Norwich welcome Manchester City to Carrow Road on Saturday with the away side looking to bounce back after losing a crucial game at home to Chelsea. That result meant that the top three teams are only separated by two points so any slip up will give Arsenal and Chelsea the chance to take advantage. Norwich are in a battle of their own near the bottom of the table. Sitting in 15th place, The Canaries are only 3 points from second-bottom, but also 3 points off Aston Villa who sit in tenth place, just showing how close the bottom half is this season.
Man City were tactically outplayed in the 1-0 loss to Chelsea and it’s the first time they haven’t scored a goal in a match since the 1-0 away defeat to Sunderland in mid-November. In fact it’s the first time they haven’t scored in a home match for over three years, the last time this happened was in a 0-0 against Birmingham City back in November 2010. Nonetheless, Man City have been on great form of late, winning eight of their last ten matches in the league. Good away wins of late at the likes of Swansea, Newcastle and Spurs show what this team are capable of but away defeats at Villa and Cardiff also shows what can happen if City have a bad day.
Norwich will be bitterly disappointed at their last result against Cardiff. Having scored early on in the match, Norwich conceded two in a matter of minutes just after half-time to give the initiative back to the Welsh side, with the game finishing 2-1. Considering points haven’t come easy of late for Chris Hughton’s men, it was a big chance for three points against their relegation rivals. The Canaries again have a tough task on their hands this weekend, especially their defenders. With Dzeko, Negredo and co on form, they will have to pull off a dogged performance to get the points they so badly need.
Man City recorded their biggest win of the season against Norwich in November, cruising to a 7-0 hammering of the Canaries at The Etihad. Incredibly, there’s been an average of over six goals per game between these two teams in their last six fixtures, so expect another goal fest on Saturday.
Ryan Bennett faces a late fitness test for Norwich whereas Turner and Howson are scheduled for returns at the end of the month. Elliot Bennett is a long term absentee but apart from that Chris Hughton has all of his players available. There will be decision to be made up front as to who partners Gary Hooper with Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander vying for a starting berth.
With City, it is more of a calibre of players injured rather than the amount. Vital players such as Nasri and Fernandinho are scheduled to return to action in around two weeks whilst Garcia may make his return to the bench this weekend. Star striker Aguero is out until March but with Negredo, Dzeko and now Jovetic fit to play, they shouldn’t miss him too much
- Manchester City have not lost successive Premier League games since October 2010.
- There have been 37 goals scored in the last six Premier League meetings between Norwich and Man City.
- Man City have scored in every one of their last eight fixtures against Norwich in the league since 2004.
- Norwich have only won one of those fixtures eight fixtures.
- Norwich did beat Man City at The Etihad last season on the last day with a 3-2 away win.
Norwich: Gary Hooper
Norwich haven’t been scoring many goals of late, but there main goal supplier has been Gary Hooper who has scored over a quarter of their goals this season. The summer signing has shown glimpses of what he can do considering how well he played while he was at Celtic and has managed four PL goals this season. Although he has only scored five goals his shot accuracy is decent with 65% of his shots being accurate. As well as his goals, he has created 20 chances for his team mates, resulting in one assist. His passing accuracy is also another good stat as of 394 passes that he has made 85% of them have been accurate. If Hooper can manage to find more confidence in front of goal, especially with how Man City have defended at times this season he could find himself getting a goal.
Man City: Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure has been outstanding this season in the heart of the Man city midfield this season and this is a match where he would be expected to excel again. This season Toure has shown how deadly he is in front of goal scoring 12 goals already, having a shot conversion rate of 36%. One of the reasons why Toure is superb for Man City in midfield is because of his passing accuracy with 1514 of 1672 passes (over 90%) that he has made being accurate with 1928 touches of the ball overall. Toure has also shown quite a bit of creativity, creating 26 chances with 4 assists. If Norwich want to get anything out of this match they will have to try to stop him from doing damage to them, which is easier said than done.
It will be a tough ask for Norwich to get something out of this game, with Man City determined not to make it two losses in row which would put them behind in the title race. Saying that, in the Premier League anything is possible but Norwich will have to play considerably well against this world-class team. Nevertheless I can’t see anything past a Man City win, although I do expect it to be an entertaining game.