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Stuart Dalgleish 18th Oct 2009 - 10:30

Canaries could grind Leeds' title push to a Holt

In-form Norwich City face their toughest test of the season as they head to Elland Road to take on Leeds United.

While the Whites might still be unbeaten in the league, their early season swagger seems to have been slightly diminished after a run of three draws in five games; one of those draws coming against lowly Carlisle, where they put in a disappointing display considering how impressive they had been in their previous home game against Liverpool in the Carling Cup.

It makes Monday night's game a tough one to call, as while Leeds have let their level of performance slip somewhat recently they are still on an incredible run of 17 home league matches without defeat so Norwich will have to be at their very best to get something from West Yorkshire.

City will be full of confidence though after scoring 10 goals in their last three games and won't be afraid of taking the game to Simon Grayson's team, but that might suit the hosts as teams at Elland Road tend to normally pack the midfield and try make it difficult for the Whites to break the opposition down - of course with Leeds smashing in 12 goals from six home matches it doesn't always work!

One of the areas where Paul Lambert's side will try cause Leeds problems is down the flanks, as regular full-backs Ben Parker and Jason Crowe have been injured recently; which has led to Leigh Bromby and Andrew Hughes (who is a midfielder by trade) operating as right and left back respectively. Hughes, who used to play for Norwich, in particular has looked uncomfortable in the role often getting beaten for pace by wingers.

If Wes Hoolahan (11/1 to strike first) can get on the ball early and try dictate things from midfield then the likes of Grant Holt (7/1 to grab the first goal) and Chris Martin (15/2) could have a lot of crosses to attack, also a good shout for last goal could be Jamie Cureton (8/1) who's come off the bench in the last two league matches and scored, both of them the final goal of the game.

Leeds go into the game as favourites at odds of 5/6, a repeat of the 1-0 they achieved in their last home game against Norwich available at 5/1. United have drawn back-to-back home league fixtures and that eventuality happening for the third straight Elland Road match is a 5/2 chance, the Canaries, with only one defeat in their last nine games are respectfully shorter than they could've been at 10/3.

With Luciano Becchio (9/2 to get the opening goal) struggling with an ankle injury, Tresor Kandol (5/1) could well make his first league start for over a season but he'll be battling with Enoch Showunmi (11/2) and Mike Grella (11/2) for a starting XI berth.

The one name guaranteed a place up front is Jermaine Beckford who once again has been United's main man when it comes to scoring goals, the number nine has started this season much in the same vein he played the entire previous campaign - scoring goals for fun, you can back him at 7/2 to bag the first goal of the evening.

The temperamental striker could however be forced to drop back to get chances if winger Robert Snodgrass doesn't make it back from injury in time for the game, the pair combined brilliantly last season as both players got their goal tally into double figures and the Scot's absence could be a big boost for Norwich.

It's sure to be a great match played at a high tempo, just make sure you join us when the action gets underway as our brilliant In-Play service will bring you a wealth of in-running betting opportunities.



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