Norwich City will be looking to return to the top two of the EFL Championship on Friday evening, when they welcome Birmingham City to Carrow Road for a televised encounter. The Canaries are without a win in five games in all competitions, though. Since they won away at Blackburn Rovers on December 22, Norwich have recorded three league draws, as well as a loss at home to Derby County. They were also knocked out of the FA Cup third round by League One side Portsmouth.
For Garry Monk’s Blues, a victory would also be very welcome. Birmingham currently sit in eighth place in the Championship table, 11 points behind Norwich in third. They have not won a game in any competition since beating Stoke City 2-0 at home on Boxing Day. Since then, they have drawn with Brentford (home) and Sheffield Wednesday (away), and then lost at West Ham in the FA Cup and at home to Middlesbrough in the league last weekend.
Norwich City vs Birmingham City Prediction: Norwich 2-0 Birmingham
Although Norwich have been struggling recently, our prediction is that they will return to winning ways this weekend with a convincing 2-0 win over the Blues at Carrow Road. Norwich are unbeaten in six home league matches against Birmingham since March 2002. Birmingham have also won just once in their last 14 league matches (including play-off games) against Norwich, so history is against the Blues in this game. The Blues are also in a bit of slump right now, not having won in their last three games, and we expect that slump to continue on Saturday in Norfolk.
Our recommended tip: Norwich 2-0
Our featured tip for this game comes from William Hill. They are offering a price of 7/1 on Norwich winning the game 2-0, which matches our prediction for how things will turn out. We might have to wait until the dying minutes of the game for the Canaries to score those goals, though. The Canaries have scored more goals than any other team in the last 10 minutes of league games in 2018/19, having netted 10 times in the closing stages of matches. The Canaries also average just over 15 shots per game, so we expect them to create enough chances to score twice.
There is a nice symmetry to the history of results between these teams. They have faced each other 69 times in total in football history in competitive games, with both sides winning 23 times, and there having been 23 draws. The game at St Andrews in the Championship earlier this season was a bit of thriller. It ended in a 2-2 draw, with all the goals coming in the second half. Birmingham went into a 56th minute lead, only for Norwich to equalise in the 83rd minute. Blues still had time to take the lead, before the Canaries equalised again deep into injury time.
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Players to watch: Onel Hernandez & Lukas Jutkiewicz
Canaries winger Onel Hernandez is a player to keep an eye on. The Cuban international bagged a brace of goals when his side faced the Blues at St Andrews earlier in the season. His two late goals meant that the Canaries came back from 2-0 down to draw the game, and also cemented his reputation as something of a cult figure at Carrow Road. He has provided four goals and seven assists this season in total.
Birmingham striker Lukas Jutkiewicz has weighed in with 10 goals and nine assists for the Blues in the Championship this season. The target man has benefitted from the faith shown in him by his manager. After being a bit-part player under Harry Redknapp last season, Jutkiewicz has been a regular under Monk, and believes that he has benefitted from the faith shown in him by his manager. He certainly seems to be thriving at St Andrews these days.