Chris Hughton
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Norwich need to bank more points before nightmare run-in

| 28.03.2014

Seven points above the drop zone with seven games left to play, Norwich City would on the face of it be a safe bet to avoid demotion from the Premier League. There are five teams in front of them in Coral’s relegation market and two of those, Cardiff and Fulham, are long odds-on to be playing in the Championship next season.

But as has been well documented, the Canaries face a nightmare final four-game run-in (Liverpool at home, Manchester United away, Chelsea away and Arsenal at home) so it is imperative that they get some points in the bank before then against Swansea away, West Brom at home and Fulham away.

A 2-0 win over Sunderland last weekend has done Chris Hughton’s team a power of good, both in terms of points and morale, but they could do with something at Swansea, who have been dragged to the fringes of the relegation mire themselves after a winless run of six games.

To be fair, the Swans have gone close at Everton (2-3) and Liverpool (3-4) and drawn at Arsenal (2-2) in that time and they also gave a very good account of themselves against Napoli in the Europa League.

Coral make Swansea 8/11 to win this and that looks fair enough with Michu now back in action. But Norwich will go into their next three games as though their Premier League life depends on it – which it might – and I fancy they can come back from South Wales with a draw (13/5).

There are six-pointers and SIX-POINTERS and West Brom v Cardiff definitely falls into the latter category.

Cardiff (100/30) are probably doomed to relegation if they can’t get something out of this, but they have been playing well enough in recent matches (without getting much out of them) to suggest that all is not quite lost yet.

With Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh still out injured, it’s hard to know where Crystal Palace will find a goal against Chelsea (4/11) who will move four points clear at the top, at least until Manchester City and Liverpool play later this weekend, if they win at Selhurst Park, which they should do with something to spare.

Patience has suddenly worn very thin after Manchester United’s two dispiriting heavy home defeats to Liverpool and Man City and David Moyes needs a pick-me-up just to keep a (minority) section of the crowd off his back.

Fortunately, this weekend’s opponents are Aston Villa, a team that have rarely given United (4/9) any problems down the years, although they would be by no means the first side this season to buck the statistics at Old Trafford.



Jon Freeman