Bristol City v Norwich
Saturday October 31, 12:30
Bristol City rue missed midweek chances
Bristol City's winless Championship run extended to four games on Wednesday night with a 1-0 reverse against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium but the Robins' improved performance appeased head coach Dean Holden. The visitors impressed in the first-half, creating four really good chances with Antoine Semenyo and Famara Diedhiou most at fault.
However, Bournemouth were the more enterprising after the interval and their pressure eventually paid in the 81st minute with the decisive strike. City were unable to muster a response but following the game, Holden said that he was delighted with much of his team's showing considering injuries had robbed the guests of Andi Weimann and Alfie Mawson.
He said, "We absolutely dominated the first half. We had gilt-edged chances, and didn't take them. We passed the ball so well they couldn't get near us at times. We knew there would be a reaction from them. We switched off once with 10 minutes to go and we got punished. It is a performance which deserved at least a point, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves."
Norwich pick up fortunate late points
Norwich left it late for the fourth match running as they salvaged an unlikely point at Brentford in midweek. The Canaries started well in West London, but in-form Ivan Toney put the Bees ahead midway through the opening half and their advantage could have been extended as they missed a string of chances to double the lead thereafter.
Daniel Farke's outfit had rarely threatened after the break until Kenny McLean's off-target shot took a big deflection and past the wrong-footed David Raya to level proceedings. Norwich had scored winners beyond the 86-minute mark in each of their previous three matches, and their fortuitous equaliser came after a quiet second-half performance.
Xavi Quintilla was injured in the warm-up meaning Danish youngster - and defensive midfielder by-trade - Jacob Sorensen was asked to fill-in and Farke now has a decision to make ahead of Saturday's showdown. A potential switch of system to 3-5-2 is possible should Quintilla fail to recover in time with Przemek Placheta and Kenny McLean options for a left wing-back role.
Canaries the team to beat
Bristol City are winless in their last eight league meetings with Norwich over the past decade (W0-D3-L5). The Robins have returned from Carrow Road empty-handed in three of those four away days (W0-D1-L3) and twice chucked away a lead in their most recent visit to Norfolk, losing 3-2 here as recently as February 2019. Kenny McLean striking twice that day.
Bristol City 3.4012/5 opened their account with four successive victories but the Robins have struggled to hit the same heights since the international break. Underlying performance data suggests Dean Holden's charges have overperformed in the early stages of the season and key injuries have hit the City squad hard in recent weeks.
Norwich 2.265/4 have yet to really click into gear since demotion back to the Championship, although the Canaries are making a habit of collecting precious points. Daniel Farke's troops have impressed on the data, boasting the division's best Expected Points (xP) return, and that suggests the visitors are on the right path to a promotion push once more.
Both sides can oblige
The two head-to-heads between Bristol City and Norwich in 2018/19 combined to see a total of nine goals and neutrals will be hoping Saturday's televise tussle follows a similar pattern. However, only six of the duos collective 16 Championship matches thus far have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals 1.9110/11 backers and there's little appeal in the prices.
Both Teams To Score 1.804/5 hunters have fared better - eight (50%) of the aforementioned matches have seen goals at both ends with the two teams scoring in 12 (75%) games and recording only four shutouts between them. With that in mind, I'm happy to support a repeat from Carrow Road this weekend.