Top travels to bottom in the Championship on Sunday afternoon as lowly Wycombe entertain league leaders Norwich at Adams Park. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Daniel Farke’s outfit have W19-D6-L3 over their last 28 tussles with the visitors also posting a league-best W10-D2-L4 on their travels"
Wycombe v Norwich
Sunday February 28, 12:00
Wycombe pick up precious midweek win
Rock-bottom Wycombe survived being reduced to 10 men and having a penalty saved to hang on for a crucial 1-0 Championship victory against Reading on Tuesday night. The Chairboys went ahead early in the second half as Fred Onyedinma forced home a goalmouth scramble at the back post before an incident-packed final 20 minutes at Adams Park.
Centre-back Ryan Tafazolli was sent off as his foul on Andy Rinomhota also conceded a penalty. However, Reading top-scorer Lucas Joao failed to convert the chance to equalise as his spot-kick hit the crossbar. And there would be more penalty drama late on when Wanderers' Uche Ikpeazu spurned the chance to wrap up victory after being dragged down.
Thankfully for Gareth Ainsworth's hosts it did not prove costly as they reduced the gap to safety to eight points with a first home win in five. Speaking post-match, the Wycombe boss said: "The Great Escape has always been on, ever since day one of this season. Don't write us off. I'm not saying we'll do it, but we've got a much better chance now."
Norwich comfortably clear at the summit
Teemu Pukki scored twice and missed a penalty as Norwich beat Birmingham 3-1 to go 10 points clear at the top of the Championship. The Canaries were second-best early on but the Finnish forward put Daniel Farke's men ahead before the half-hour mark following fine link-up play between Dimitrios Giannoulis and Kenny McLean down the left-hand side.
Pukki then missed his penalty and Birmingham managed to equalise just three minutes later to see the sides go into half-time level-pegging. But City improved after the interval with their top scorer firing the visitors back in front at St Andrew's, and on-loan Oliver Skipp then capitalised on a three-on-one breakaway to wrap it up five minutes into injury time.
Post-match Farke admitted he wasn't happy with his side's first-half display and demanded improvements. He said, "If I am honest, I was not happy with our mindset. I was not happy and I told them. I wanted some steel. I have to say what they delivered in the second half was outstanding. We had some first problems, but second half we were excellent."
Wycombe and Norwich are meeting in league action for only the fourth occasion in the clubs histories. The Canaries have claimed maximum points in each of the previous three head-to-heads - doing the double during their League One title-winning campaign in 2009/10, as well as taking a 2-1 triumph when the two teams crossed swords in October.
Wycombe 8.007/1 were as short as 1.53 for relegation before a ball was kicked back in August, and although the Chairboys prop up the division having lost 18 of their 31 Championship contests, Gareth Ainsworth's have competed reasonably well. Indeed, the underdogs have lost by two goals or more in only five of their last 26 league outings.
Norwich 1.4740/85 have suffered a league-low five losses in 2020/21 (W20-D7-L5) with the Canaries proving particularly impressive since October's international break. Daniel Farke's outfit have W19-D6-L3 over their last 28 tussles with the visitors also posting a league-best W10-D2-L4 on their travels, including a strong W9-D1-L1 at teams outside of the top-six.
Adams Park encounters have tended to be tight affairs. Only one of Wycombe's home fixtures have featured four or more goals with 10/16 (62%) concluding with Under 2.5 Goals 1.855/6. Five of Wanderers' seven matches here against top-10 opposition have produced a maximum of two goals, suggesting the Chairboys are capable of keeping the goal line low.
Norwich haven't proven quite so goal shy, particularly on their travels, scoring twice or more in seven of their 10 tussles at sides outside of the top-10. The Canaries are expected to make it five league wins on the spin on Sunday but I'm happy to chuck in Under 3.5 Goals to the equation to for a more appealing 1.9720/21 shot on the Same Game Multi.
Sixteen of Norwich's 20 triumphs have arrived alongside Under 3.5 Goals, as have 15 of rock-bottom Wycombe's 18 league losses since promotion to this level.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 108.00 pts
Returned: 117.33 pts
P/L: +9.33 pts