Norwich might have lost their last Premier League fixture before the international break, but their committed display in a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge certainly gave manager Paul Lambert reasons to be optimistic about his side’s survival chances.
The Canaries take on West Brom at Carrow Road on Sunday, and Baggies boss Roy Hodgson is in a similar position to his Norwich counterpart.
Although his side lost their first three games of the season they put up a good fight against Manchester United and Chelsea and were unlucky not to get anything out of their home encounter with Stoke, suggesting it is far too early to press the panic button.
Nevertheless, both managers will be eyeing three points in their next fixture and it is Norwich who go into the match as 29/20 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Meanwhile, a draw is priced at 9/4 and a West Brom win at 9/5.
If there is a major cause for concern for Lambert ahead of kick-off it is that Norwich have received two red cards and conceded three penalties in their first three league fixtures of the season.
This indiscipline has proved costly, with Stoke scoring a late equaliser with Norwich down to ten men on the opening day of the season – despite missing an earlier penalty – and Chelsea edging ahead at the Bridge from the spot just when Norwich were starting to threaten at the other end.
Indeed, the repercussions of the penalty conceded at Stamford Bridge will continue to be felt at Carrow Road this weekend, with first-choice goalkeeper John Ruddy missing the game through suspension after being sent off for bringing down Ramires.
This means youngster Declan Rudd will be keeping guard between the posts for Norwich, and West Brom will fancy their chances of taking advantage of his inexperience.
Rudd certainly has potential – he was in the last England U21 squad – but has only made 13 senior appearances, meaning he is still something of an unknown quantity.
With Norwich hardly the most defensively sound team at the best of times – they conceded an average of more than a goal a game in the Championship last season and have yet to keep a clean sheet on their return to the top flight – West Brom look good bets to score at 31/100.
As the Canaries are unlikely to prevent their opponents from scoring, the chances of a Norwich victory are reduced.
This is not to say that Lambert’s men will not hit the back of the net – the fact they scored against Chelsea at the Bridge is illustrative of the threat they carry in the final third.
Furthermore, eight of Norwich’s last nine games have featured goals from both sides, suggesting betting on the home and away team to hit the back of the net on Sunday represents something of a banker at odds of 13/20.
However, the fact they only scored once in their matches against Wigan, Stoke and Chelsea suggests they are unlikely to treat their fans to a goal fest, meaning West Brom should be able to keep in touch with their opponents.
With this in mind, the best bet could be on a score draw.
Odds of a 1-1 draw look tempting at 17/4, particularly as this has been the scoreline in two of Norwich’s first three matches of the season.
Meanwhile, those expecting more goalmouth action – perhaps influenced by the fact Norwich had the most prolific attack in the Championship last season – could have a punt on a 2-2 draw at 21/2.
A successful £25 free bet on Norwich to draw 2-2 with West Brom, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £287.50.
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