As the season reaches the home straight, it’s getting close to now or never if Norwich City are to move away from the relegation zone and towards a second season of Premier League safety.
Unfortunately for Canaries fans, the omens aren’t great, as three of the last four times their team has been in the bottom third of any division with less than ten games to go they’ve been relegated (’95, ’05, ‘09).
Equally, manager Chris Hughton has twice experienced the drop as assistant manager or player and is 10/1 to do so again.
But now can be the time for both manager and team to turn around those statistics: starting with a home win over Swansea City at 29/20.
Though the two teams promoted from the Championship in 2011 matched each other last campaign, Swansea have clearly forged ahead in their sophomore season and are 37/20 for the win here, with the draw 11/5.
Michael Laudrup’s side sit a comfortable ninth in the table and have the League Cup trophy and European football already in the bank – but therein lies Norwich’s opportunity.
Since claiming a first-ever English trophy in March, the Swans have lost four times and averaged less than a goal a game in the process.
Even with 16-goal sensation Michu (19/10 to score anytime) in their ranks, Swansea look value at 11/5 to draw a blank at a ground where the last five matches have averaged just 1.2 total goals.
Not only do Norwich have a good record at Carrow Road, but they also have dominated this fixture over recent seasons, winning four of the past five.
With those results including 3-2 and 4-3 triumphs for the Canaries, 31/10 for a home win and over 2.5 total goals is definitely worth considering.
Having scored in three of those wins, Hughton will hope the Swans’ visit inspires Grant Holt to add to his solitary goal in 2013 at 9/4.
However, with the relegation battle tightening up by the week, this game is likely to prove a bit tighter than recent Norwich-Swansea encounters, but I still fancy the home side to emerge with a crucial three points.
And hot on the heels of my two successful tips last week – regular readers were treated to a 19/4 winner from Arouna Kone’s solitary goal in Wigan’s 1-0 success over Norwich and a 5/1 first goal for Andy Carroll in West Ham’s 3-1 victory against West Brom – I am backing a one-goal Canaries win (or draw in the 0-1 handicap market) at 29/10.
New customers doing the same with the free £20 bet they receive when registering with bwin would stand to make a decent £78 return. Get on it!