Newly-promoted Norwich continue their series of difficult season-opening fixtures when they host reigning champions Manchester City at Carrow Road in soccer’s English Premier League on Saturday (12:30pm ET).
The fixture generator was not at all kind to Norwich. Man City are the third of last season’s Premier League top four they will have faced in their first five fixtures of the campaign. Defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool represent two of three they have suffered to date.
Four matches in, Norwich sit 19th in the EPL table, with just three points on the board from last month’s home win over Newcastle. Losses to Chelsea and Liverpool were to be expected, but there was a degree of disappointment regarding their 0-2 defeat away to West Ham prior to the international break. It was one that coach Daniel Farke felt was decided by “small details.”
The first half was certainly an even affair in terms of territory and chances. West Ham took the lead just before the 25-minute mark, but Norwich reacted well and nearly equalized when Todd Cantwell was just unable to head into an empty net at the far post. However, West Ham doubled their lead early into the second half and then continually generated chances on the break as Norwich were unable to create much of note at the other end.
Farke’s side swashbuckled their way to the Championship title last season but they may need to find ways to adapt their approach if they are to survive in the top flight. Their attack is still generally functioning well, creating good-quality opportunities from a relatively small number of shots. Their defence has so far proved much too leaky to be sustainable at this level.
Saturday’s game is likely to be an extremely tough one for Norwich. They can then at least look forward to a set of more accessible fixtures to come. Each of their next four matches and six of their next seven are against teams who either finished in the bottom half of the Premier League last season or like them, were promoted from the Championship.
First, though, await Manchester City, the two-time reigning champions and the league’s top scorers in each of the last two seasons. They have scored 14 times in recording three wins and a draw from their opening four matches. They should really have added further to that total in their 2-2 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur. They outshot their visitors by 30 shots to three yet somehow only came away with a point.
Liverpool have started the season in a manner that suggests they will again be Man City’s closest challengers. The way City have got underway indicates that they are very much worthy of their status with the top rated offshore oddsmakers as the odds-on favorites to claim a third consecutive title.
Pep Guardiola’s side comfortably dispatched Brighton in a 4-0 victory prior to the international break. Kevin De Bruyne gave them an early lead, Sergio Aguero added two more goals either side of half time and then Bernardo Silva finished things off late on. Guardiola afterwards praised Brighton for coming out and seeking to play an expansive game, albeit one that was crushed by Man City’s sheer attacking potency.
Teams who have been bold against City over the last couple of years have sometimes had some joy, especially initially, but more often than not The Citizens have eventually prevailed. One thinks of Swansea, coached by current Brighton boss Graham Potter, going 2-0 up against them in last season’s FA Cup quarter-final only for the Sky Blues to come back and win 3-2.
Our Betting Preview’s Norwich vs Man City Predictions & Picks Verdict
Norwich were certainly not shy in trying to impose their style of play on the other two top-of-the-table teams they have faced to date. On home soil, it seems likely they will stick to a similar approach on Saturday. Even if Norwich do get off to a good start, it is Manchester City who are highly likely to emerge victorious from what has the potential to be a very high-scoring encounter.
- Bet on Man City to win in a match in which both teams score. To do this go to Bovada Sportsbook’s odds for this game and find the “Match Result and Both Teams To Score” betting market, as shown in the screenshot below. Bet on “Manchester City Win And Yes” @ best odds of +130 (13/10).