Norwich v Man City
Saturday March 12, 12:45 GMT
Live on Sky Sports 1
Things are beginning to look bleak for The Canaries as their seventh defeat in eight games at the weekend saw them drop into the relegation zone. With Aston Villa seemingly down and the gap to 16th place now at nine points, it would appear that the two other clubs who will be joining Villa in The Championship will come from Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich themselves.
Alex Neil has his work cut out to arrest what has been a rapid decline and while his defence has improved of late - they couldn't have got much worse - the attacking players need to hold up their end of the bargain and start putting the ball in the net with more regularity.
The manager will argue that they have been unlucky at times of late as they were value for a point at Leicester and led 2-0 against West Ham before a late collapse, but it's points on the board that count and Norwich have taken just one from a possible 27 since a 1-0 win over Southampton back on January 2nd.
A trio of defeats have seen Man City slip to fourth place and on to the periphery of the title race. They now trail Leicester by 10 points - albeit with a game in hand - and while some commentators have suggested that The Citizens are capable of going on a winning run until the end of the season, I just can't see it.
Manuel Pellegrini knows that he is exiting at the end of the campaign and his priority will be to win silverware. He's already added another Capital One Cup to his CV this year and while they remain in the Champions League, that will be his focus.
Having the Sergio Aguero and David Silva partnership on the field is crucial to City's results and the pair were sublime in the second half against Aston Villa last week. That result was almost a given though and I'm still not convinced that they have turned the corner, despite success in other competitions.
Norwich 6.411/2 Man City 1.68/13 The Draw 4.47/2
Not many people will agree with me here but I think the draw is decent value at 4.47/2. I appreciate that the hosts are in dreadful form and while they gone four without a win at Carrow Road, they lost to both Liverpool and Chelsea by a single goal and drew with West Ham, with the 3-0 defeat to Spurs being the low point.
Prior to that, Norwich had earned positive results in seven out of 10 in front of their own fans and that included a win over Southampton and solid draws against Arsenal and Everton.
City won their opening three away games of the campaign in ominous fashion but since then it's been two wins from 10 on the road and they were beaten at Spurs, Stoke, Arsenal and Liverpool.
I certainly wouldn't want to be backing the visitors at such a skinny price, but I'm not quite brave enough to go for the home win, which is why I am plumping for the draw.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Over 2.5 Goals 1.814/5 Under 2.5 Goals 2.226/5
Backers of over 2.5 goals will no doubt be expecting a comfortable win for Man City but as you know, I am not convinced. Alex Neil has tightened up his defence, with just eight goals conceded in five games. That has come at a cost though as they netted only three themselves during that period.
City have been struggling to score away from The Etihad and they drew another blank at Anfield just over a week ago. Since those three good opening away wins I mentioned earlier, Pellegrini's side have scored only seven times on their travels, which is an average of 0.7 per game.
I can see this being a really competitive affair and I doubt we'll be in for a glut of goals.
There is no doubt in my mind that the home team will be more up for this match at the opening whistle and I think there has to be plenty of mileage in backing Norwich/Draw in the HT/FT Market. It is currently trading at around the 22.021/1 mark and if things go our way, that offers us a huge cash out possibility during the second half.
Back The Draw @ 4.47/2
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.226/5
Best Cash Out
Back Norwich/Draw in the HT/FT Market @ 22.021/1
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