Norwich's promotion party was put on ice after Swansea's victory over Millwall last weekend, but the Canaries can complete the job at Carrow Road on Saturday night against Bournemouth. Daniel Farke's outfit require just two more points to secure their Premier League return after their 1-0 away victory at Derby pushed them on to 90 points.
Kieran Dowell's stunning free-kick proved to be enough for the Canaries to leave Pride Park with all three points despite an unconvincing display against Wayne Rooney's battling Rams. Derby did pose a threat on the counter, but Norwich displayed guile to keep their 18th clean sheet of the campaign, as well as an 11th success in 13 unbeaten league outings of late.
Farke named an unchanged squad of 18 at Derby but Adam Idah and Michael McGovern are back in training and could be involved. However, Lukas Rupp has been ruled out for the remainder of the season along with Ben Gibson, whilst Christoph Zimmermann is hoping to be back in contention before the end of the campaign. Sam Byram is a long-term absentee.
Bournemouth extend winning streak
Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate admitted his Cherries side were in a "good position" heading into the business end of the play-off race following a 2-1 triumph over Huddersfield on Tuesday at the John Smith's Stadium. The Dorset club now sit five points clear of seventh-placed Reading with five games to play in their quest to make the top-six.
Goals from Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke did the business for Bournemouth. Billing took just quarter of an hour to head home, with a stunning strike from Solanke doubling the advantage just before the break. The Terriers did net what proved to be a consolation strike 15 minutes from time, although the Cherries never looked in major danger.
Woodgate made just one change to his starting XI for the trip to Yorkshire. Ben Pearson came back into midfield to replace Jack Wilshere, who dropped to the bench. Fit-again Junior Stanislas was named among the substitutes after recovering from illness, replacing on-loan Shane Long, who was not part of the matchday group due to a groin injury.
Canaries in flying form
Norwich were 1-0 winners when hosting Bournemouth in the Premier League back in January 2020, extending their unbeaten streak when welcoming the Cherries. The Canaries haven't been turned over by Bournemouth here since October 1959 with the Dorset outfit also failing to complete a league double over City since way back in 1953/54.
Having made a slow start to life back in the second-tier, Norwich 1.9720/21 have proven almost unstoppable since October's international break. Daniel Farke's outfit have W26-D8-L3 over their last 37 tussles with the hosts also posting a seriously strong unbeaten 18-game streak at their Carrow Road base (W13-D5-L0), their best run of home results since 1987.
Bournemouth 4.10 have won each of their last five Championship matches to move into a solid top-six position. However, the Cherries haven't proven quite so consistent on the road, particularly against the league's elite. Jonathan Woodgate's side have posted W3-D7-L3 when travelling to teams in 16th and above, only twice scoring multiple goals of their own.
Norwich's strong defensive numbers have meant the Canaries have proven an unreliable source for goal-hungry punters. In fact, 25/41 (61%) of City's Championship contests have featured fewer than three goals with Daniel Farke's troops seeing only 2.27 goals per-game on average in 2020/21, yet Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 2.001/1 on Saturday night.
It's been feast or famine for goals backers following Bournemouth this season. A chunky 32% of Championship contests have concluded with fewer than two goals, whilst the same 32% figure have featured four goals or more. Nevertheless, seven of the visitors' 10 tussles since Jonathan Woodgate was given the gig have broken the Over 2.5 Goals 1.9010/11.
There could be a party atmosphere at Carrow Road with Norwich so close to clinching automatic promotion and the Canaries almost certainly making a quick return to the top-flight. With that in mind, I'm inclined to support a goal-heavy game, particularly with Bournemouth impressing in the final-third of late.
Both Teams To Score is rated a 1.794/5 shout and holds plenty of appeal considering the attacking talent available to the two teams.