This weekend, James O'Rourke is back with another exciting anytime goalscorer double, selecting the Norwich vs Swansea and Derby v Burton matches as his top picks.
Norwich vs Swansea
We are very much at the business end of the season in the EFL, and in the Championship in particular there is plenty to play for across almost the whole division. There are only four teams who we can definitely fit into the category of ‘having nothing to play for, and whilst some will argue Swansea should be included in this, their excellent run of form means the play-off is not 100% ruled out. Sure, it’ll take something special, but all they can do is win all three remaining games and see where it takes them. They have won their previous three already, and Norwich would be one of those sides they need to barely pick up any points in their upcoming fixtures. Two positions are seemingly being battled out by up to nine clubs, and with Blackburn and West Brom also holding a game in hand, Norwich really need to win three from three.
Whilst wins are needed, it is not necessarily scoring goals which Head Coach David Wagner will be most concerned about. Defensively they have some pretty alarming issues at present and that is what ultimately has cost them in recent matches. Take out the first-choice centre back pairing from any team and it’ll hurt them. Injuries to Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson have left The Canaries light in this area, to the point where midfielder Jacob Sørensen has had to fill in. He is someone who can play many positions, but he just isn’t a centre back, and coming up against talented strikers in this league leaves Norwich incredibly vulnerable.
It is therefore probably likely that one of the last people he and Norwich would’ve want to see in their next match is someone such as Joël Piroe. The Dutchman has been an integral part of Swansea since he made the move to Wales in 2021. He has produced a very healthy return of 18 Championship goals this season, including five in his last five. The 23-year-old is the main reason that Russell Martin’s side have recorded five wins across this six-match unbeaten streak. I just can’t trust Norwich defensively right now to keep him out, especially given their injury situations and general struggles.
Swansea can make the play-offs mathematically but I don’t think they are putting the amount of pressure on themselves to do it in comparison to a team like Norwich. Playing at Carrow Road, Norwich will have to really go for this, but Swansea can just play their football and go about their business as normal. They’re in their best form of the season, and so is Piroe. Therefore, a price of 13/5 with Bet365 on the former PSV to find the net at any point within the 90-minutes looks an absolute no-brainer. As a single bet it is more than enough, but I’m still prepared to throw it into this double.
Derby vs Burton
The second part of the Anytime Goalscorer Double sees us drop a division into League One, where Derby, hoping to earn an immediate return to the Championship, welcomes near neighbours Burton Albion to Pride Park. All the pressure is on The Rams to deliver the goods in this fixture as they don’t have their play-off destiny in their own hands with three matches remaining. Bolton occupy the final play-off spot due to a better goal difference, but they also have a game in hand on Derby. Boss Paul Warne will no doubt be telling his players that three wins from three would still likely do it. A recent switch to a new-look 3-4-2-1 was introduced in the hope of halting their indifferent run of form, and the midweek triumph at Exeter wasn’t a bad way to start this closing portion of the regulation season.
One thing that Warne most certainly won’t be doing is taking their Saturday opponent lightly. It may seem like ‘little old’ Burton to many from afar, this Brewers team have more than proved their capabilities in recent weeks. They are not mathematically safe from relegation, but it’d take something bordering on a miracle for them to drop into League Two for next season from this position. That was always the aim, especially when they had only won three league games before Boxing Day earlier in the campaign. Since the start of last month alone, Dino Maamria’s men have taken points against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Bolton and Wycombe. One caveat to that though is they all came at their Pirelli Stadium, and they’re somewhat more vulnerable on their travels. In away matches against current top-10 opposition this season, Burton have returned one draw and seven defeats.
Burton will turn up looking to somewhat spoil the party in one sense, and they’ll relish the challenge even more so knowing all the pressure is on their opponents, who were winning top division titles and competing in European competitions in the 70s. One man who has certainly been invaluable to Derby this season is forward David McGoldrick. At the age of 35, he has enjoyed his best goalscoring season of his fairly illustrious career. 21 goals from 36 league appearances, including netting in each of his last four (5 in total), is the reason why he is one of the main man at this level. A best price of 5/4 from William Hill is what you’ll get his for him to bag a goal at any point in this contest, but combining him and Piroe to score is a more than attractive 7/1 shot which may look very, very generous come 5pm on Saturday evening.
Anytime Goalscorer Tips
- Norwich v Swansea – Joel Piroe Anytime Goalscorer (13/5 Bet365)
- Derby v Burton – David McGoldrick Anytime Goalscorer (5/4 William Hill)
£10 double returns £71 profit