Norwich City VS Reading, go for hosts

Posted Sat, 01 May 2021 09:34:01 GMT        

Match Time:5/1/2021 22:00 Saturday  (GMT+8)

England Championship --  Norwich City   VS   Reading

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Norwich City will win the Championship title if they beat seventh-place Reading on Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries are five points ahead of second-place Watford, so would also clinch the trophy regardless of the result if the Hornets drop points against Brentford.

 

Match preview

Norwich got back to winning ways last Saturday as goals from Xavi Quintilla, Max Aarons and Emiliano Buendia helped secure a 3-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers.

The Canaries had secured promotion back to the Premier League without even playing the previous weekend but then lost their following two games to Bournemouth and Watford.

Both of those defeats came at home, meaning that Daniel Farke's side have actually only won one of their last four games at Carrow Road although that was the sensational 7-0 thrashing of Huddersfield Town.

Nonetheless, the league title would be just reward for a side who have held top spot since November – unseating Reading – and been far the best side in the division across the whole campaign.

Farke and his players will be keen to wrap up the trophy in style with two games left that look a lot less dangerous than they perhaps did a month ago. Indeed, Norwich will hope that next week Barnsley will be resting players ahead of the playoffs, while Reading now have nothing to play for after seeing their own top-six hopes end last weekend.

 

It was a 2-2 draw against Swansea City that put the final nail in the Royals' playoff coffin; they opened the scoring through Yakou Meite but eventually had Tomas Esteves to thank for securing a point in second-half stoppage time.

The sense of disappointment at the Madejski Stadium was palpable, but Reading only have themselves to blame for throwing away what seemed like a fantastic opportunity to win promotion.

The Berkshire outfit may have had title aspirations of their own when they sat six points clear at the top of the table after eight games, and although the Royals quickly fell from that position, they continued to prove themselves as playoff contenders.

However, Reading have failed to perform when it matters most and a run of one victory in their last nine matches has consigned them to a ninth consecutive season in the second tier.

Veljko Paunovic said he was "proud" of the team's progression following a 14th-place finish last season, and although he makes a salient point, it will do little to console supporters at this moment in time after their almighty drop off.

Reading have not won any of their last six meetings with Norwich, with the Canaries winning 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium in December.

 

Norwich City Championship form: DWWLLW

Reading Championship form: DWLDDD

 

Team News

Norwich's team has largely picked itself in recent weeks, Farke is unlikely to make any changes as he seeks to wrap up the title; fringe players may then get an opportunity in the final game against Barnsley.

Dimitrios Giannoulis will serve the final game of his three-match suspension for his red card against Bournemouth, meaning Xavi Quintilla will continue to deputise at left-back.

Teemu Pukki is on a four-game goal drought since his hat trick against Huddersfield – he has never gone five consecutive Championship matches without finding the back of the net.

Paunovic has hinted that he may make changes for Reading's final two games of the campaign, saying they are "an opportunity to learn more about some players for the future".

Loanees Esteves and Lewis Gibson could be a given a chance so Paunovic can assess whether he wants them back next season, while youngsters such as Dejan Tetek or goalkeeper Luke Southwood may be trialled.

John Swift started for the first time in two months against Swansea after a hamstring injury and will be eager to keep his place.

 

Norwich City possible starting lineup:

Krul; Aarons, Omobamidele, Hanley, Quintilla; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Dowell, Cantwell; Pukki

Reading possible starting lineup:

Rafael; Esteves, Moore, Holmes, Gibson; Tetek, Laurent; Meite, Swift, Ejaria; Puscas

 

Pick: Norwich City 2-0 Reading

Norwich City VS Reading, go for hosts