The Championship looms for Norwich or Sunderland in a Premier League fight for survival
Norwich v Sunderland, Saturday 12.45pm, BT Sport 1
The Premier League’s opening game of the weekend is being touted as a ‘relegation decider’. And for once, this isn’t just the media’s hype-train stepping up a gear to get people excited about Norwich vs Sunderland. It genuinely appears that this game will decide Sunderland’s fate.
The current gap between Sunderland and Norwich is four points, although the Black Cats have a game in hand. According to our lovely Paddy Power traders, there is currently a 33 per cent chance that Alex Neil’s men will go down, and a far greater 88 per cent chance that Big Sam Allardyce’s squad will be playing Championship football next season.
But that could all swing massively depending on the result at Carrow Road on Saturday, as you can see in the slides below.
Plenty depends on Newcastle’s game later in the day against Swansea, but purely on this game alone defeat for Sunderland could signal the end of their run in the top flight. A Norwich win puts seven points between the Canaries and Sunderland, and even if Newcastle win, Norwich will be six points clear of the drop zone, although having played a game more.
If the home side do come out on top, the chances of Sunderland going down moves from 88 per cent to 95 per cent, while Norwich’s drops from 33 per cent to 11 per cent. That would put Allardyce’s squad in a desperate scenario with games at home to Arsenal and away to Chelsea and Everton to come.
However, and it is a significant however, if Sunderland can pick up their first win in seven games then it is an entirely different picture. The relegation fight then becomes very tightly poised in that case, with both sides’ chances of going down judged to be 54 per cent. Now that’s a serious relegation scrap.
Norwich are the favourites to win the game and send Sunderland tantalisingly close to Championship action. The Black Cats haven’t won in their last 10 attempts at Carrow Road in the league, and are outsiders to give their survival chances a kick up the arse. In what could be a ridiculously tense affair, it’s odds on at that there are under 2.5 goals, and it’s a punt that Norwich squeak a 1-0 victory.
Whatever the score may be, a win of any kind for Norwich will spell the end for Sunderland in the top flight, and almost certainly close the book on this year’s relegation scrap.