It’s beginning to look bleak for Norwich City after a run of 10 games without a win in all competitions that has seen them drawn into the group of four sides propping up the Premier League table.
That win-less streak started with a 3-0 loss at home to Manchester City in the FA Cup 3rd round, a game in which Alex Neil made seven changes in order to keep his players fresh for the bread and butter of top-flight survival. With the following nine Premier League games yielding just a single point, Neil might just be regretting that decision.
After three consecutive Premier League defeats that dealt a hammer blow to their title aspirations, Manchester City returned to winning ways with a 4-0 win at home to Aston Villa on Saturday. Even so, if they are to have any realistic hope of making up the 10-point gap on Leicester City (albeit with a game in hand), then they surely require nothing less than maximum points from their trip to Carrow Road.
If nothing else, they need the three points to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack in the race for a top four finish. It would be hugely embarrassingly were a squad of City’s resources to fail to qualify for the Champions League, particularly with Pep Guardiola on his way in the summer.
The Canaries have only kept three clean sheets all season in the Premier League (at home to Swansea City, Aston Villa and Southampton) and it’s difficult to believe that they will be able to keep Sergio Aguero and co. at bay for 90-minutes.
The reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium back in late October resulted in a 2-1 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, although they laboured to a victory that was only secured thanks to a late Yaya Toure penalty.
Manchester City know that they can ill-afford to drop points here and with their next game being the Champions League 2nd leg at home to Dynamo Kiev looking all but a formality, they can really go for this.
Seven games in Norwich’s 10-match winless run have featured over 2.5 goals and there looks to be every chance that this game could be much the same if the visitors are anything like on their game.