Carrow Road, Saturday, 15:00: Norwich City manager Chris Hughton paces up and down anxiously looking at his watch, the sudden and unexpected season-saving revival of last term is late…Three weeks late!
He knows his counterpart in the West Ham dugout will show him no mercy, with West Ham’s Premier League-meanest road rearguard taken to propel them to a 19/10 victory over their hosts, aided by a Canaries defence annihilated in recent meetings with last season’s top four.
Hughton’s men are 7/5 favourites to offer the beleaguered gaffer three points worth of respite, while the stalemate is the betting outsider at 11/5.
Norwich have lost five of their last seven Premier League games.
The Canaries are enduring a second successive season-starting lull, which has only been made worse by a beastly fixture list, so expect confidence to be low when the Hammers’ armoured personnel carrier arrives in East Anglia.
In the aforementioned timeframe they’ve notched just three times, while summer striking signings Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper have managed just five shots on target between them all season long.
Hull City are the only one of the six teams to host the Hammers this season to have scored a goal.
The hosts’ attacking failings mean their prospects of scoring are meagre enough without having to deal with a side who in all likelihood entertain their respective mothers-in-law more with greater regularity than they currently concede away from home.
A mammoth 18 goals have overwhelmed Norwich’s discombobulated backline in their last five games.
Form scholars would be right to finger a major flaw in our cunning plan to profit from Hughton’s pain, namely that while being so hard to breach, West Ham have only scored in two of their 2013/14 away games.
However Norwich’s defence come into this match off the back of an utter disintegration against Manchester City and there will never be a better time for the Irons to take advantage of a dip in their home form.
Having lost four league games at Carrow Road in the entirety of last season the Canaries have already lost twice at home this term.