Having seriously improved their survival hopes with three wins in last four, Norwich City have the courtesy of fully focusing on their FA Cup campaign and the attempt to upset their more illustrious opponents. Man City are expected to arrive at Carrow Road with a weakened squad, but they will want to make amends for the League Cup defeat to Everton.
Having won the world’s most expensive game to gain promotion to the elite division, Norwich City still had a huge task in front of them as relegation tussle was always going to be a realistic possibility. The Canaries started the season well, but then endured a disappointing run of results that saw them become one of the main candidates for the drop. But, at the time when many teams tend to lose ground, Norwich City produced their best performances, winning three of four matches during the festive schedule to create a six-point cushion between them and the dreaded dotted line. Back to back home wins over Aston Villa and Southampton will give the Canaries much needed confidence ahead of the clash with Manchester City, and knowing just how badly the Citizens look at the back when Vincent Kompany is not in the side, we definitely wouldn’t bet against the hosts scoring at least one goal.
Manager Alex Neil has absolutely no selection worries, but it remains to be seen whether he will be making any changes to his usual starting XI.
Having finally recovered from knee injury, Matt Jarvis is expected to play a part, although he will definitely not be in the starting line-up.
This season has not exactly panned out according to plan for Manchester City, but the good news is there is still time to turn things around. Midway through the campaign, the Citizens are still fighting on four fronts, and this is both a blessing and a curse given the lack of strength in depth, especially now that so many first team players battle with injury. Man City were beaten by Everton in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, but they remain the favourites to go through, while a three-point gap behind Premier League leaders Arsenal shouldn’t be such a big problem, provided the Citizens can rediscover their top form soon enough. Following the busy festive schedule, manager Manuel Pellegrini will take advantage of the FA Cup game against Norwich to rest some star players, while other will get a chance to prove they can be of help during the season finale, with Wednesday’s Premier League fixture vs Everton definitely the priority at the moment.
Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that both Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala are rated doubtful, although the Ivorian is expected to start.
Willy Caballero will start in goal, whereas Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri are definitely out. The likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva will be rested.
Key Factors to Consider
- A total of 22 goals were scored in last five meetings between the two teams
- Last four meetings between Norwich and Man City at Carrow Road produced 19 goals
- Man City won three of last four games at Carrow Road (D1)
- The Canaries scored in all but one home fixture this season
- Both teams have scored in six of Man City’s last seven games on all fronts
Buoyed by Premier League wins over Aston Villa and Southampton, Norwich will attempt to take the game to Man City and take advantage of their defensive worries. Arriving with an under strength side, the Citizens could face problems at Carrow Road, but goals should not be missing on Saturday afternoon.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/6