Second-placed Swansea City can close the gap with EFL Championship leaders Norwich City with a win as the two sides clash at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.
Steve Cooper's Swansea City are not the most bewitching of sides in the EFL Championship. But if they win Friday's 'six-pointer' against table-toppers Norwich City, they will be well placed to take over at the top over the coming weeks.
Tuesday saw Norwich City forgo an excellent opportunity to go further clear at the top as they were held to a goalless draw by Millwall. Gary Rowett's Millwall sat deep and the Canaries found it challenging to find inroads or break down the low block.
Norwich City manager Daniel Farke reflected on the same in his post-match address. He said:
“Some mistakes and decision making in the final third were not ruthless enough in order to score. That was why we couldn’t find a way to win this game. When a side is defending that deep, you have to make sure to open them a little bit.
They will be well aware of the fact that Swansea City have a propensity to do the same when they're out of possession. Steve Cooper's side shifts into a five-at-the-back system and their organisation in defence has helped them become the side with the best defensive record in the league.
Friday's match will be Norwich City's third game in six days. As for the Swans, home advantage will be one of the things that tips the scales in their favour. Swansea are undefeated in their last nine games across all competitions since their mid-December loss against Derby County.
Meanwhile, Norwich City have gone five games without a defeat in the EFL Championship.
Swansea City vs Norwich City Head-to-Head
Swansea City and Norwich City have clashed 57 times till date. Norwich City have the slightest edge over their Friday opponents, having won 24 times while the Swans have won 23. 10 matches have ended in draws.
The last time these two sides locked horns was earlier this season and Norwich City lost 1-0 at home.
Swansea City form guide: W-W-W-D-W
Norwich City form guide: W-W-L-D-D
Swansea City vs Norwich City Team News
The Swans will welcome Kyle Naughton back into the fray after he missed the game against Rotherham United via suspension. Steve Cooper had confirmed a few days back that Liam Cullen and Wayne Routledge will face long lay-offs after the pair were injured in Swansea's FA Cup win over Nottingham Fotrest.
Liam Cullen is expected to be out for the season. 20-year-old Morgan Whittaker has joined from Derby County but we can't say for certain he'll feature. Tivonge Rushesha is also likely to miss the rest of the season through injury. Steven Benda is the only other long-term absentee.
Injured: Liam Cullen, Wayne Routledge, Tivonge Rushesha and Steven Benda
Emiliano Buendia will miss the game through suspension after picking up a red card against Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill is out with a torn hamstring. Sam Byram and Michael McGovern will miss out as well.
Injuries: Jordan Hugill, Sam Byram and Michael McGovern
Suspensions: Emi Buendia
Swansea City vs Norwich City Predicted Lineups
Swansea City (3-1-4-2): Freddie Woodman; Ryan Bennett, Ben Cabango, Marc Guehi; Matt Grimes; Connor Roberts, Jake Bidwell, Jay Fulton, Conor Hourihane; Jamal Lowe, Andrew Ayew.
Norwich City Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul, Max Aarons, Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson, Dimitris Giannoulis, Oliver Skipp, Lukas Rupp, Przemyslaw Placheta, Mario Vrancic, Todd Cantwell, Teemu Pukki
Swansea City vs Norwich City Prediction
Norwich struggled against Millwall's lowblock in their last outing and it won't be much different against a Swansea side that has conceded five less goals than any other side in the Championship. Swansea will try to make the home advantage count but this one could end up being a draw.
Match prediction: Swansea City 1-1 Norwich City