Wigan v Norwich: Canaries to remain on-course for the promised land

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CHAMPIONSHIP specialist James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) takes a look at Sunday's fixture between table-toppers Norwich and Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Wigan v Norwich | Sunday 14th April 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports

We’re getting to that stage of the season when promotion is secured, a play-off position is seized and relegation becomes a reality. Both Wigan and Norwich very much have something to play for in the remaining five games, and each has a very different agenda.

Wigan risk being relegated after just one season back at this level and they head into this round of fixtures with only a two-point advantage over Rotherham. Ipswich and Bolton are highly likely to take up two of the three relegation spots, with Wigan joining Rotherham, Reading, Millwall and possibly QPR and Birmingham in the battle to avoid the third and final dreaded 22nd place.

Norwich, on the flip side, couldn’t really be having a better season. It would now take quite a significant collapse for them to not be playing their football in the Premier League next year. Daniel Farke has turned the Canaries from an inconsistent, mid-table outfit into a clinical and entertaining team. Promotion cannot be officially secured this weekend, but they can take another giant leap towards the big time.

Latics concerns

To be honest, I not only fear for Wigan this weekend, but the remainder of the season in general. I do worry that they could be the team to be relegated alongside Ipswich and Bolton. You only have to look at the comments of their manager Paul Cook following their midweek setback to Hull, where they conceded in the 89th minute on a corner to lose 2-1.

It’s individual errors continually and for the club to go forward whether we like it or not, those errors can’t carry on. We’ve got the ability to give goals away at times of the game that you couldn’t make up.”

Cook also questioned the character and leadership within their side, stating that the issues they’ve had have lasted almost the entire season to date. They are certainly shipped goals at a rather alarming rate. They’ve conceded 2+ in six of their previous seven.

Having said that, something they have done consistently well is collect points at the DW Stadium. They’ve unbeaten in their previous seven in front of their own supporters, and that included a 3-0 victory over now in-form Aston Villa. It is a good job they’re solid at home, as they’re god awful away. They have by far the worst away record in the Championship.

However, Norwich have the best away record in the league (and home), plus they’re the only side to have scored 80+ goals. Also, for all that Wigan can play an attractive style themselves, they’ve only scored more than Middlesbrough, Stoke, Ipswich and Bolton so far. Whilst Cook laments their defensive issues, they can certainly do better in attack, as well.

Norwich's firepower

For all that Wigan are shipping goals, Norwich continue to score and score and score. Emiliano Buendia began his suspension in midweek, but Farke’s side still netted two without him. However, they both came late in the day against relegation-threatened Reading, and both came from centre back duo Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmermann. Nevertheless, they’ve netted 2+ in 11 of their previous 14.

Even with Buendia out of action this weekend once again, Norwich should still have plenty of joy going forward. Seven of their 25 victories in the league so far have been 1-0, including the earlier season encounter with the Latics at Carrow Road. However, we’ve touched upon the scoring exploits of Norwich and Wigan’s defensive frailties. With that in mind, there is a handy selection we can look towards.

Norwich to Win and Over 1.5 Goals is a very attractive 23/20 (Coral) shout.

Morsy to pick up an early Easter card

I didn’t want to just leave it at that. I wanted another play for this game and I’m glad to see Bet365 price up the card market in decent time. They’re normally quite good for that.

The comments of Paul Cook from the other night are still fresh in my mind, and undoubtedly the entire Wigan squad. So, I like the look of one particularly market.

Whilst Wigan are strong at home, Norwich had been coasting through games prior to the scare versus Reading in the week. To be honest, conceding extremely deep in added time to draw at home to Reading might serve as a positive. It may just be a gentle reminder to everyone that there is still a job to be done, starting with the trip to Wigan.

Also, Cook stated that his team are lacking leaders at the moment. Therefore, step up captain Sam Morsy. The Egyptian is one who generally likes to ‘get stuck in’ and Cook will certainly fire up his charges to try and disrupt free-flowing Norwich in this encounter. Norwich are good in possession, especially in the central areas, and this is where Morsy will look to disrupt.

Only Ben Pearson and Jack Colback have more single bookings than the 27-year-old. Therefore, Morsy to be Shown A Card looks worthy of some interest at 12/5 (Bet365). He actually hasn’t been booked in any of his last six, but he was in three of the four prior to that, and he was suspended for the two before than run because of yellow card accumulation. He might be due another booking.

Best Bets

Wigan v Norwich – Norwich to Win and Over 1.5 Goals (23/20 Coral)

Wigan v Norwich – Sam Morsy to be Shown A Card (12/5 Bet365)

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