West Brom-Norwich City Preview
The only time Norwich City haven’t allowed a goal this season came outside of Premier League play, but against West Bromwich Albion.
Hoping for the same good fortune to soothe their ills on defence, the Canaries try to avoid a third consecutive league defeat Saturday against visiting West Brom.
Norwich (2-3-4) has allowed a league-high 20 goals in their return to the Premier League, and might have hit bottom after Sunday’s 6-2 drubbing at the hands of lowly Newcastle United, who entered the match winless.
"(They) punished us, which shows the ruthlessness of this league," Norwich captain Russell Martin told Norwich’s official website. "Newcastle scored easy goals, which is frustrating."
Georginio Wijnaldum scored four times and Newcastle registered three of their goals in the second half. Norwich’s 12 goals allowed after halftime also are the most in league play, where they are winless over the last four contests.
"We’re hurting but have to get over that quickly," said Martin, who has scored just one of his three league goals in the last six matches. "It’s our togetherness and working as a unit which makes us a good team, and that’s what we need now."
Though Martin and leading scorer Nathan Redmond were among a host of regulars on both sides who did not play, the Canaries showed that cohesive form during their 3-0 victory over West Brom (3-2-4) in League Cup play Sept. 23 at Carrow Road. Norwich has won five of the last seven meetings over all competitions against the Baggies, whose seven goals are the second-fewest in the Premier League and their 88 shots attempted are more than only relegation-zone dwellers Sunderland and Newcastle.
West Brom, however, should have even more motivation to avenge last month’s defeat to Norwich after snapping a three-game skid over all competitions with last Saturday’s 1-0 victory over last-place Sunderland. Saido Berahino scored in the 54th minute on the Baggies’ lone shot on goal to help them win for the first time in five league matches at The Hawthorns this season.
"We needed this for confidence," manager Tony Pulis told West Brom’s official website. "It’s been a messy start in lots of respects."
Berahino shouldn’t be lacking for confidence with three goals in his last four matches.
Teammate Stephane Sessegnon was simply happy to be back on the pitch against his former side last weekend in his first Premier League action since April 11. Struggling to earn playing time this season, the midfielder also started in that League Cup match against Norwich and could again feature Saturday, especially if James Morrison misses another contest with an ankle injury.
"I was really happy to be back playing," said Sessegnon, who has recorded one league goal since posting five in his first season with West Brom in 2013-14.
"To be in the side again was nice and I tried to do my best after working hard to get back in. I thought I performed well. After getting this victory hopefully we can push on and win more matches."
Morrison, who has two goals and two assists this season, was not in the lineup for last month’s meeting with Norwich.