Norwich vs Man CityEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Sep 14, 2019, Carrow Road
THE Premier League's super computer was cruel to newly-promoted Norwich City when it pitted them against last seasons top three in the opening five rounds of fixtures.
The Canaries have already locked hons with Liverpool and Chelsea, losing on both occasions, and now host heavyweight opposition for the second successive home game when they clash with champions Manchester City at Carrow road on Saturday evening.
Last time out Daniel Farke's men were turned over 2-0 at the London Stadium by West Ham and consequently entered the international break occupying a place in the Premier League relegation zone.
Yet, despite Norwich's difficult start to the campaign, Farke's free-flowing football has earned a lot of plaudits and his side will more than likely play without fear when star-studded Man City come to town.
There is much to be admired about seeing a newly-promoted side attacking with plenty of spirit, however in doing so Norwich have amassed the leakiest defence in the division after shipping 10 goals in four top-flight tussles to date
Such frailty doesn't bode well for a backline that is set to come up against one of the most formidable attacking teams in world football in the shape of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
What's more, Norwich's treatment table is inundated with defenders at the moment, the latest of whom is highly-rated right-back Max Aarons who limped out out of England Under 21 duty to join the likes of centre-backs Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley and Tim Klose on the sidelines, among others.
So all things considered, it's understandable to see why the Canaries are priced as high as 18/1 (Unibet) to topple the Citizens and an unfancied 17/2 (Unibet) with the same firm to pinch a point from Pep's superstars.
There is little value in backing an away win at 1/7 (William Hill) which is to be expected at Carrow Road, however given Farke's philosophy, coupled with Guardiola having a defensive headache of his own, the hosts could have their moments in East Anglia.
Temmu Pukki will lead the line for the home side fresh off the back of bagging a brace for Finland in Euro 2020 qualifiers against both Greece and Italy respectively.
Only Sergio Aguero has struck more times than Pukki in the Premier League thus far, so the lofty odds of 11/1 (Bet 365) for Pukki to score first will lure in some punters for sure, as will the 5/2 (Betway) that is available in the anytime goalscorer market.
However, better value could lie in having a flutter on the Finnish forward to register at least one shot a on target at at an eye-catching 4/6 (BoyleSports)
Given that the Carrow Road side won't be afraid of attacking Pep's patched up rearguard I'm also attracted to the Evens (Paddy Power) on offer for Norwich to notch up over 2.5 corners – an outcome that would have paid out in both of the Canaries home matches so far.
Whether or not Norwich can breach the Blues backline is another matter, and although both teams to score appeals at 4/5 (Betfred) , that outcome delivering profit will more than likely rest on the shoulders of the aforementioned Pukki who has scored five of his sides six league goals.
However, prior to their latest setback against West Ham, the hosts had managed to score in 30 consecutive league games and with that in mind backing an away win with both teams scoring at 5/4 (Betfred) is a tempting alternative to consider.
The reigning champions are the leading scorers in the Premier League at this stage after banging in 14 goals in four outings and in coming up against the worst defence in the division, it's no surprise to see that there is very limited value in the various total goals over markets.
In considering who will get on the scoresheet for City, as tends to be the case Sergio Aguero is the market leader in both the first goalscorer and anytime goalscorer listings at 3/1 (Betfred) and 6/10 (Ladbrokes) respectively.
However, with Raheem Sterling's scintillating form showing no signs of slowing down, the Argentine is not the only elite forward at City's disposal.
Sterling has evidently evolved under Guardiola's stewardship and his midweek masterclass against Kosovo was described as “unstoppable” by England boss Gareth Southgate.
With seven goals in his last six games for both club and country, I'm going to opt for an angle that has landed in both of the Citizens Premier League road trips this season and combine a Man City victory with Sterling scoring anytime at 4/5 (Bet 365)
This English Premier League match between Norwich and Man City will be played on Sep 14, 2019 and kick off at 17:30