Etihad Stadium, Manchester
November 02, 2013; 15:00 BST
Manchester City host Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium this Saturday, as the home side look to bounce back from defeat at the hands of Chelsea in their last game.
Manchester City have made a slow start to their league campaign and it has been a sputtering ride for them so far. The Citizens have won only three of their last six matches in the league and are currently 7th in the League table – six points behind league leaders Arsenal. They lost their league match against Chelsea thanks to a dreadful mistake from Joe Hart and Nastasic, which allowed Fernando Torres to score the winner. They did bounce back from the defeat with a win against Newcastle United in the League Cup, but it was far from a convincing performance. Manuel Pellegrini knows that his side will have to show some consistency in the league now, in order to keep up with other teams.
Norwich have also made a poor start to their season and have managed to win only two of their nine league matches so far. The Canaries are 17th in the league table with just eight points from their opening round of matches. In all fairness, their performances in some matches have been good but that has not reflected on the points tally. But Chris Hughton knows that his side needs to start delivering results soon, or they could be involved in a relegation dog fight. Norwich have lost three of their last four matches in all competition, and their last win arrived at Stoke. They were held to a scoreless draw against Cardiff at home in the league in their last game and have followed that up with a 4-0 defeat against Manchester United in the League cup.
The last meeting between these two sides came at the end of the last season when Norwich managed to beat Manchester City away from home as Jonathan Howson scored the winner in a match that ended with a final score line of 3-2. Historically Manchester City have had the upper hand in the meetings between these two sides and they have won four of their last six matches at home against Norwich.
Manchester City – Team News, Lineup And Formation
Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t have too many injury concerns at the moment, although the absence of Vincent Kompany has been a big loss for his side. Manchester City have looked defensively unstable since his injury and have also lacked a leader on the pitch at times. Kompany is close to returning to full fitness, but is unlikely to feature against Norwich. Stevan Jovetic is the recent addition to the injury list after the former Fiorentina forward was substituted in the first half against Newcastle United due to an injury.
Pellegrini made a lot of changes to the side that was fielded in the League Cup win over Newcastle United as he rotated his squad. The Manchester City manager is expected field a completely different side in the Premier League this weekend. Negredo and Aguero will resume their partnership upfront, while Fernandinho and Toure return to the midfield. Silva, who came on as a substitute in the last game, will provide the creativity along with Nasri.
At the back Gael Clichy and Zabaleta will return to their role as the full backs as Kolarov and Richards drops back the bench. Demichelis and Nastasic will start at the center of the defence. Most of the pre-match talks have been about the possibility of Joe Hart losing his place in the side. The Englishman has been in poor form this season and Costel Pantilimon, who kept a clean-sheet against Newcastle United, is expected to replace him in the goal.
Manuel Pellegrini showed too much respect to Chelsea with his team selection in their last league match. He dropped Negredo for another midfielder and played into the hands of the home side. With Negredo and Aguero resuming their partnership upfront, they should be able to score past a shaky Norwich defence.
Possible Starting Line up [4-2-2-2]: Pantilimon (GK); Zabaleta, Nastasic, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure; Nasri, Silva; Negredo, Aguero
Norwich City – Team News, Lineup And Formation
Chris Hughton has some big injury concerns ahead of this game. Alexander Tettey, Elliott Bennett and Robert Snodgrass are all out of contention for this game due to fitness concerns. Hughton made a lot of changes to the side that was fielded against Manchester United in the League Cup and he expected to revert back to his strongest side in the league against Manchester City.
John Ruddy will make his way back into the goal in place of Mark Bunn, while Tuner and Bassong resume their partnership at the center of the defence. Garrido and Whittaker will drop back the bench as Russell Martin and Martin Olsson return to the starting line-up.
Gary Hooper, who started upfront in the match against Cardiff, will be replaced by Ricky van Wolfswinkel for this game and the new signing will be supported by the likes of Elmander, Pilkington and Redmond. On of Norwich’s biggest problem has been their lack of goals upfront. The Canaries have scored only six in nine matches so far – the lowest in the league. Gary Hooper and van Wolfswinkel have managed to score a combined total of one goal in the league so far.
Chris Hughton is also expected to make a slight change in formation for this game. Against Cardiff, Norwich used a more adventurous 4-1-4-1 formation with Leroy Fer playing a more advanced role. But against Manchester City Hughton will be more circumspect and will change to a more conventional 4-2-3-1. Fer and Howson will form the pivot ahead of the defence and will look to protect the back line.
Possible Starting Line-Up [4-2-3-1]: Ruddy (GK); Martin, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Howson, Fer; Redmond, Elmander, Pilkington; Wolfswinkel
Player To Watch Out For
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Sergio Aguero has been in brilliant form this season and the Argentine international has already scored 10 goals in 10 starts so far this season, in all competitions. Statistically, Manchester City have been the most successful side this season in the league so far and Aguero’s brilliant form is the prime reason behind it. Manchester City is not only dependent on the 25-year-old forward to find the back of the net, they are also dependent on him to provide the spark and creativity in the final third along with Silva and Nasri. Aguero has also provide three assists so far along with those goals.
Manchester City 3-0 Norwich City
Manchester City need to make a statement of intent in this game as they look to keep up with their title rivals. The home side will take an early lead and control the game from there on. Norwich have a porous defence at the back and Manchester City have one of the most potent attacks. Expect the home side to win this by a three goal margin, at least.