Norwich City-Manchester City Preview
Manchester City were held off the scoresheet for the first time last weekend, but they can make amends Saturday when they welcome woeful Norwich City to the Etihad Stadium and possibly welcome back David Silva.
A drab scoreless draw at Old Trafford on Sunday against bitter neighbours Manchester United was enough to put City back at the summit of the Premier League on goal difference over Arsenal. The spectacle of an affair in which each side only put one shot on target was not pleasant viewing for manager Manuel Pellegrini.
”I am satisfied with a point but I don’t like to play in this way,” Pellegrini said. ”It’s important to have a point here, another point in the table, but I don’t think it’s the way the team must play.
”If you can’t win it, then don’t lose it by not concentrating.”
Silva may return after missing the last three matches with an ankle sprain. If he doesn’t, he may be available for Tuesday’s trip to Spain to face Sevilla in the Champions League.
Norwich City’s last visit was a 7-0 rout that featured five different Citizens on the scoresheet along with two own goals in the first 25 minutes by the Canaries on Nov. 2, 2013.
Oddly enough, Norwich won 3-2 on their previous visit to the Etihad and also held City to a scoreless draw at Carrow Road the last time these sides met Feb. 8, 2014.
Norwich (2-3-5) have lost three straight and are 0-3-2 in their last five league matches. They fell 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, moving perilously close to the drop zone.
The Canaries have yielded 21 goals for the top flight’s third-highest total.
"The bottom line is you can either hide away from it or else you can stick your chest out and go on with it," manager Alex Neil said.
Neil rang in changes for Tuesday’s League Cup clash with Everton, with his side crashing out on penalties. Sebastien Bassong scored for the Canaries as the sides finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.
Now he knows his side will have to be at their best against the league leaders.
"Obviously, Saturday is a different kettle of fish and to be fair they’ve done a lot of work tonight as well," Neil told Norwich’s official website. "We’ve got to make sure we balance that out come the weekend, but some of them will be vying for a place. I thought every one of them ran themselves into the ground and you can’t ask for any more than that."
Man City (7-1-2) routed Crystal Palace 5-1 on Wednesday in the League Cup, with Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho scoring in a start up front.
One concern was that Pablo Zabaleta came off in the 56th minute with what appears to be a serious knee issue.
"Pablo has the same problem as two months ago – it’s the same knee," Pellegrini told City’s official website. "It’s the medial ligament on the right knee."
City will play their third league match since losing Sergio Aguero to a hamstring strain. Wilfried Bony has started both times in his absence.