Betting: Manchester United are still odds-on to beat Norwich City despite Real Madrid distraction

Norwich City have kept as many clean sheets as Manchester United this term with eight. Picture: Paul

Norwich City have kept as many clean sheets as Manchester United this term with eight. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Canaries’ excellent, crowd-pleasing 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Carrow Road last November added a spring to the step of everyone associated with the club, but all will be mindful that tomorrow’s encounter at Old Trafford promises to be a more challenging affair.

Bookies certainly think so – Stan James price City at a staggering 11/1 to win. Considering City held United for 68 minutes in the corresponding fixture last term and were unlucky to concede a last-minute second goal, those odds appear surprisingly generous.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will have one eye on next week’s Champions League duel with Real Madrid, but bet365 still offer them at 1/3 to secure maximum points on Saturday, while Skybet price the draw at an attractive 9/2.

City’s gutsy 2-1 win over Everton last weekend was the first time in 2013 they’ve scored more than one league goal – they’ve managed only three in their last half dozen outings, a record which explains why William Hill chalk 3/1 about Norwich opening the scoring at Old Trafford. But it’s worth noting that the Canaries’ ability to keep United’s expensively-assembled forward line at bay in the autumn was the last time the champions-elect failed to score.

However, although Norwich have kept as many clean sheets as United this term with eight, Coral’s even money for both teams to score cannot be discounted.

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Punters who suspect City will find it difficult to score can get 11/4 (Ladbrokes) against them winning when handed a one-goal start. Paddy Power give Chris Hughton’s men an artificial two-goal advantage and price them at 5/6 to win.

Elsewhere, rate the chances of City heading for their half- time cuppa with the scores level as a 13/8 shot and the same firm prices a 1-1 outcome at a massive 11/1. Backers anticipating a low-scoring duel can get even money (Stan James) against the match yielding between two and three goals and bet365 consider the likelihood of it ending as a score draw to be 11/2.

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