Norwich will be hoping to avoid a third successive league defeat when they take on Malky Mackay’s Cardiff side at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The Canaries come into this game on the back of defeats against Chelsea and league leaders Arsenal. While this may have been the realistic expectation for Norwich fans, the fact that they have only won twice in the league so far this season will be a worrying statistic.
Cardiff have lost their last two games as well and amid all the controversy surrounding Vincent Tan’s running of the club, another loss against a team who currently find themselves in the Premier League’s relegation zone will simply not be an option for Mackay.
Johan Elmander is fit again and should make his return to the Norwich team on Saturday, while Ricky van Wolfswinkel is still a doubt. Gary Hooper will likely deputise. Ryan Bennett is Norwich’s only long term injury
Malky Mackay has no major worries but will give a full assessment of the fitness of his squad at his pre-match press conference.
Eurosport have some interesting statistics for this game:
Norwich have lost four of their last five games in the league, scoring just three times.
Norwich have not scored any earlier than the 34th minute so far this season in the Premier League.
Norwich have lost only once in their last 10 home games against Cardiff.
Cardiff have kept only one clean sheet in the Premier League so far this season.
With 51 shots, Cardiff have allowed more shots on target against them than any other side in the Premier League so far this season.
The last time Cardiff lost three consecutive league games was in November 2009.
Snodgrass has been a big player for Norwich over the last few seasons, and while he may not have been playing at the same level so far this season, he still has a major part to play in Norwich’s overall game plan. The Scotsman has a 74% accuracy in his passes from open play, completing 189 from 254 attempts. It is clear Snodgrass tries to move his team forward as 238 of these attempts were in the attacking zone, of which he completed 140 (giving him an accuracy of 59%). He has also created 11 chances for his team-mates, although it is worth noting that seven of these chances have come from a set piece. Opposition sides have already proven this season that if you keep Snodgrass quiet, then Norwich lose a significant threat.
Gunnarsson is similar to Snodgrass in that he is an important part of the midfield for his side. However, while Gunnarson has a better pass completion rate of 82% (completing 209 of 256 passes in open play), he has not attempted as many passes in the attacking zone of the pitch as his Norwich counterpart, attempting only 153 and completing 112. This does give him an accuracy of 73% which is significantly better than Snodgrass. At just nine chances, he has created fewer than Snodgrass but these have all come from open play, unlike the Scottish midfielder. This game could be decided by the performances of both players.
Both sides have been on a bad run of form lately, but Norwich still gave a reasonably good account of themselves against Chelsea and Arsenal. Besides, with home advantage on their side and the fact that is a game Norwich will fancy themselves in, I have to go for a Norwich win. I think it will finish 2-1 to Norwich.