Too Close To Call In Promotion Chasers ClashStats
Derby v Norwich
Two promotion-chasing sides, Derby and Norwich, meet at Pride Park this Saturday in what is shaping up to be a tight affair.
A 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough last weekend, followed by the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup in midweek make for a disappointing seven days in the life of a Derby County fan. It’s now three defeats in their last four for the Rams and from a position at the top of the table last Friday, they could finish this weekend as low as 6th position, such is the competitiveness in this division.
Steve McClaren’s side have twice been held to draws in three home games against top-half teams this season and were also held by Millwall at Pride Park earlier in the campaign.
Chris Martin is the club’s top scorer with 14 league and cup goals this season, but the Scot has only scored twice in his last nine games for club and country.
Following a run of just one win in 10 for Norwich, they arrive in Derby this weekend having won back-to-back games against Wigan and Huddersfield and in doing so have moved up to 7th position in the Championship table.
Cameron Jerome took his tally for the season into double figures with the Canaries’ fourth goal in a 5-0 rout of Huddersfield last Saturday. Bradley Johnson scored two and Lewis Grabham was also on the scoresheet in Neil Adams’ side’s biggest win of the campaign.
Derby will be without Jake Buxton following his red card in the midweek Capital One Cup defeat, but Ryan Shotton should slot straight back into the side as he returns from suspension.
Norwich could opt to name the same starting XI for the third straight game, should Gary O’Neill recover from the problem that forced him off at half-time seven days ago.
Norwich won both head-to-head games during the 2010/11 season with this fixture at Pride Park ending 2-1 in favour of the visitors as Chris Martin scored what proved to be the winner. Simeon Jackson scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 win for the Canaries at Carrow Road.
It’s difficult to know quite where to pitch Derby at the moment; the bare form figures don’t make for particularly good reading, but the previous two defeats – at Middlesbrough and at home to Chelsea – are absolutely nothing to be concerned about as results in isolation. Will those midweek excursions have an effect? Have the defeats left wounds that will need time to heal?
We must also consider the recent form of Norwich, who look to have found the right tone in recent weeks with a couple of back-to-back wins. The draw, at odds of 12/5, is the logical conclusion by my reckoning.
I’d also advise avoiding any temptation to back Chris Martin in the goalscorer markets due to his recent relatively barren spell, while goals in general may be hard to come by and so Under 2.5 goals at odds of 20/23 looks another good bet.