Norwich v Man City: Hosts may be able to keep goal count in check

Norwich aren't the pushovers they once were and Dean Smith's side could give leaders Man City a decent test on Saturday evening, says Dave Tindall...

Norwich on the up

Norwich have slipped back into the bottom three again but it's not long ago that they were cast-iron certainties for the drop.

Dean Smith has definitely shaken things up and made a serious difference and it's now seven points out of the last nine on offer after wins over Everton and Wolves along with a draw against Crystal Palace.

The Canaries went ahead inside a minute against Palace on Wednesday night but were probably happy enough to take a point given that Wilfred Zaha fluffed a penalty for the visitors with the score at 1-1.

Add in FA Cup wins over Charlton and Wolves, and Norwich's last six results in all competitions show four wins, one draw and one defeat. That's the sort of form a top-four chasing side would be happy with.

This is obviously a huge step up but Norwich fans will be quick to point out that they beat Manchester City the last time the two sides met at Carrow Road. That was two seasons ago when goals from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki secured a shock 3-2 win.

Man City on track for yet another title

Plenty have already handed the title to Manchester City and the market agrees: Pep Guardiola's men just 1.14 to win their fourth Premier League crown in five years.

The gap over Liverpool remains nine points following the midweek action although the Reds still have a game in hand.

The Citizens hardly set pulses racing with their 2-0 home win over Bournemouth on Wednesday, a performance that left us guessing a little bit.

Was this just a machine-like, get-the-job-done display that might become the norm over the next few months? Or are City not quite at their best having drawn 1-1 with Southampton in their previous Premier League game.

Pep's men will resume their Champions League campaign on Tuesday night as they travel to Lisbon to face Sporting.

Of course, they have a deep squad which can be fight on numerous fronts but goals aren't coming as easily right now as shown by just seven in their last five Premier League matches.

Man City price too dismissive of Norwich

Manchester City are predictably short at 1.19 to make it 10 away Premier League wins out of 14. Norwich are 20 to repeat their shock from two seasons ago while The Draw is 8.8Because of Man City's ultra-short price, there's scope then to look at the handicap markets where Norwich +2 is 2.74 and Norwich +3 trades at 1.67.

It seems fair to think that Smith's side can give the leaders a game so I'll take Norwich +2, giving us a home win, a draw or defeat by a single goal.

Under 3.5 goals makes appeal on latest evidence

The market could be overestimating the goal count given Man City's modest tally in recent top-flight games. Over 2.5 is just 1.48 while Unders is 2.92.

Under 3.5 adds a bit of insurance and that trades at a still reasonable 1.79. It's landed in each of Norwich's last seven matches in all competitions while Under 3.5 backers have collected in Man City's last five Premier League matches.

The champions may be happy to just tick off games like this, especially with Europe kicking back in, while Norwich aren't the pushovers they once were.

De Bruyne best Bet Builder option

It's always tricky to put up a Man City goalscorer in a Premier League game before a European tie as Pep may hold some of his best weapons back.

Riyad Mahrez is odds-on to score here, as are a number of those in sky blue while even Jack Grealish is just 6/4 despite having managed just two Premier League goals all season.

If picking anyone out, I'd probably go for Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is knocking them in at a good rate and took his tally to five in eight PL games with the second against Brentford.

On the Bet Builder, De Bruyne to score in a Man City win and Under 3.5 Goals is 6.3.

From a Norwich viewpoint, Pukki to score and Under 3.5 Goals is just over 11.0. The Finn scored against Palace in midweek and against City in this fixture two seasons ago.

Opta stat

Norwich have won seven points from their last three Premier League games (W2 D1), just one fewer than they had in their previous 12 before this (W2 D2 L8). Dean Smith is looking to become the first Norwich manager to go unbeaten for four Premier League matches since Chris Hughton in February 2013.

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