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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Match Preview

Norwich City vs. Leeds United
Saturday November 20, 15:00, Carrow Road

Two Championship teams eyeing a place in the top six go head-to-head this weekend as Leeds United make the trip to Norwich City.

It's a meeting between the two sides automatically promoted from League One last term, with both eyeing a return to the top flight they formerly competed in.

For the home side, whose sensational second half of last season saw them secure the League One title ahead of Leeds, they go into this game a point and three places behind their opponents.

They also come into the match off the back of three successive draws - including a late comeback against Burnley and being denied by an equally last-gasp goal at Millwall.

Last weekend, too, they threw away a 3-1 lead at Reading to draw 3-3 - albeit the harsh dismissal of striker Grant Holt played a major part in City's surrender.

It's been a mixed bag on home soil so far for Paul Lambert's side, who've enjoyed wins over Leicester, Swansea, Barnsley, and Middlesbrough. However, they've also been beaten at Carrow Road by Crystal Palace, Hull, and Watford.

Lambert has experimented with formations this season, sometimes sticking with the diamond formation that served Norwich well last term, and on other occasions opting for a flat 4-4-2.

Key players include Wes Hoolahan - often given a floating role behind the front two, and one of strikers Simeon Jackson and Chris Martin are a dangerous foil to leading scorer Holt.

Paul Lambert's Norwich are aiming for successive promotions

In an incredibly tight division, Leeds find themselves in 5th despite one of the most inconsistent records in the Championship.

Simon Grayson's men have scored and conceded both 31 goals in their 17 matches, but do make the trip to Norfolk off the back of a four game unbeaten run.

United have found things easier going on the road than playing in-front of an expectant Elland Road audience so far this term though.

Away wins have been collected at Scunthorpe, Coventry, Middlesbrough, and Watford, as well as draws at Doncaster and Nottingham Forest.

Top scorer for the Whites is Argentine Luciano Becchio, a hat-trick hero in last weekend's win against Bristol City, who has nine goals to his name.

Other stand out performers include South African forward Davide Somma with seven goals and local lad and captain Jonny Howson, who has chipped in with six from midfield.

It's impossible to see this one not being full of goals, with both sides liking to play the game the right way and attack.

Leeds are coming into the game in the better form and that may well see them edge things in an entertaining contest.

Nobes' Prediction: Norwich City 1 Leeds United 2

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