Premier League: Norwich City vs Manchester City Preview, Match details, Where to watch, Players to watch out for, Betting tips and more
After an enthralling international break, filled with mind-boggling action, the attention shifts to the Premier League when Liverpool host Newcastle in the early kick-off on Saturday.
The Canaries won the EFL Championship last term and showcased themselves to be a free-scoring side, capable of outgunning any opposition crossing their path.
Though they looked a touch shaky defensively, they possessed enough quality in the attacking third to offset that particular deficiency. And, Norwich have carried those traits into the Premier League as well.
On the opening weekend, the newly-promoted side travelled to Anfield and were thrashed 4-1. Funnily, despite the top-flight season being just a game old, several passed judgements hinting that the Canaries were destined to drop back into the Championship.
Over the next few weeks, Norwich defeated Newcastle at home whereas they went down to Chelsea and West Ham United.
However, despite languishing at 19th in the table, the Canaries have managed to notch up six goals in four matches, a tally similar to Arsenal and Chelsea and just one shy of what Manchester United and Tottenham have conjured.
Yet, akin to numerous times last term, their defence has been found wanting. And, for all of their offensive genius, they’ve been rather generous at the back, shipping in 10 goals in four games.
Thus, the Canaries find themselves in a tight corner, with their defensive boat creaking spectacularly. And, unfortunately for them, a date with Manchester City, arguably the best attacking side in Europe, lies in wait on Saturday.
The Cityzens have started the season from where they left off in May and have been irresistible in the opening quartet of Premier League games.
The likes of Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have gone from strength to strength while Rodri has slotted seamlessly into Pep Guardiola’s system.
However, the most refreshing aspect of City’s season so far has been the return of Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian missed a major chunk of last season yet, courtesy the quality in the Sky Blues’ ranks, his absence was hardly felt.
De Bruyne though, seems to be on a personal mission, wherein he wants to make up for the lost time and prove that he remains one of the most instrumental cogs in Guardiola’s wheel.
Thus, on paper, the Cityzens seem too strong for Norwich, especially considering the latter’s propensity to leak goals easily.
Yet, as the Premier League has shown on countless previous occasions, underestimating an opponent should be done at one’s peril and it is certainly a mistake City would want to avoid making.
Date: 14th September, 2019
Time: 05:30pm (Local Time); 10:00pm IST
Venue: Carrow Road
Where to watch: Star Sports Network (India); Sky Sports (UK); NBC Sports (USA)
Head to Head Record
Total Matches Played: 68 matches
Norwich City: 9 wins
Manchester City: 36 wins
Draw: 23 draws
Form Guide (Last five matches; Most recent first)
Norwich City: L-L-L-W-L
Manchester City: W-W-D-W-W
Players to watch out for
Teemu Pukki took the Championship landscape by storm the last term when he scored 29 times and bagged 9 assists.
Inevitably, the majority of football fans were intrigued to see if the Finland international could recreate similar numbers in the English top-flight. And, so far, he has lived up to his billing. In four games, he has scored 5 goals and has assisted another for the Canaries.
He opened Norwich’s account in the Premier League with a well-taken goal against Liverpool and he would be looking to strengthen his burgeoning reputation by denting the defending champions on Saturday.
While the Canaries have several problems plaguing them, Pukki’s form is surely not one of them.
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian has produced a string of stunning performances this season, for both club and country. Representing Belgium in the recently concluded international break, De Bruyne laid on three assists and scored a goal in a convincing victory over Scotland.
On the Premier League front, the midfielder has scored once whereas he has played the final pass on five other occasions, meaning that he has been involved in a goal every 54.66 minutes in the top-flight.
Thus, the Belgian seems to be on an upward curve and a trajectory that isn’t showing any signs of spiralling downwards.
With a trip to the league’s most defensively shaky side beckoning, De Bruyne would be licking his lips and hoping to add to his tally.
Norwich City win: 12.00
Manchester City win: 1.14
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:27 IST