In 2011 Leeds United finished 7th in the Championship, 3 points off the play-off positions, having been in the top six for much of the year. It wasn't a disaster, they had a strong squad and would likely compete again. That same year Norwich City achieved back to back promotions.
Finishing second in the Championship, they were elevated to the Premier League. It's not unusual for newly promoted clubs to dip back into the Championship to buy some of the players that seem ready for the step up, and Paul Lambert was an especially keen devotee of raiding the lower divisions during his time at Norwich. What was unusual, and damaging for Leeds, was that over the next three transfer windows, Norwich swooped for three of their most important midfielders - Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson, and Robert Snodgrass.
These three players lined up in Norwich's starting eleven against West Ham recently, giving Leeds a glimpse of what might have been if they had managed to achieve promotion in 2011. The players have all shown they can cut it at the top level, Snodgrass has looked the most exciting since his switch this summer, scoring the equaliser at Spurs and generally carrying over the form that saw him reach double figures in both goals and assists last year for Leeds.
These players have all brought leadership qualities to Norwich as well, Snodgrass was Leeds' captain from February last season, replacing Howson after he had left for Norwich in the January transfer window. Howson leaving was a body blow to fans, the club captain was a local boy brought up through the club's youth system.
Leeds loss has clearly been Norwich’s gain. After an opening day thumping at Fulham, they have steadied the ship with three draws, including that impressive away performance at Tottenham. Hughton’s side have a tricky run coming up, with Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal the next four sides they face in the league. These are the kind of matches that will have attracted players to sign for the Canaries, and they are the kind of matches Leeds were playing in not so long ago.
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