Norwich City v Southampton – Match Preview
It’s hard to believe the last time Norwich hosted Southampton at Carrow Road both teams were competing in League One. Three years since the Saints scored a 2-0 succes in East Anglia the pair are lining up to face each other in the Premier League; a throwback fixture to the top-flights formative days.
The Canaries were the first reach the promised land in 2011 after back-to-back promotions, a feat mirrored by their opponents, and are assured of a third consecutive term in England’s top division. Eight points currently separate Chris Hughton’s men from the relegation zone but one more win would allay any lingering nerves of being sucked towards the drop zone. A 10 game winless streak was ended by a late victory against Everton in their last home game, while it’s unlikely Hughton will read too much into last weeks 4-0 hammering at Manchester United. Scoring goals is the burning issue he must resolve if Norwich are to look up rather than down in their remaining games, with his side scoring just three in their last seven games.
After edging away from the trap door following a shock win over Manchester City, two successive defeats have plunged Southampton back into trouble. That being said their recent performances have been more than encouraging and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping his team can start turning their bright displays into positive results. Despite a run of one win in six games since replacing Nigel Adkins the Saints are showing signs of adapting to the Argentinian’s differing methods. But with slim three point cushion the only thing keeping them above water they to start putting wins on the board if their survival is to be guaranteed before the seasons nail biting conclusion.
Andrew Surman is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery but John Ruddy is closing in on a return.
Southampton skipper Adam Lallana should feature after recovering from concussion, while Luke Shaw and Danny Fox will battle for the left back spot after shaking off their respective injuries.
What the managers said…
It has been shown by QPR’s win (last week) and Reading had also recently been on their best run of the season, that what you have is a group of teams around us and below us which can all win games. You only have to have one of them put a run together, which they are all capable of doing. Can you afford to relax? Absolutely you can’t. There are too many stories, even in recent seasons, of clubs which have been in good positions that eventually have gone down.” Chris Hughton warned his side that they can’t afford to relax at this stage of the season (Southern Daily Echo)
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t get any points from the games against Newcastle and QPR. Even though we were better than them and played better than them, we still left with nothing from both games. This week overall we’ve fought very hard and also thought about what we need to address from the two games. We have to carry on the way we’ve been playing because we’ve been playing very well.” Mauricio Pochettini wants Southampton to get back to winning ways at Norwich (saints.co.uk)
Pre-Match Statistic: Norwich haven’t beaten Southampton in each of the six previous matches they’ve contested
Prediction: Norwich City 1-1 Southampton