After securing a fully-deserved 1-0 win over Arsenal and a precious point away against fellow strugglers Aston Villa in their last two Premier League matches, there are signs that Norwich City are starting to turn their season around ahead of their Capital One Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road this evening.
To say the Canaries made a sluggish start to the season would be putting it charitably, with a 5-0 loss to Fulham on the opening day and a 5-2 home reverse at the hands of Liverpool in September notable lowlights of an opening sequence which featured no wins from their first seven league games.
But even if optimistic supporters will claim to have seen yellow and green shoots of recovery in the last two performances, the omens don’t look good for the fixture against Spurs.
For a start, only one of the last nine games between Norwich and Spurs has ended in favour of the home side.
Then there is the fact that Spurs have won the last five meetings between the two teams at Carrow Road.
It’s worth noting, too, that the four points Norwich have picked up in their last two outings have come against an Arsenal side who just didn’t turn up and an Aston Villa outfit who, even with 11 men on the pitch, look set for a season battling the drop.
It is no surprise, therefore, to see that Spurs are odds-on to win in normal time tonight at 83/100, with a Norwich win at 29/10 and a draw at 13/5.
However, with both teams set to field much-changed sides, 83/100 on Spurs winning in normal time doesn’t hold much appeal – particularly as Norwich avoided defeat when the two teams met at White Hart Lane early in the season.
Instead, I’ll be looking at the over/under 2.5 goals market this evening for a bit of value and hope to play on Norwich’s struggles in front of goal.
While Norwich boss Chris Hughton is doing his best to shore up a creaking defence, his side no longer attacks with the same commitment and conviction as they did in the Paul Lambert era.
The proof for this is the lowly figure of eight goals Norwich have scored in nine games against Premier League opposition this season.
At the other end of the pitch a clean sheet against Arsenal and a 1-1 draw at the Lane in September suggests Norwich’s defending isn’t quite as bad as some of their headline defeats suggest and a second-string Spurs side could find the going tougher than their travelling fans may feel entitled to expect.
With this in mind, bwin’s price of 6/5 on a game with under 2.5 goals looks like the play.
And when you consider seven of Norwich’s 11 games this season have featured under 2.5 goals and that this has been the case in six of the last seven meetings between the Canaries and Spurs, that 6/5 looks even more tempting.