Luke Moore focuses on the game at Carrow Road on Saturday teatime and thinks a confidence-free Norwich will buckle under the pressure of West Ham...
"I was surprised to see Under 2.5 Goals at a price of 1.84/5. For me that represents excellent value purely because neither of these teams score goals. Ask yourself this - Who can you imagine scoring in this game?"
Norwich v West Ham
Saturday November 9, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
A disastrous outing last weekend for the Canaries has put Chris Hughton under huge pressure and left his side firmly entrenched in the bottom three. The listless, aimless defending on display as well as an inability to get anywhere near an admittedly fine Manchester City side ended in a 7-0 defeat and a certain amount of navel-gazing among the Norwich faithful.
The horrifying reversal at the hands of City was just the latest in a run of poor results for Norwich; they've been hammered by Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, shipped four against Arsenal and been roundly beaten by Chelsea. This game does, however, represent a different kind of challenge for Hughton's men - a fixture that is eminently winnable and offers their best chance of three points since the home game against Cardiff (which finished 0-0 largely thanks to a great performance in the Bluebirds goal courtesy of David Marshall).
Hughton knows he needs points, and quickly.
Still very much dining out on the surprising 0-3 win at White Hart Lane a month ago, Sam Allardyce will be at least privately conscious that his side are on the drift in a big way. They've not won since that famous away shock against Spurs and find themselves just two points above the drop zone, firmly in the knowledge that, should they lose to Norwich this Saturday, their opponents will move above them in the table.
A strange, ineffective transfer policy has not helped matters at the Boleyn as Allardyce seemed content to stick his eggs in the basket labelled 'Hit Andy Carroll' and feast upon the knockdowns his big frame would provide. Well, unsurprisingly, Andy Carroll is injured and Allardyce has no proven, effective striker to call upon. A lack of goals has been a big problem at West Ham all season so far.
These two sides have mustered up just four wins between them all season in the league, and lack of goals is the obvious reason they're both struggling. Opta tell us that Norwich have managed just four goals in their last nine league games and none of those have been scored by a striker. West Ham are almost as bad: they've notched less than a goal a game on average since the start of the season.
There is arguably value in backing West Ham here though, purely because they don't concede. Remarkably for a team in their league position, the Hammers have the joint-third best defence in the Premier League this season and have successfully handled far more potent strikers than Norwich so far this term.
I think the Hammers are the 'side most likely to' here. Norwich's confidence will be at rock bottom and they're hardly likely to relish facing a big physical team like West Ham. All this means I'll be backing the away side at 3.185/40.
I was surprised to see Under 2.5 Goals at a price of 1.84/5. For me that represents excellent value purely because neither of these teams score goals. Ask yourself this - Who can you imagine scoring in this game? To suggest there will be three goals or more in 90 minutes here is fanciful in the extreme.
Even if we get one of those freak Premier League, everyone's-lost-their-head type games which can happen from time to time in this division, the price is only 2.245/4 for overs anyway. I'll have to take it on the chin. As I've already said, I think West Ham will win this, but it won't be by many and I'm happy to take that price for two goals or less in the game.
If I were Sam Allardyce, sensing the crisis of confidence that Norwich are currently suffering from, I'd tell my players to go out there at 100mph and try to overwhelm Norwich from the first whistle. West Ham, for all their lack of goalscoring abilities, have actually shown that they're capable of a fast start. Against Cardiff they score twice in the first ten minutes and went on to win the game.
Likewise, if Norwich go behind early it's very difficult to see them coming back into the game as Cardiff did. It would take a superhuman effort after the run they've been on to fight their way back into the game, and so, at the price, I like West Ham/West Ham in the Half Time/Full Time market at 5.14/1.