The Canaries take on Southampton this weekend and will be looking for their first win of the season. Southampton on the other hand are undefeated after their first two games and will be looking to extend this run of positive results to three on Saturday.
Norwich appraoch this game on the back of a defeat to newly-promote Hull, and before that a decent performance that saw them draw against a strong Everton side. Still they have yet to get the very best out of their new signings and will be looking to take large strides in that regard. Leyroy Fer scuppered a glorious chance against Hull, and despite scoring against Everton van Wolfswinkle has only had two shots in target in two games. On the bright side Nathan Redmond has been looking very impressive and could prove to be the difference in this one.
Southampton began their Premier League campaign with a deserved win against West Brom in which they dominated most of the game. This was followed by a smash and grab draw against Sunderland who had led since the third minute before Fonte’s header settled the final score. Positives to take so far: James Ward-Prowse has been in surprisingly good form and has already created 7 chances for his team mates – 5 from open play and 2 from set pieces – and he has to assists to show for it. Luke Shaw as well has been bright with his quick, close-control running.
Indeed Norwich vs Southampton has the potential to be a cracker. Both teams will feel like they can get the win, both have new talent on display and as such this could be a very open game and one to look forward to on Match Of The Day.
To back up my prediction of a close fought and exciting encounter, four of the last six Premier League games between Norwich and Southampton have ended ended with the points shared, and Norwich’s last five home games have seen 18 goals scored.
Last season, Grant Holt (82) committed the most fouls in the Premier League, and following in his footsteps this season is Ricky van Wolfswinkel who similarly has committed the most fouls so far with 8.
Southampton are the greatest users of English players in the Premier League. 8 of the 16 players they have used so far have been English, which means 50% of their players so far have been from the league’s home nation.
After turning some heads against Everton and Hull, I have picked Nathan Redmond as the key player for Norwich in this one. He was brought in from Birmingham this summer as a young and promising winger, and has perhaps exceed expectations since his arrival. What has been particularly impressive is his enthusiasm, given his age and the fact that he has only just stepped up from the Championship to the Premiership. From the wing he has taken the most shots in the team, often cutting in when aiming for goal. With a 50% shooting accuracy he is bound to start scoring soon if he can keep up this level of shooting. His dribbling has also been strong and exciting, and in just two games he has attempted 15 dribbles, successfully completing 67% of those. If he can keep up what he’s shown so far then he could prove to be a match winner directly through scoring himself or providing the assist.
It’s a rather safe pick for Southampton’s key player this week. Rickie Lambert has yet to score from open play this season, his only goal so far coming from the penalty spot, and we all know that it is just a matter of time before he starts getting on the score sheet. He’s been extremely unlucky not to have scored from open play yet, and it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of trying. He’s recorded 11 shots in two games, with a shooting accuracy of 56%. He may have only scored once, but hey, any striker who is managing that many shots a game I would want in my team – the one thing in common with every prolific goal scorer is that they shoot A LOT. Along with his goal scoring potential he has created three chances for his team mates, and if he plays to his full potential this weekend, Norwich will find it hard to stop him.
Three players still on the injury list for Norwich: Hooper sits this out with a calf injury and will likely continue to do so until mid-September, and although Pilkington is on the verge of a return he will still likely miss this with a knee injury. Bennett is also out with an unknown return date.
Both Shaw and Schneiderlin are both doubts for Southampton with slight knocks, and will probably both face late fitness tests.
Southampton are favourites for this at 2.5, but Norwich are 3.05 to win so there isn’t a huge difference. I’m going to be true to my earlier expectations and go for a high scoring draw.
Draw: 3 – 3
Odds Via Pinnacle Sports
Since I expect goals in this one I would bet on there being three or more goals at 2.09.