Norwich City v Sunderland Betting Preview
Back relegation-fighting Norwich and Sunderland to draw
Despite falling to a slender defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend, Norwich’s performances have improved in recent weeks. The Norfolk side have only lost one of their last four games, with important wins over fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United and also West Brom. They’ve only fallen to one defeat in their last four matches at Carrow Road, and the Norwich faithful will believe that a good result on Saturday is more than possible for their side. The atmosphere will be electric and I can see that spurring the Canaries on to gaining at least a point.
However, they may not be losing many games at home, but they’re not winning a great deal either. Norwich have only recorded one victory at Carrow Road in their last seven games. To make matters worse, they’ve only managed to score two or more goals in two of their last ten fixtures, and with Sunderland’s impressive away goal-scoring record to consider, Alex Neil will be wary of the threat Sunderland will pose on Saturday. To make life more difficult, Norwich have failed to win a game this season when they’ve lost their previous fixture 1-0, and Palace beat them 1-0 last weekend. I’m backing a draw in this one.
Sunderland have worries of their own heading into the weekend having not won a game since they beat Manchester United 2-1 back in February. Their last fixture ended in defeat after league leaders Leicester City snatched a 2-0 win from the Stadium of Light last Sunday. Prior to that defeat, Sunderland had drawn four from four, and the Black Cats are now four points behind Norwich in 18th position, although they have a game in hand over Saturday’s opponents. A win in this one and in their game in hand will see them leapfrog Norwich out of the relegation zone.
Their recent form doesn’t look all that bad with only three defeats in their last ten games, but the high number of draws have proved the side’s reluctance to see out a game, and the commitment required to survive the drop just hasn’t been there of late. Both Sunderland and Norwich have conceded 57 league goals so far, the third highest behind Newcastle and Aston Villa. With just one win away from home since November 23rd, I can’t see Sunderland coming away with a victory on Saturday.
Norwich are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Sunderland and have only lost to Saturday’s opponents once in seven meetings in the Premier League. The Canaries have won all three home meetings and recorded a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture back in August. The stats would suggest a Norwich win, but with Sunderland in such desperate need of a victory I think a draw is the most likely result.
To score – Sebastien Bassong 15/1
Despite not starting the last two games, Bassong looks set for a recall at the weekend with fellow centre back Timm Klose doubtful with a knee injury. Bassong only has one goal to his name this season, but has two career goals for Norwich against the Black Cats, and with half of Norwich’s 14 home league goals this season coming from set pieces, I’m backing Sebastien Bassong to find the net from possibly a corner or a free kick, with a goal at any time priced at 15/1. A risky bet, but with those odds it’s well worth a punt.
Both teams to score – Yes 20/23
Both sides will be going all-out attack to win this one. A draw isn’t of much use to either side. Sunderland have scored in 11 of their last 12 away games, and Norwich have only kept one clean sheet in their last seven at home. However, the Canaries have scored ten goals in those same games, and I can see both sides finding the net on Saturday, priced at 20/23.
Match odds – Draw 23/10
It wouldn’t do either side many favours, but I’m backing odds of 23/10 for Norwich and Sunderland to tie on Saturday. Norwich will remain four clear of Sunderland should we see a draw, which means Alex Neil may well set his side out more defensively than Sam Allardyce, who I imagine will be in search of goals and little else. A home win is priced at 7/5, and looking at their recent record in this fixture I wouldn’t be too surprised if Norwich ended up taking the spoils. You can back odds of 9/4 for a Sunderland win, however I can’t see the Black Cats taking all three points away from the game.
Writer’s prediction: Norwich 2 – 2 Sunderland
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.