites to simply avoid the drop in next season’s Premier League betting.

There’s no reason why they should be immediately relegated. This year two of the promoted sides came straight back down, along with Huddersfield who went up two years ago, but Wolves have established themselves as a top ten side. They’ve had money to spend, but Farke will hope to stay up with know-how.
Norwich are no strangers to the level and in Farke they have the ‘new breed’ of German manager looking to influence the English game. David Wagner got Huddersfield promoted, Daniel Stendel has impressed at Barnsley and in Farke, Norwich have a new saviour.

His signings have been excellent, low key but effective. Tim Trybull has been the beating heart of the side, whilst former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki defied all expectation to finish as the division’s leading scorer. Pukki struggled in the SPFL with the Hoops and wasn’t seen as a big signing when he arrived in the summer, but he’s kept former £10m man Jordan Rhodes out of the limelight.

Teemu Pukki – By Вячеслав Евдокимов – fc-zenit.ru, CC BY-SA 3.0

The ability to bring through real talent has also helped at Carrow Road. Whilst the Murphy twins moved on to pastures new and Maddison soon followed, their remaining youngsters have been incredible. Max Aarons, in his first full season as a first team player, has really caught the eye. Ben Godfrey, on loan with Shrewsbury last season, is already a target for big clubs this summer.

There’s a big jump from the second tier to the top flight and perhaps an insistence on sticking with the same philosophy might come back to haunt them. There are no prizes for playing good football and Watford have proven being tough to beat is a viable route to establishing yourselves, but that’s not Daniel Farke’s way.

If they’re going to become a Premier League club for longer than three seasons, their current record run, then they’ll need a plan B. They’ll need a more defensive approach at times.

However, if they turn on the Norwich style against teams outside the big six, then there’s every chance that they might be significantly better than Wagner’s Huddersfield and become a top ten side.

They’ve got the players, the momentum and the manager. All they need now is savvy tactics and a flexible approach and they could well break their twenty years cycle of flitting between the two divisions.

Crystal Palace cooly marched into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a very professional performance at the Keepmoat Stadium as Doncaster saw their dream of reaching the last eight for the time first time in their history denied. It never looked for one moment as though South Yorkshire would be the venue for an FA Cup giant-killing, with Roy Hodgson’s men bossing proceedings from the first whistle.

In actual fact, Palace look like a team prioritising the FA Cup despite Roy Hodgson saying the Premier League is still their main concern this season. A look at the Premier League table shows the Eagles in 13th with 27 points, but only three points from safety and higher than 18th-placed Southampton, on 24 points.

That is far too close for comfort and at any stage, Palace could be swept up in the backwash of a few bad results and drawn back into the scrap for Premier League survival. This could especially be the case if say, Palace took their eye off the ball and had the distraction of an FA quarter-final looming enticingly over them.

There could only be one team in the top four in the draw for the last eight with two Championship clubs also making up the mix. If ever the opportunity presented itself to win an FA Cup it is now and Palace have the squad to make it to Wembley.

The question is, can the Eagles successfully balance survival and the FA Cup? When Wigan beat Man City in the FA Cup final in 2013, they ended up being relegated after throwing their weight behind the cup competition. Had Roberto Martinez’ troops played as they did against Mancini’s Man City for the entire season they would have finished in the top half.

With that in mind, there can’t really be any comparisons of the strength of the Wigan side of 2013 and Palace’s team now. The Eagles have a stronger squad and are led by match winners like Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend. Townsend, in particular, has come on leaps and bounds this season and there’s every reason to believe that Gareth Southgate will call him up to help England win the UEFA Nations League. The Three Lions are at 7/4 in international football betting to win and should they do so, it may be Townsend’s second trophy of the season.

Would Andros Townsend take winning the FA Cup and UEFA Nations League at the expense of relegation to the Championship? Palace will need to tread carefully and not become totally blinded by the bright lights of Wembley.

In the blink of an eye, the clubs languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table can surge up the league and cause mass panic above as clubs that thought they were out of any danger hit the implode button. Based on last season’s table, three wins would secure Palace their top-flight safety but then again, three FA Cup wins would win them the world’s oldest cup competition. We will soon see what the Eagles want more as they circle around two very different rewards.