Norwich City v Leeds United,
Sunday, October 31st, Carrow Road, kick off 2pm

by John Spillane

Two sides in desperate need of a victory meet on Sunday as Marcelo Bielsa takes his Leeds side, lying in 17th , to bottom club Norwich.

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Winless after nine games, Daniel Farke’s side have picked up just two points and are five points behind their opponents. The worrying statistic is that their goal difference is -21, is 12 goals worse than anyone else in the division. They don’t score often and concede regularly, with two goals for (Pukki) and 23 conceded. Midfielder Emi Buendia who stood out in the Championship left for Aston Villa and the combined £19m spent on Milat Rashica and Christos Tzolis has yet to reap dividends, with neither getting much playing time. Billy Gilmour also arrived on loan from Chelsea, but he too has struggled to make the desired impact. Two years ago, when they suffered relegation Teemu Pukki’s goals kept them competitive, but he needs more support.

The defence, with Tim Krul in goal, is marshalled by Grant Hanley, with Max Aarons supporting. Prior to the 7-0 loss at Chelsea, they had played out successive goal less draws with Burnley (a) and Brighton (h). Youngster Josh Sargent has recently seen game time upfront, but they have now gone five games, in all competitions, since hitting the net.

After a very bright return to the top flight, which brought a ninth-place finish, Leeds are finding this season a tougher challenge. Built on a compact squad, who were fortunate with injuries, they have had to suffer the losses of key individuals Kalvin Phillips (available again this weekend) and Patrick Bamford during this campaign. Rodrigo has been unable to make the same impact as Bamford, and new signing Daniel James has yet to make his mark. On the bright side, Raphinha continues to cause problems for defences and 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt came off the bench against Wolves last week and was instrumental in the side recovering to pick up a point, thanks to late penalty equaliser from Rodrigo.
After last week’s humiliation Norwich will feel like this is the perfect opportunity to bounce back. However, their struggles at both ends of the pitch suggest that a narrow away victory is the likely outcome.

Suggested bet : Leeds to win (Evs at bet365)

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