Rock-bottom Norwich City will welcome fellow strugglers Leeds United to Carrow Road with both clubs desperate for an upturn in form.
Winning the Championship led many Norwich City fans to dream of a campaign wherein their club would stay put in the Premier League for more than one season. They wanted their team to emulate Leeds United. Instead, Norwich remain winless and enter Gameweek 10, rock-bottom in the Premier League.
Fixtures against some of the division’s top teams have not helped matters, as Norwich have lost heavily to the current top three. Last weekend, Chelsea cut them apart at Stamford Bridge, as Thomas Tuchel’s men scored seven past the Canaries without response.
Daniel Farke has come under much pressure lately, with his job reportedly hinging on the next few results. Norwich have secured just two points from their nine games this season, with those coming through draws with Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion. The Canaries are a sinking ship in need of positive results, desperately.
Meanwhile, Leeds United remain a shadow of their enterprising selves from the previous campaign. The all-action team and their fighting spirit seem to have disappeared this season. Marcelo Bielsa’s side is languishing in the 17th spot after securing just a single win from their nine games this term, losing and drawing four each.
The Whites finished the previous matchday with a draw against Wolves while losing the midweek EFL Cup clash to Arsenal. While Bielsa is yet to narrow in on a favourable starting lineup this season, he is trying his best to get something out of his current crop of starters.
Injuries to key players such as Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling have severely disrupted Leeds’ season. Bielsa will be targeting the next few fixtures as a springboard to collect some points and get Leeds into a comfortable position. On Sunday, they will have an excellent opportunity to do so against an out-of-sorts Norwich City side.
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🗣 DF: Zimmermann had his ankle surgery and will be out for several weeks.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) October 29, 2021
With Daniel Farke under immense pressure, there is an onus on changing things in the hope to reverse fortunes for Norwich City. The problems with the Canaries’ setup were evident in their glaring 7-0 loss to Chelsea, which could force the manager to try tweaking his lineup.
One of the said tweaks could possibly come in central midfield. Billy Gilmour, who was unavailable to face his parent club, Chelsea, should be getting a chance to claim a spot in the side. The young Scot should be starting alongside Pierre Lees-Melou in the middle of the park.
Farke will look to retain his side’s shape, despite the disastrous result in the last game, sticking to a back three. Ben Gibson, who occupies a crucial role in that setup, will be missing from action after getting sent off against Chelsea. Andrew Omobamidele should be the player to replace him.
Todd Cantwell and Sam Byram are the other absentees, with both players struggling for fitness. Christoph Zimmermann is certain to miss out after undergoing ankle surgery, while Przemyslaw Placheta is also a doubt for the Leeds clash.
Farke could bring Kieran Dowell and Milot Rashica into the side and opt to go in with a front three with Teemu Pukki leading the line.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Krul; Kabak, Hanley, Omobamidele; Aarons, Gilmour, Lees-Melou, Williams; Dowell, Pukki, Rashica
After struggling to pick his best starting lineup due to injuries to key players, Bielsa might have some reprise, with some of them possibly returning to action. Raphinha, Junior Firpo and Kalvin Phillips are all likely to be available. Luke Ayling, Patrick Bamford and Robin Koch are all still out with injuries with no return date in sight. Jamie Shackleton, however, should be fit enough to play and could fight for a starting spot.
🎙️ “Firpo, Raphinha and Shackleton are likely to be available, Ayling and Bamford won’t be.” pic.twitter.com/i2OUD3C54Q
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 29, 2021
Joe Gelhardt, who made a telling impression against Arsenal in the EFL Cup, might have hoped his performance would have earned him a starting spot. Bielsa may not want to start him just yet, meaning he will likely be used as an impact substitute again.
Despite his massive error against Arsenal, Liam Cooper could start on the left side of the three-man backline. Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk would be his partners at the back. Due to Raphinha’s possible availability, Stuart Dallas could slot in an attacking midfield role on the left side, while the Brazilian and Dan James could play as wing-backs.
Rodrigo Moreno is set to lead the line for Leeds against Norwich, while Tyler Roberts could play slightly behind him as a second striker or the most advanced midfielder. Bielsa will also be hoping for an upturn in Mateusz Klich’s form, with the Pole likely to start in an attacking midfield role on the right.
Probable lineup (3-5-1-1): Meslier; Llorente, Struijk, Cooper; Raphinha, Klich, Phillips, Dallas, James; Roberts; Rodrigo
- Norwich City have failed to score in 11 of their last 13 matches in the Premier League.
- Norwich have failed to win their last 19 matches in the Premier League.
- Norwich have won four of their last six Premier League games against Leeds United.
- However, Leeds have lost just one of their last five away league games against Norwich.
- The last time both teams played in the Premier League was back in May 1995, with Leeds winning that clash.
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It has been an indifferent season for Leeds, and for their glowing reputation of boasting one of the most ultra-attacking units, they only have eight goals to show for this term. The problem has been within the team, as they have been unable to create an overload of chances like last season.
One player they need desperately to retain his form in the absence of others is Raphinha. His reputation as one of the talented bunch in the Premier League is directly linked with Leeds’ form on the pitch and the other way around. He needs to start hitting peak form to boost his team’s chances, and there won’t be a better opportunity than the one against Norwich City.
Norwich City 0-2 Leeds United
Both sides are struggling, are desperate for a win and hoping to arrest their slump. However, there can only be one winner. Norwich look no closer to start winning games. It could be another disastrous afternoon for the Canaries, as Leeds, eager to start a positive run, could breeze past them here.
Expect Marcelo Bielsa’s side to take all three points and probably manage to keep a clean sheet against a toothless looking Norwich attack. As for the Canaries, more misery could be on the cards and increased pressure on their manager Daniel Farke, who might not last for long.