Norwich are on the verge of the Premier League and should move a step closer with victory over QPR in Saturday's early kick-off.
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Norwich v QPR (Carrow Road, Sky Sports Football, 1230 BST)
Norwich are on the verge of a return to the Premier League. Daniel Farke's men sit seven points clear of third, only the most spectacular of collapses would see them remain in the Sky Bet Championship next season.
In QPR, they take on a side in free fall. That led to Steve McClaren's sacking at the beginning of the week. Results were far from acceptable, and while he would have achieved their aim of staying in the division, the fact that they could only post one league win in 2019 highlights why the board were likely fed-up of the way things were.
The R's have only won three of their last 17 in all competitions. Bizarrely, two of those games came against Leeds, who sit in second. In defence of Marcelo Bielsa's side, one of those games was against an under-23s side who fielded in the FA Cup.
It's difficult to argue that the victory over Leeds can give them confidence here. On the flip side, managerial changes are always stepping into the unknown, especially with a caretaker in charge who has been around the squad for a while but will undoubtedly bring new ideas to the table.
Norwich though have won nine of their last ten games. Their home form, alongside their overall form, is spectacular and that's why they are winning the title this season.
QPR have only managed one win in their last ten away games in all competitions, that includes defeats against promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough, Bristol City, Sheffield United and Leeds.
Victory for the home side looks incredibly likely and the fact that the Asian Handicap odds have drifted out from -1 to -1.25 for Norwich shows how the money is behind a Canaries victory.
While Teemu Pukki has been grabbing the headlines with his goals, alongside a nomination for the Player of the Season award, I've spoken previously about how Emiliano Buendia is the star of this Norwich side and he should shine again here.
His performances have been consistently good throughout the course of the campaign, but recent weeks have seen Buendia take his performances up to the next level and that's why he has been playing the large majority, if not all, of each game.
He's carried an attacking threat throughout and has posted a combined 12 shots in their last three games. That total also includes six shots in their last home game against Swansea, while he posted three in the home win over Bristol City.
There is value in the stats and, in particular, the 3/1 Sky Bet offer on Buendia to have two or more shots on target in this game. His style of play reflects in his shot totals, unafraid to try his luck on goal when the opportunity presents itself.
It's easy to back a convincing Norwich win here but recent weeks have shown how they've maybe been a bit more shaky with promotion staring them in the face. Most importantly though, they are still getting victories.
Each of their last four games have been victory by a single-goal margin, and there is potentially value in backing a similar outcome here. When exploring the handicap markets, the Draw (Norwich -1) is a general price of 11/4, which is certainly more appealing than the 4/9 available on a home victory.
Score prediction: Norwich 2-1 QPR (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
- Norwich have lost just one of their last 15 league matches at Carrow Road against QPR (W11 D3 L1), a 0-1 defeat in September 2008.
- QPR have failed to score in seven of their last 12 league matches against Norwich (W2 D3 L7).
- Norwich have won their last seven league matches, their best run since January 2010 in League One under Paul Lambert (eight in a row); it’s their best run at this level since May 2004 (seven wins), when they won the second tier under Nigel Worthington.
- QPR won their final away match of 2018 at Nottingham Forest – they’ve won none of their eight away from home in all competitions in 2019 (W0 D3 L5).
- With seven games remaining last season, Norwich City had 52 points in the Championship – 29 fewer than they have this season (81 points).
- QPR have won one of their last 19 away league matches played in April (W1 D4 L14), a 2-1 victory at West Brom in April 2015.
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Odds correct at 0915 BST (05/04/19)