Aston Villa are aiming for their third victory of the season following the string of under-par results, whereas Norwich hope to continue the good run and stay well clear of the danger zone. The Villans are considered favourites in this clash, but they cannot afford to underestimate very good Norwich side.
Villa can do much better
With Martin O’Neill leaving the club at the start of last season and his successor Gerard Houllier also forced to quit due to health issues, Aston Villa desperately needed a coach who can add some stability to the side and it looks as though Alex McLeish has brought just that. After the initial resentment towards the man who coached Villa’s fierce rivals subsided, everyone could see just how good Big Eck really was. Players like Stephen Warnock, Alan Hutton, Fabian Delph and Gabriel Agbonlahor, who were largely struggling the previous season, showed a massive improvement under the new boss, whereas the whole team now look much better than last term. In all fairness, the results are still worse than they should be, but as long as Villa continue to play at this level, they will have no problems climbing further up the Premiership standings. Boosted by the good performance away to Sunderland, where they were very close to recording a valuable win, the Villans enter the Norwich game in great spirits and they have to be considered favourites for the win.
Alex McLeish is unlikely to make any changes to the starting line-up, even if Jermaine Jenas should finally be in contention.
Amazing start for Norwich
Alongside Newcastle, Norwich have got to be considered the surprise package of the season, seeing that the newly promoted side sit in 8th place after 10 Premiership rounds. The Canaries did bring quite a few new players after gaining promotion from the Championship, but given that most of the new players lacked Premiership experience, I really didn’t expect them to make such an impact. However, coach Paul Lambert has done a phenomenal job in creating a homogenous unit, with his side largely exceeding expectations at the start of the season. Even if Norwich are doing really well at the moment, I seriously doubt they can continue the rich vein of form for much longer and I am afraid they will face a similar scenario as Blackpool did last term. With a trip to Villa Park up next, Norwich could find it tough to match a very good Aston Villa side that is their superior when it comes to quality and experience, which is why I am inclining towards home win here.
Experienced striker Grant Holt is pushing for a starting place after coming off the bench to score against both Liverpool and Blackburn.
Aston Villa are looking very good in every area of the team and their form seem to be on the constant uptrend. Norwich, too, have shown a lot of potential this season, but I am not sure they have what it takes to stop in-form Villans. The odds offered on home win look too good to pass.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.83 (5/6)