Can Norwich at last beat bogey team Fulham in FA Cup replay?
Of all the strange football statistics you can pull out on a weekly basis, one of the quirkiest is that Norwich have failed to beat Fulham in their last 14 meetings.
Coral rate Norwich 12/5 to win the FA Cup 3rd Round replay at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night (11/10 Fulham, 12/5 the draw), but anybody fancying the away win should know the history they are up against.
You wouldn’t have thought that, in general terms, there had been much between the clubs down the years – indeed they are side by side in 15th and 16th places in the Premier League at this moment – but Fulham have won ten and drawn four of their encounters since Norwich beat them 2-1 in the old Second Division back in 1986.
And that run includes 5-0 and 6-0 Premier League victories for the Cottagers as well as the recent 1-1 draw in the FA Cup, the first meeting in that competition, incidentally, since 1908 (another win for Fulham!).
Without those stats, Norwich boss Steve Bruce might be quite confident of progressing through to the Fourth Round and a visit to League One strugglers Sheffield United and perhaps he is anyway.
Yes, Everton made them look pretty ordinary at Goodison Park last Saturday, but that was to be expected. Fulham, in contrast, would not have been prepared for a 4-1 home thrashing by Premiership bottom club Sunderland and their confidence will have taken as big a knock as their prospects of fending off relegation.
This is the only all-Premiership tie in ten Tuesday replays with several of the other games involving lower league sides shooting for nice little earners against top tier clubs in the 4th Round.
These include Watford and Bournemouth (both 8/13), whose fans will be expecting them to finish the jobs on home soil against Bristol City and Burton before taking on Manchester City (if they win their replay on Wednesday) and Liverpool respectively in Round 4.
You feel that Skrill League side Macclesfield missed their big chance of making it through to the next round when they drew at home with Sheffield Wednesday (2/5) ten days ago.
The lowest-ranked team left in the competition now face a team brimful of confidence following a totally unexpected 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United at the weekend.
One of the most interesting ties of the night is the meeting between Preston (6/4), one of four clubs clear of the rest in League One, and Ipswich (7/4), just three points outside the play-off places in the Championship.
Both teams lost tough games at the weekend, but had been in pretty good form before that and there is unlikely to be much between them again (23/10 the draw).