Tottenham will be looking to end the year with a win and be in the mix of the top-four spots when they pay a visit to Carrow Road to face Norwich City.
Premier League wooden spooners Norwich City FC will face a tough test against Tottenham Hotspur at the Carrow Road on Saturday, as they look to end the year on a high.
Daniel Farke’s men are currently languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table with only twelve points, having managed to muster only three wins this season. The Canaries are winless in their last six league fixtures and overturning that record against Spurs will be a monumental challenge.
Meanwhile, since Jose Mourinho’s arrival Spurs have signs of improvement. Having lost against Chelsea last week, they came from behind to beat Brighton on Boxing Day. The Lilywhites are well and truly on course to secure a Champions League spot and while the Chelsea defeat was a block in their road, a good run of results can take them back to where they belong.
This will be the first meeting this season for both the sides and ahead of the encounter, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News and Tactics
Daniel Farke will be missing youngster Ben Godfrey as the club has confirmed that he will be out for considerable amount of time. He will join the likes of Josip Drmic and Timm Klose who have been sidelined for over a month now.
A Boxing Day defeat against Aston Villa was hard to swallow for the Canaries but now they have to respond to pressure and put up a fight against Spurs.
They are expected to continue their conventional 4-2-3-1 formation with experienced custodian Tim Krul under the crossbar. The highly-rated Max Aarons and Sam Byram slot in as full-backs with Christoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley forming the centre back pairing.
Tom Trybull and Alexander Tettey are automatic options for the double pivot while Bosnian midfielder Mario Vrančić can make an appearance from the bench. Emi Buendía has been the main creative outlet for the Canaries and he will play alongside Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell with Teemu Pukki leading the line as the lone striker upfront.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley, Byram; Tettey, Trybull; Buendia, McLean, Cantwell; Pukki
There are a lot of absentees for Mourinho going into this fixture. The Portuguese will be forced to rotate his squad as Moussa Sissoko, Heung-min Son and Harry Winks are all suspended for Saturday’s contest, while Dele Alli is doubtful after sustaining a cramp. Captain Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies are the long-term absentees.
Spurs may mirror Norwich and also go with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Paulo Gazzaniga in goal and Serge Aurier and Jan Vertonghen lining up as the full-backs. Davinson Sanchez slots in the middle of the backline to partner Toby Alderweireld.
In midfield, Eric Dier has been a mainstay for Mourinho and he is likely to be the deepest of all the midfielders and Tanguy Ndombele may get a start in the double pivot alongside the Englishman.
Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura are likely to take up the flanks with Alli, if fit, playing in a free role just behind Harry Kane. The English duo scored a goal each in the second half against Brighton on Boxing day and will look to continue that form against Norwich.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Ndombele, Dier; Lucas, Alli, Lo Celso; Kane
- Norwich City have won just one of their eight home Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur (D2 L5), winning 1-0 way back in February 2014.
- Spurs did a double over Norwich in the 2015-16 season. The last time they won three matches in a row against the Canaries was back in 1995.
- Norwich have won just one of their last 14 Premier League matches (D3 L10) and are winless in their last six matches (D2 L4).
- Tottenham are without a clean sheet away from home in 16 Premier League games, their longest run without a clean sheet ever since the 20-game streak between April 1976 and April 1977.
Player to Watch
The English midfielder has been in red hot form ever since Jose Mourinho arrived at Tottenham. The Portuguese allows Alli the license to play free and exploit the open spaces in behind the opposition defences. And the Spurs star has repaid the manager’s faith in full, scoring five goals and creating three since his arrival.
Without a doubt, Alli has been the standout player for Tottenham in recent weeks. Despite the challenges he had to face early in the campaign, the youngster has shown character and fighting spirit to overcome the obstacles – something which Mourinho likes in him and Alli resonates that faith with his performances on the pitch.
Having scored the winning goal against Brighton on Boxing Day, Alli can once again be the difference between both the sides when Spurs visit Norwich.
Norwich City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Ever since that win against Manchester City, Norwich City have had a dreadful season. Apart from the brilliance of Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki, Daniel Farke’s team have not stood out in the elite league and are clear favourites to go down this season. If the Canaries want to stay in the Premier League they have to make a move as time is running out for them.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have had a topsy turvy season, but seem to be getting back on track under Mourinho. They have some issues with their defence though, which Chelsea exploited and only if Norwich can bring up their intensity to that level they can hope to cause problems for Spurs.
Otherwise, it looks like a narrow win for the Lilywhites, given their superior attacking unit and Norwich’s leaky defence, coupled with their over-reliance on Buendia and Pukki to produce the goods in the final third. A win for the visitors will land them right into the top four mix.