Promotion challengers Norwich City make the long trip from Norfolk to Lancashire this weekend, to take on struggling Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Championship. While the Canaries are in second place in the league table, they head into this game on the back of a 3-1 defeat away at Preston in midweek, a result which ended a two-game winning streak. It was also their first league defeat of 2018, with their last loss in the Championship being when they were beaten 4-3 by Derby County on December 29.
For Bolton, the 2018/19 season has been a real challenge so far. Phil Parkinson’s team are in 23rd place in the league table, three points away from the league’s safe positions. They head into the clash with Norwich on the back of their first league victory since Boxing Day, though. The Trotters won 1-0 away at Birmingham City on Wednesday evening.
Bolton Wanderers vs Norwich City Prediction: Trotters 0-2 Canaries
Our prediction for this game is that the Canaries will continue their charge for promotion with a comfortable 2-0 victory in Lancashire. We also suspect that Teemu Pikku will be on the scoresheet again. Bolton may have managed to win in midweek, but their issues run deep, and they do not score enough goals, having scored just four times in their last six games in all competitions.
Norwich will be stinging after suffering an unexpected defeat in midweek, and we anticipate a very positive reaction to that setback to come from Daniel Farke’s players. A 2-0 victory looks like a very likely outcome.
Our recommended tip: Norwich to nil
Our featured tip for this game comes courtesy of British betting giant William Hill, who are offering odds of 7/4 on Norwich winning the game to nil. We strongly suspect that the Canaries will prove much too strong for Bolton, even at the Macron Stadium. Bolton may have enjoyed an encouraging win in midweek, but they had been in pretty dreadful recent form up to that point. Backing Daniel Farke’s team to win to nil also gives you a bit of leeway when it comes to the final score, and odds of 7/4 offer some decent potential returns.
These two sides have met 51 times in their history, with Bolton have won 18 of those games. Norwich have won 21 times and there have been 18 draws.
The most recent encounter between the sides was earlier this season, when they met in the EFL Championship at Carrow Road on December 8. A thrilling match ended in a 3-2 win for the home side, but it took a Teemu Pukki strike in injury time at the end of the 90 minutes to seal the win. Bolton had levelled matters at 2-2 with their own injury time strike before the Norwich winner was scored.
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Players to watch: Josh Magennis & Teemu Pukki
Bolton striker Josh Magennis is his club’s top league scorer this season. The fact that he has scored just four goals in 31 league appearances this year shows the extent of Wanderers’ problems when it comes to attack. If Parkinson’s side are to have any chance at all at the weekend of getting a result, they need their strikers like Magennis to find some proper form. Otherwise results like Wednesday’s win will be very rare.
Norwich’s Finnish striker Teemu Pukki has emerged as a key player in the Canaries’ push for promotion in 2018/19. The former Celtic man has scored 21 goals in his 29 Championship games this season, as well as weighing in with five assists. It took him just 28 league games to reach 20 Championship goals for the season, making him the fastest player to reach 20 in a season for Norwich in the last 50 years.