Liam Kelly previews Everton's trip to face bottom-of-the-league Norwich, forecasting another rough day in front of goal for the Canaries.
1pt Everton to keep a clean sheet at 13/8 (Sky Bet)
Norwich look destined for the drop after another uninspiring display in midweek, comfortably beaten by two goals to nil at West Ham (xG: WHU 2.76 - 0.34 NOR), failing to test a short-handed defence.
With opponents Everton finally beginning to welcome back some notable absentees, the Toffees could make the situation stickier, looking to recover from a poor run of form in the Premier League.
Alas, this is the match-up you would want to do such a thing.
Since Dean Smith started his Norwich tenure with a 2-1 win over Southampton, his team have scored only one goal in the following eight league matches — against a Newcastle side with a dreadful defence that were down to 10-men for 80+ minutes.
Not much research is required then to come to the conclusion that EVERTON TO KEEP A CLEAN SHEET looks the value pick in this match-up.
It's a surprise to see the price as big as 13/8 at Sky Bet considering Norwich's efforts in 2021/22, displaying a simply staggering ineptitude in front of goal.
The Canaries have scored just eight goals in 20 Premier League games this season, two of which have been penalties.
Admittedly, they have underperformed underlying metrics massively, creating chances equating to 18.1 expected goals for (xGF) in pursuit of those eight goals, but an average of 0.91 xGF per game is still a poor return.
Everton aren't the most trustworthy when it comes to their defensive process this campaign, but additions have already been made in that area this transfer window, and the move of out-of-favour left-back Lucas Digne to Aston Villa will make no difference given the circumstances of the past few months.
Rafa Benítez's side have also struggled to make an impact going forward when playing away from Goodison Park this season, averaging only 1.21 xGF per game on the road.
With that in mind, this might be a close game. All the more reason to be intrigued by the price about Norwich failing to score.
Incredibly, they remain in with a shout for survival despite the problems in attack, so even a point via a goalless draw might be satisfactory to Smith and Norwich.
Everton should edge it, though. But backing them to keep a clean sheet is the play.
Score prediction: Norwich 0-1 Everton (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
Odds correct at 1630 GMT (13/01/22)
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