- Norwich failed to score in seven of their last eight Premier League games.
- Brighton drew five of their last eight Premier League fixtures.
- Brighton failed to register in four of their last five league contests.
- Under 2.5 goals were scored in nine of Brighton’s last 12 fixtures.
Canaries flying low
Norwich City’s weakening grip on their top-flight status was loosened further on Wednesday evening, when they were thumped 4-0 in an Emirates mauling by a rampant Arsenal team in the capital.
The Canaries’ defeat, which was their third on the spin in the Premier League since the restart leaves them firmly rooted to the bottom of the table, a full seven points from safety – and with relegation back to the Championship looking certain, thoughts have already turned to next season.
Carrying the worst goal scoring record and the joint leakiest defence in the division, City have little positivity to turn to ahead of their latest test against Brighton on Saturday, and following their FA Cup exit to Man Utd last weekend, Daniel Farke has a job on to keep his players motivated for the season’s remaining fixtures.
Brighton brought back down the earth
After impressive back-to-back restart results in wins over Arsenal and a draw at Leicester, Brighton’s momentum was halted in emphatic fashion on Tuesday when they were dismantled 3-0 at home by Manchester United.
With a six-point buffer between them and the dropzone already established however, The Seagulls won’t be in a flap, and Graham Potter will know that even one more win between now and the end of the campaign will probably be enough to cement their place in the top tier for another season.
Having won just twice in 17 Premier League attempts since November last year, victories remain in short supply for Albion however, though their return of just three defeats from their last 10 points to a toughening exterior.
Goals expected to be in short supply in East Anglia
While their struggles in the final third have been evident for most of the campaign, Norwich City have looked particularly toothless since the restart, failing to register in three of the four matches they contested overall in league and cup.
That single strike they did muster, hit from distance by Tod Cantwell against Man Utd in the FA Cup quarter final, was an effort that probably should have been saved by Red Devils’ stand-in Sergio Romero.
With Teemu Pukki’s touch in front of goal deserting him, and a supporting staff of Emiliano Buendia, Onel Hernandez, Marco Stiepermann and Josip Drmic others looking short of confidence, the Canaries look desperately short of game changers.
Since February 1, Norwich failed to score in seven out of 10 assignments, and hit just a single goal in the other three, and at Saturday lunchtime, the Canaries’ blunt front line will face a Brighton attacking unit that scored one or fewer goals in 11 out of 12 fixtures since the turn of the year.
Like their hosts, Brighton’s output up front is alarmingly poor, though the Seagulls at least have some decent defensive numbers to point at. As a result, under 2.5 goals were registered in nine of the aforementioned 12 matches they contested since January 1 – and we think their clash with Norwich has all the makings of another low on excitement event.
With that considered, the under 2.5 goal market looks an excellent option at the odds available, while our correct score prediction points towards a 0-0 draw.
Despite their heavy defeat to Man Utd in mid-week, Brighton’s form and performances have been better than Norwich’s, however, Albion lack the firepower to turn draws into wins at present, as evidenced by their record of drawing five of their last eight Premier League fixtures.
The last two of those ties finished 0-0, while Brighton failed to find the net in four of their last five league run outs overall. On Saturday, they face a Norwich outfit that failed to score in seven of their last eight, and we think another uninspiring game and stalemate is likely.
Key Battle: Alexander Tettey vs Leandro Trossard
On a night of few positives, Leondro Trossard’s second half performance from the bench in Brighton’s 0-3 reverse at home to Man Utd was encouraging.
The Belgian winger added some much-needed dynamism to Albion’s lifeless attack, and his impact should be rewarded with a start at Norwich on Saturday.
Holding midfielder Alexander Tettey, who played as an emergency centre-back at Arsenal, should move forward into his more natural position this weekend, and that should put him in the same areas that Trossard likes to exploit.
The 34-year-old, who has endured a tough campaign, will need to be right on his game to keep his creative opponent under wraps.
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