Long overdue Norwich win couldn’t have been better timed

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It had been a long time since Norwich had won a Premier League game. The 10-match, two-month wait came at a time of the season when winless streaks result in relegation. But against West Brom at the weekend a glimmer of survival hope appeared.

Robbie Brady’s 50th-minute strike handed the Canaries their first set of three points since beating Southampton in the first league game of 2016. It was their second consecutive game without defeat, after the goalless draw with Manchester City.

An injection of confidence from those results couldn’t be more timely, with a trio of relegation rivals on the horizon.

Ladbrokes still make the East Anglian side one of three likely candidates to fill the remaining spots among the relegation zone this season.

Betting has been suspended on a calamitous Aston Villa side dropping into the second tier, but Norwich’s price of 4/6 makes them the third favourites to join them, behind north-east rivals Sunderland and Newcastle.

That pair do battle on Sunday afternoon, with Norwich fans praying for a draw that will protect the three-point lead their yellow-and-green club have built over the Black Cats in 17th.

Even if the Tyne-Wear derby doesn’t produce the required result, Alex Neil’s men must still look at their upcoming fixtures with glee.

Their next three games are against sides directly competing with them for survival. Wins against any number of them will greatly improve the Canaries chances of beating the drop.

First up comes the Magpies at home, which Norwich are 13/10 favourites to win. Then a slumping Crystal Palace, who haven’t won in 2016, play host, before Sunderland arrive at Carrow Road on April 16.

It’s easy to say that those three matches will define Norwich’s season, but having finally thrown the win monkey from their backs, the chance to pull clear of their relegation rivals looks a good one.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.