Norwich v Aston Villa: Lambert to celebrate on Norfolk return

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If you’ve been wondering why the Norwich City fan who sits next to you hasn’t been saying much all week, it’s because they’re saving their voices as to maximise heckling durability on Paul Lambert’s return to Carrow Road.

It’ll be the second time the fixture list has compelled him to venture back into the Canaries’ cauldron since he acrimoniously departed the club in the summer and, with safety that little bit closer thanks to their plundering six goals against a hapless Sunderland side earlier in the week, he’ll be dreaming that this venture is as fruitful as the last.

The Villans are rated at 15/8, making them slight underdogs in the wake of Norwich’s 11/8, while the draw can be backed at 12/5.

The bookies definitely give Villa a chance here and it’s easy to see why. After their destruction of the ‘Paolo Di Canio: Manager Extraordinaire’ bandwagon last time out, confidence will be higher than Peter Crouch perched on Everest’s summit in the visitor’s camp and Norwich can consider themselves lucky to be clear of the mire owing to some, frankly, garbage 2013 form.

Having impressed the nation with their inability to lose games in the build up to Christmas, they ended up stumbling through the safety ribbon. A pathetic two wins and a spattering of draws have just about ensured Chris Hughton’s boys with top flight status for another season; hardly the form to strike fear into any team, letting alone one who has just throttled a far superior outfit in their last game.

The thought of having to keep an eye on the unstoppable force that is Christian Benteke may well have churned the stomach of Ryan Bennett and his Norwich centre back comrades whenever they hear his name mentioned since he slammed three past the Black Cats. He can be backed at 11/8 to register a goal at any point in the contest which represents excellent value, while the 5/1 dictating he’ll break the deadlock isn’t too shabby either.

Expect the goal count to hit a high mark in this one too. Norwich don’t put too many away, but Villa haven’t kept a clean sheet in a ridiculous 24 outings. Both teams to bag at 8/11 is buying money, whereas over 3.5 strikes in the game looks a tempting prospect at 9/4.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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