Thursday, May 23, 2024

Prediction: Norwich vs Leeds

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

With the Championship play-off semi-finals getting underway on Sunday lunchtime, Norwich will welcome Leeds to Carrow Road this weekend.

Norwich

Starting with the hosts, while Norwich might have opened up the New Year facing an uphill battle in the race to claim a play-off ticket, David Wagner’s men have enjoyed an eye-catching end to the campaign. Despite signing off their regular-season adventure with a 1-0 defeat away at Birmingham, the Canaries have lost just a pair of their previous 10 Championship appearances. Looking to pick up what would be a crucial first-leg advantage here, the former Huddersfield boss has seen his squad gain a reputation for their continued success on home soil. In fact, Norwich are remarkably unbeaten in all of their last six straight showdowns at Carrow Road – a purple patch that stems all the way back to a 3-1 defeat against Blackburn back on November 5th.

Team News

Not making a single appearance since the end of February, Norwich will once again be unable to call upon One Hernandez on Sunday lunchtime. Likewise, 21-year-old defender Liam Gibbs remains on the sidelines with a muscle injury and will not feature in Wagner’s squad at Carrow Road.

Continuing to receive a string of plaudits this season and recording 16 Championship goals, USA international Joshua Sargent will have a leading role to play this weekend. While homegrown starlet Jonathan Rowe might not have made a single start since January 24th, the 21-year-old could make a timely full return here.

Leeds

As for the visitors, Although Leeds might have entered March’s international break with their sights set on securing an automatic Premier League return, Daniel Farke’s side are in the midst of a recent rut. Last seen signing off their regular-season adventure with a 2-1 defeat at home against fellow play-off outfit Southampton, the Lilywhites have shown a string of issues since returning from March’s international break. Coming under a huge amount of scrutiny last month as they signed off April with an infamous 4-0 drumming against QPR, the Yorkshire-based outfit have claimed just a single win from any of their previous six Championship appearances. With the former Norwich boss bracing himself for a tricky return to Carrow Road this weekend, Sunday’s guests will have plenty of pressure on their shoulders here.

Team News

Not making a single appearance across any competition since way back on Boxing Day after dealing with a long-term groin injury, Leeds will once again be without skipper Pascal Struijk on Sunday lunchtime. It remains to be seen if former Manchester United winger Daniel James will be able to make a timely return here.

In what could potentially be a huge boost this weekend, Farke’s side are hopeful that England international Patrick Bamford can play some part at Carrow Road. Settling for a spot on the bench against Southampton last week, 18-year-old sensation Archie Gray should return at right-back.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Norwich and Leeds met for their most recent meeting on January 24th, the Whites collected a 1-0 victory at Elland Road.
    • Leeds have won all of their previous four straight showdowns against the Canaries by an aggregate score of 8-4.
    • However, Sunday’s guests have claimed just a single victory from any of their previous six Championship appearances.
    • Norwich have remarkably not suffered a single defeat from any of their last 16 consecutive appearances at Carrow Road.
    • The Canaries have collected just a single clean sheet from any of their last five showdowns against Championship opposition.

    Conclusion

    While Norwich might be bracing themselves for a real challenge over the next few days, Sunday’s hosts will be excited to open their play-off adventure at Carrow Road this weekend. Despite losing all of their last four meetings against Leeds by an aggregate score of 8-4, they will be looking to cash in on Farke’s downbeat squad. With the Whites really limping their way over the finishing line, neutrals could be treated to an enjoyable first-leg battle from Norfolk.

    Verdict: Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 8/11

    Bookmaker: Olympusbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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