NORWICH VS ALBION
NORWICH VS ALBION, Norwich City vs Brighton & Hove Albion, Albion manager Chris Hughton confirmed Sam Baldock [glut] will be unavailable again, but has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Friday’s game at Carrow Road. Shane Duffy [foot] and Connor Goldson [heart condition] are the only other absentees, with both defenders unlikely to feature in any of Albion’s final three games of the season.
For Norwich, Matt Jarvis (hip) is unlikely to feature after suffering a fresh injury blow playing for the club’s under-23 side, while Youssouf Mulumbu is also a doubt.
Brighton secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history after beating Wigan Athletic 2-1 on Monday, with Huddersfield Town’s draw at Derby County sealing the deal in the late kick-off.
Glenn Murray and Solly March scored goals to put the Seagulls 2-0 ahead, and despite Nick Powell’s late consolation, Albion held on before thousands of supporters flooded onto the pitch to celebrate promotion.
The Seagulls had moved closer to promotion after stringing together four successive victories, starting with a 1-0 home success over Blackburn Rovers, with Murray finding the back of the net.
Another three points were secured against Birmingham City at the Amex, as goals from Murray, Tomer Hemed and Uwe Huenemeier wrapped things up in a 3-1 win.
Murray was on the scoresheet again as Albion overcame Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road, with Sebastien Pocognoli adding a second with a superb free kick.
Another clean sheet and three points came against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, as Anthony Knockaert’s double moved the Seagulls one step closer to reaching the Premier League.
Norwich have had an inconsistent month with two victories and three defeats, beginning with back-to-back away losses at Aston Villa and Huddersfield, as they were beaten 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.
Alan Irvine’s team then bounced back with a jaw-dropping 7-1 victory over play-off contenders Reading at Carrow Road, before losing 3-1 to ten-man Fulham at home.
The Canaries head into Friday’s game on the back of an impressive 3-1 win over Preston North End at Deepdale, as goals from Graham Dorrans, Josh Murphy and James Maddison secured all three points.
Saturday’s game will be the 87th meeting between the two clubs. Norwich have enjoyed 32 victories over Albion, with the Seagulls winning on 30 occasions, while a further 24 games have ended in a draw.
Albion ended a seven-game streak without victory over the Canaries with an emphatic 5-0 win at the Amex earlier this season, as Murray’s hat-trick and goals from Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert secured the points.
Their previous win before that came in 2002 on Boxing Day, when Steve Sidwell, during his first spell at the club, struck in the first half to give the Seagulls maximum points at Carrow Road.
There have been five or more goals in three of the last five meetings between the sides, with Albion sharing the spoils in an entertaining 3-3 draw back in 2014, when Gary Hooper scored a late equaliser after goals from Bruno, Kazenga LuaLua and Adrian Colunga.
Norwich City’s season has been an ultimately underwhelming one. The Canaries began the season hopeful of a return to the Premier League following last year’s relegation, but ultimately Alex Neill has been unable to deliver this term and as such, he was recently replaced by his former assistant Alan Irvine on a temporary basis until the end of the season.
Irvine has been able to get the best out of his Canaries outfit on a couple of occasions but in reality, their play-off chances have been dented massively by performances earlier in the campaign and the inconsistency that has held them back all season is still evident under the ex-West Brom boss. The home side remain favourites here though at 11/8 with BetVictor.
Brighton & Hove Albion have finally confirmed their long-awaited first ever promotion to the Premier League. Since moving into their impressive AMEX Stadium, the aim for the South Coast club has been promotion to the top tier of English football and following another fantastic season under the guidance of Chris Hughton after last year’s play-off disappointment, that aim has been achieved.
Having won their last five consecutive Championship matches following what appeared at the time to be a pivotal defeat at Leeds United, the Seagulls have wrapped up promotion and are now looking to end the season in the best possible way by lifting the trophy and three points at Carrow Road at odds of 2/1 with bet365 on Friday night will secure them the title.
Norwich have looked strong going forward in recent weeks, particularly in their 7-1 hammering of play-off chasing Reading. The Canaries have the likes of Cameron Jerome and Nelson Oliveira to call upon in attack and in front of their home fans, we expect them to find the net here. Brighton however are riding on the crest of a wave at the moment and should still take the points. The match result and both teams to score bet is 4/1 with bet365.
Anthony Knockaert has arguably been the best player in the Sky Bet Championship this season. The Frenchman has racked up 15 goals from his advanced midfield position, including two in the win at Wolves last weekend. The ex-Leicester City man will be desperate to return to the Premier League in style and we fancy him to add another goal to his tally here at 7/4 with