Opposing Norwich paid rich dividends last weekend and one is keen to bet against the low-flying Canaries in their English Championship away match against Derby on Saturday.
Norwich is sixth on the English Championship ladder but, let us not beat around the bush, the Canaries in not far off a full-blown crisis. Promotion back to the English Premier League is the only acceptable outcome for Norwich this season but the Canaries are eight points off the second automatic position and they will not remain in the English Championship play-off places for very much longer unless they turn the corner versus Derby this weekend.
Alex Neil is a manager under all sorts of pressure. Norwich has not won any of its last half a dozen games across all competitions – one draw and five losses – and there is an even more alarming statistic than that one. Norwich has not kept a clean sheet in any of its last 10 competitive matches and, as the saying goes, defences win titles. Since beating Bristol City 1-0 in English Championship action in the middle of August, Norwich has played 17 games and shut out just one foe – Everton in the English Football League Cup.
Derby was travelling terribly a couple of months ago but the Rams have turned their English Championship campaign around, climbing the ladder to sit in 12th place, only four points fewer than Norwich. Derby is on a three-match winning run, including back-to-back home victories to nil over Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham and a strong win at Wolverhampton.
The raw English Championship ladder suggests that Norwich is superior to Derby but, according to one’s collateral form analysis, the opposite is true. Norwich and Derby have had 12 common English Championship opponents and one’s number crunching has the Canaries trailing the Rams 4-2-6. And Norwich’s English Championship collateral form figures compared to those of Derby would be even worse if one excluded games featuring the division’s weakest teams.
In summary, Derby has outperformed Norwich in English Championship outings against second-placed Brighton, seventh-placed Leeds, ninth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, 11th-placed Preston, 21st-placed Cardiff and cellar dweller Rotherham. Norwich has posted better English Championship results than Derby versus top-of-the-ladder Newcastle, 17th-placed Ipswich, 20th-placed Burton and 22nd-placed Blackburn. And one cannot split the English Championship efforts of Derby and Norwich versus 10th-placed Bristol City and 19th-placed Wolverhampton. So Derby enjoys a 6-2-4 English Championship collateral form edge over Norwich, which is 4-1-1 if one only counts those matches in which either the Rams or the Canaries faced top-half sides.
Martin Olsson was sent off early in Norwich’s 1-2 English Championship loss at Queens Park Rangers last weekend so he is guaranteed to be unavailable for the Canaries at Derby. Olsson is Norwich’s regular left back so Neil will have to rethink the Canaries defence for their next assignment.
Backing Derby to beat Norwich is a sound investment in light of the nice odds of +120 that Betfred and William Hill are offering about the Rams. But the purpose of this weekly column is to pick out value wagers at big odds so one’s main selection is Derby minus one goal at +325 with Coral.
Derby -1 to beat Norwich
Saturday 26th November, 15:00 GMT