Tottenham v Norwich: Spurs might have to work hard for victory
Andrew Atherley says Tottenham might need patience against the Premier League's bottom club on Wednesday night...
Tottenham v Norwich Wednesday 22 January, 19:30
The early high-scoring form of Jose Mourinho's reign has dissipated quickly and Spurs are on a run of three consecutive blanks in the Premier League since the 2-2 draw at Norwich in the reverse fixture on December 28.
Harry Kane's injury and the lack of other forward options has played a significant part, leaving Tottenham's league campaign in danger of stagnation.
Mourinho initially put them back in Champions League contention but they dropped back again to eighth place following Saturday's 0-0 at Watford, which leaves them eight points off Chelsea in fourth.
Giovani Lo Celso is starting to become a midfield starter on a regular basis, with Christian Eriksen looking to be heading for the exit, and Japhet Tanganga is showing promise in defence.
Norwich gave themselves a lifeline with Saturday's hard-fought 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Bournemouth, which brought them back within hailing distance of Premier League security.
The Canaries are still bottom on 17 points, six points off a safe spot, with Daniel Farke targeting six more wins to give them a chance of staying up.
Central defender Ben Godfrey is suspended after Saturday's red card in his return from a five-week layoff with a knee injury. Grant Hanley is likely to deputise as before.
Scoring could come late
Mourinho's Premier League record with Tottenham is now W5 D2 L4 and it is not bad at all considering three of the four defeats were against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United - all in the top five - and the other was against Southampton, a recent form team.
The key issue seems to be whether he can solve the recent lack of goals but Tottenham should be able to score against Norwich even without Kane. In those circumstances Mourinho has won five out of seven in the Premier League (three out of three at home).
Norwich have not shown enough on the road to suggest an upset is likely, with just one win in 11 away games and only five goals scored. The win was 2-0 at Everton in late November just before Marco Silva was sacked by the Toffees and there is no sense that Tottenham are in such disarray.
Farke's side did put up a good performance to draw 1-1 at Leicester in mid-December, however, and Teemu Pukki's return to scoring form with Saturday's winner is a positive (his last goal had been the opener in the draw at Leicester).
The bet that draws the eye is the second half to have most goals at evens with Betfair Sportsbook. Norwich have put up several good first-half performances in recent games and it is conceivable the game could be quite tight initially.
Tottenham have had seven first-half blanks in 11 home games and five of their seven scoring games under Mourinho have had more goals after half-time.
Feast and famine
Tottenham's initial feast of goals under Mourinho has been followed by famine and it is too early to get a firm handle on where the new manager is going to take them on the goals front.
Overall this season Tottenham's goals have been on the high side, with 15 out of 23 (65%) going over 2.5 goals, although the figure drops to 55% at home.
Norwich have had most of their high-scoring games at home and on the road eight out of 11 (73%) have been under 2.5 goals, mainly as a result of their own lack of goals.