Stoke v Norwich: Goals to come at a premium at the Britannia
As Stoke prepare to welcome Norwich at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday, even the kings of hyperbole at Sky Sports may struggle to sell this one as a potential goalfest.
Only relegated QPR scored fewer goals than these two sides last season, and with only seven goals from ten games between them so far this time round, the signs are that the same issues still exist despite a summer of spending.
Norwich boss Chris Hughton shelled out to bring in strikers Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Johan Elmander, with fan favourite Grant Holt being allowed to move to Wigan, while new Stoke gaffer Mark Hughes opted to boost his creative options in midfield instead, bringing in Stephen Ireland, Marko Arnautovic and Oussam Assaidi, keeping faith with Kenwyne Jones and Jon Walters in attack.
But with Norwich boasting only one goal from their new look strikeforce, and Stoke’s defenders having bothered the back of the net more times than their forwards, it’s clear things aren’t quite clicking offensively for either club.
Add to that the fact that both encounters between these two finished 1-0 to the home side last season, and it’ll be hard to begrudge any neutrals who opt to pop out for their Sunday lunch instead of staying in and watching the action.
But of course there’s money to be made from such likely profligacy in front of goal. Another 1-0 home win (there have been three such results from the four Premier League meetings between the two) looks highly tempting at 6/1, while this could be a game for backing long odds goalscorers.
Ryan Shawcross, at 25/1 to score first, has already bagged one this season and is a constant threat at set pieces, while defensive partner Robert Huth is similarly effective in the box and is 16/1 to add to his tally of 13 career goals for the Potters.
The home side have scored only once in the first half this season and the away side are yet to do so, making the draw/home bet at 7/2 another stand out punt in the half-time/full-time market.
Along with their lack of potency in front of goal, Chris Hughton will be increasingly concerned about Norwich’s form on the road. The Canaries managed only two away wins last time round while their two trips this year have seen defeats to nil. Stoke to keep a clean sheet is available at 11/8.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.