Bottom club Norwich take on ninth-placed Crystal Palace at Carrow Road on New Year's Day as they look to build on a valuable Boxing Day point gained against Spurs...
"Quite incredibly, there has been just one goal scored in the first half of Crystal Palace’s last 10 Premier League games. Odds of around 2/1 for another 0-0 half time score involving Palace are well worth taking."
Norwich v Crystal Palace
Wednesday January 1, 17:30
Live on BT - ESPN
Detached Norwich look destined for the drop
It was hard not to feel sympathy for Norwich on Saturday when Teemu Pukki's brilliant 33rd minute strike, which would have put the Canaries 2-0 up against Spurs, was ruled out via VAR for offside. Pukki's effort was one of five depressing fag paper thin VAR offside reversals over the weekend but at least this latest round of controversy looks to have, mercifully, forced a rethink on how VAR is operated with regards to offside decisions.
Norwich went in 1-0 up, and after Cristian Eriksen had equalised ten minutes after the break, they led again, courtesy of a bizarre Serge Aurier own goal just after the hour mark, but the visitors got at least what they deserved when Harry Kane made it 2-2 from the penalty spot after 83 minutes and the Canaries are still very much in the mire.
Norwich were the only Premier League team not to win a game in December, they've not won in seven and their 2-0 win at a dire Everton side at the end of November is their only victory in 15 games, since they shocked everyone and beat Manchester City 3-2 in August.
After Watford's rally under Nigel Pearson, Norwich have slipped to the bottom of the pile, three points behind the Hornets, and I'd rather be a backer than a layer at around 1.241/4 in the Relegation market.
Norwich manager, Daniel Farke, has even said they "require a miracle" and they look doomed given the side that has sat bottom of the Premier League going into a new year has been relegated in 23 of the previous 27 seasons. Canaries fans can cling to a shred of hope though, as three of the four to avoid relegation have done so in the last six seasons - Sunderland in 2013-14, Leicester in 2014-15 and Swansea in 2016-17.
Injury-hit Eagles hard to break down
A few hours after Spurs and Norwich had shared the points on Saturday, Southampton and Crystal Palace played out a 1-1 draw at St Mary's and that looked like a fair result in the end.
Wilfred Zaha was adjudged to be marginally offside before he crossed for Max Meyer to score in the 15th minute but Palace still took the lead in the 50th minute via a James Tomkins header. A rare defensive calamity gifted the in-form Danny Ings an equaliser on 74 minutes but it was all Southampton after that and the Eagles had their goalkeeper, Vicente Guaita, to thank for the point won in the end.
Crystal Palace have lost only one of their last seven in the Premier League, they're up to ninth in the table and that's despite quite an injury crisis. As manager, Roy Hodgson, highlighted after the draw with the Saints.
"It is all very well talking about injuries - and several people do - but not many teams have seven injuries, all of whom are regulars in the first team. The only one you could maybe say hasn't played as much is Scott Dann, but the other six out are first team players, who probably would have played today."
Crystal Palace were fabulous on their travels last season, winning five of their last six away from Selhurst Park and 29 of their 49 points were gained away from home. They've only won three away matches so far this season but they've only lost four of the ten played and they're nearly always tough to break down.
Stats point to half-time value
Over 2.5 Goals is odds-on in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market but it's a hard one to gauge. Norwich have conceded at least two goals in each of their last nine Premier League home games and there have been at least three goals scored in nine of their last ten home games but Palace don't score many - in fact they've only scored 18 in 20 games so far this season and there have been two goals or less scored in each of their last five away games. Only Watford, with 15, have scored less and games involving Palace have only averaged exactly two goals. That's the lowest average in the league.
Both Teams to Score is odds-on and trading at around 1.84/5 and that looks about right but looking at the stats, the Half Time/Full Time market looks like a good one to focus on...
Norwich led four times at half time at home during December but they finished up losing twice, to Sheffield United and Wolves, and drawing twice, with Arsenal and Spurs. That's enough evidence to suggest a couple of tiny bets on Norwich/Draw and Norwich/Crystal Palace are worth chancing at fancy odds but the chances are it'll be 0-0 at the break.
Palace are a very solid defensive unit. They've conceded just 22 goals so far this season, which is the third lowest in the league. The only teams to better that are Liverpool, Leicester City and Sheffield United and quite incredibly, there has been just one goal scored in the first half of Crystal Palace's last 10 Premier League games. Odds of around 2/1 for another 0-0 half time score involving Palace is well worth taking and so too is Draw/Crystal Palace at 7.87/1.
Norwich gamble makes Palace a tasty price
With Palace in the midst of an injury crisis, Norwich have been steadily shortening up in the outright market following their draw with Spurs, but they make no appeal at around 6/4 given their plight.
The Canaries have won just three of 20 so far this season, they haven't won at home since August, and they've lost their last three Premier League encounters with Palace. And if all that doesn't put you off the favourites, Palace are yet to lose to any team in the bottom half of the table this season. There must be better 6/4 shots around than Norwich.
It's clearly tough on Palace to have to cope with so many first team players absent but it's nothing new and if they can get a point at St Mary's against an in-form Southampton side, that won 2-0 at Chelsea in their penultimate start, they're more than capable of getting a win at Carrow Road against a team destined for the drop. Odds of around 2/1 about the visitors look tasty.
Staked: 40 pts
Returned: 47.7 pts
P/L: +7.7 pts
1 pt 0-0 Half Time Score @ 3.185/40
¼ pt Norwich – Draw @ 18.017/1
¼ pt Norwich – Crystal Palace @ 38.037/1
1/2 pt Draw – Crystal Palace @ 7.87/1
2 pts Crystal Palace @ 3.052/1