Antonio Conte will be aiming for his third win in the Premier League as Tottenham manager when they lock horns with Norwich City on Sunday.

Tottenham Hotspur have the opportunity to potentially break into the top four when they take on Norwich City on Sunday. It has been a flowery period for the North London giants, who have enjoyed a positive start to life under Antonio Conte.

Barring an unexpected loss to NS Mura in the UEFA Europa Conference League, Tottenham have won two of their three league games while drawing the other game. Their early success under Conte has helped them climb up to the sixth spot in the league table, just one point behind cross-town rivals Arsenal and two behind West Ham United, in the fourth place.

Spurs have a game in hand as well, essentially meaning another three points could put them in contention of a top-four spot in the league table. With games against Brighton & Hove Albion, Leicester City and Liverpool coming up, though, this will be a must-win fixture for Conte if the Lilywhites are to enter the Champions League spots by Christmas.

As for their opponent, Norwich City, it has been yet another underwhelming campaign after gaining promotion to the Champions League. The Canaries are currently second from bottom in the league table, three points ahead of bottom club Newcastle United.

However, Norwich have appeared quite solid lately, having collected eight points out of a possible twelve in the last four matches. It appears the appointment of Dean Smith is already working wonders for the team, with the former Aston Villa manager yet to lose a single game since taking charge.

Their return to form has rekindled their survival hopes. But in Tottenham, they are set to face their toughest opponent in almost a month, making it a real acid test for Smith and his troops. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial match-up in North London this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Tottenham Hotspur

CAGLIARI, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Antonio Conte coach of Cagliari looks on during the Serie A match between Cagliari Calcio and FC Internazionale at Sardegna Arena on September 1, 2019 in Cagliari, Italy. (Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images)

Conte is starting to spill his magic at Tottenham. (Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images)

With Tottenham coming on the back of a win over Brentford a few days ago, Antonio Conte will be tempted to make changes, especially as he keeps one eye on the must-win UEFA Europa Conference League encounter against Rennes in midweek.

However, with Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso out injured and the likes of Joe Rodon, Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele and Steven Bergwijn not being trusted as starting options, there is not much room for rotation.

As such, the former Inter Milan coach may continue with the defensive trifecta of Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier and Ben Davies. The latter will have the license to march forward during attacking moments, almost acting as the auxiliary left-back and allowing Sergio Reguilon the opportunity to move further forward.

Emerson Royal may not be handed similar freedom on the opposite flank. But the former Barcelona man remains a key cog in the side, especially during defensive phases where he will be asked to slot in as the right back.

In midfield, the double-pivot of Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has fared well under Conte so far. The duo has offered variety and dynamism in the second line of press, with additional support from one of the two advanced attackers in Lucas Moura.

The Brazilian, though, is largely expected to form Spurs’ offensive trifecta alongside Son Heung-min and Harry Kane. Conte has no shortage of reinforcements either, with the likes of Bryan Gil, Alli and Bergwijn all hoping to make an impression from the bench this weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Reguilon; Lucas, Son; Kane

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Norwich City

Dean Smith has shuffled his pack well after his first few games in charge of Norwich City. However, the Englishman has been dealt with a massive blow, as Mathias Normann, Christoph Zimmermann, Sam Byram and Milot Rashica have all been ruled out for the trip to North London due to injuries.

Normann’s absence should pave the way for Lukas Rupp to claim the holding midfield role. He will play a vital role in breaking up the opposition’s play, forming the second line of press alongside the ever-present figures of Kenny McLean and Billy Gilmour. The latter offers stability in possession, while Kenny and Rupp’s work ethic will be key in pressuring the Spurs midfielders.

There should be no changes in the defensive unit, though, as the marauding full-back duo of Max Aarons and Brandon Williams look to continue supporting the central defenders in Ben Gibson and captain Grant Hanley.

Norwich City are likely to adopt a deep defensive line in order to frustrate the opposition and prevent them from using players like Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura as runners behind the backline.

However, the approach should see them primarily play on the counter, using the pace of the wide attackers. While Rashica is unavailable, Todd Cantwell is likely back for the away side. The dynamic winger is, therefore, expected to form the club’s three-man offensive unit alongside Christos Tzolis and the main goalscorer, Teemu Pukki.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Rupp, McLean; Cantwell, Pukki, Tzolis

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Key Stats

  • Tottenham Hotspur have won their last three Premier League home game against Norwich, more than they had in their first six against them in the competition.
  • Two of Norwich’s three Premier League victories against Tottenham have come away from home, with the Canaries winning at White Hart Lane in December 1993 and April 2012.
  • Tottenham haven’t drawn any of their last 14 home league games on a Sunday, winning 11 times and losing just three. Indeed, Spurs have won six of their last seven home league matches played on a Sunday, losing the other versus Chelsea.
  • After a 25-game winless run in Premier League games in London, Norwich City won their last visit to the capital in the competition (2-1 vs Brentford). They last won consecutive such matches in August/September 1992 – three in a row against Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
  • Tottenham have won both of their first two Premier League home games under Antonio Conte – only Ryan Mason and Harry Redknapp won their opening three at home for the club in the competition.

Player to Watch

Lucas Moura

A chance to impress. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

A chance to impress. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

One of Tottenham’s star standout performers in the last few matches has been Lucas Moura. Often labelled as a flop since his move from Paris Saint-Germain, the winger has adopted an interesting role under the leadership of Antonio Conte.

The forward usually features alongside Son Heung-min, as the two supporting attackers behind Harry Kane. However, his superior defensive work ethic, athleticism and commitment to the game allows him to play a much bigger role for Spurs, especially given the fact that he can drop deep and help out midfielders in the second line of press.

However, despite showing a lot of heart in his performances, Lucas needs to convert his opportunity and start offering productivity upfront. He is yet to score a single goal in the Premier League this season, but he will have the opportunity to change that as he takes on Norwich City this weekend.

Prediction

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Norwich City

This is a difficult game to predict as Tottenham Hotspur have been quite unpredictable in the Premier League over the last couple of years. Under Antonio Conte, though, they have looked much more balanced and stable unit, with an additional emphasis on defensive solidity that has seen them keep a clean sheet two of their three league encounters.

They are expected to enhance their defensive record up against a Norwich City side that has netted only eight goals in 14 outings. Meanwhile, the newfound combination and understanding between the likes of Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane could propel them to a rather straightforward win at home as they look to continue their good form under the new coach.

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