Norwich City has a chance to extend its English Premier League unbeaten string to eight games on Sunday Dec. 2 when they host a struggling Sunderland side at Carrow Road. Sunderland has won only twice in their past 21 league matches and once in their past eight and is actually just one point out of the relegation zone heading into the weekend fixtures. However, they’ve managed to beat 13th place Norwich three times in their past four meetings. Both teams have problems scoring goals, so this will likely be a low-scoring contest.
Norwich is tough to beat at home with three wins, two draws and just one loss. Two of the wins have been against Manchester United and Arsenal with their only loss being a 5-2 drubbing by Liverpool. Their last game was a 1-1 draw in Southampton during the week. There was some bad news in that game though as goalkeeper John Ruddy had to leave the pitch with just eight minutes to go due to a thigh injury. He was scheduled to undergo surgery on Dec. 1 to repair the damage and is expected to be out of action for about three months. It looks like Mark Bunn will take over in goal until Ruddy’s back, unless manager Chris Hughton looks for another keeper in the January transfer window. Hughton hopes that Russell Martin and Harry Kane will be healthy enough to play after sitting out with injuries.
Sunderland managed a 0-0 home draw against last-place Queens Park Rangers during the week. They have a win, a draw, and four losses in their last six games overall. Manager Martin O’Neill will likely have to do without team captain Lee Cattermole as the 24-year-old midfielder’s out of action with a pretty serious knee injury. Defenders and ex-Man United players Wes Brown and John O’Shea look like they’ll miss the match too. Brown has yet to play a game this campaign because of a calf problem.
Not only is Sunderland a low-scoring team, they also take the fewest shots in the league with just 36 of them on target during their first 13 games. They more or less rely on just one player to do all of their scoring, which is Scottish international striker Steven Fletcher. He has just one goal in his last nine matches though after scoring five times in the first four contests of the season. If he fails to score, then Sunderland is usually in deep trouble.
Norwich hasn’t exactly been putting the ball in the net on a regular basis either though. They haven’t managed to score more than once in their past eight league matches. Everything points to a low-scoring affair here and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if this game ended up in a draw. It might not be the most exciting game of the weekend, but it’s still quite an important one, especially for Sunderland as they try to distance themselves from the bottom three teams.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Norwich win at 23/20 with a Sunderland victory at 14/5 and a draw at 2/1.