Norwich City vs Southampton
Venue: Carrow Road
Referee: Lee Mason
Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems as though the Premier League is not following suit of their Italian counterparts in playing games behind closed doors and carrying on as usual.
If games are to go ahead, it could be a huge weekend for Daniel Farke and his men as they can build on their massively important win over Leicester two weeks ago. Their opponents, Southampton, have been struggling recently as they have lost all three of their last three Premier League games and it will be no surprise to Farke that Southampton will come out all guns blazing in search of a win. Southampton’s away form has been massively outperforming their home form this season, highlighted with recent losses to both Newcastle and Burnley at St. Mary’s – games that manager Ralph Hasenhuttl would be expecting to take points away from.
Carrow Road has not been kind to Southampton in years of late as they must go all the way back to April 1994 to find their last three points away to the Canaries. The Canaries will be confident as they have had a resurgence. They have won two of their last three games at home, equalling their wins in their first 11 home games this season. The Saints have lost their last two games in a row on the road and seem to be slipping back into the hole that they seemingly dragged themselves out of not that long ago.
The Saints have won their last six games against newly-promoted sides. However, Norwich will be the side with the bigger incentive to snatch the three points this weekend. Six points away from safety and striving for a place to stay in the Premier League. Assuming, of course, that the Premier League will continue to the end of the season, which at this point, seems less and less likely as the days go on. How promotions/relegations/winners will be decided, if there are any at all, is yet to be seen and will hold the hearts of the football fans between two fingers, with Liverpool fans’ being the most fragile.
Daniel Farke will be faced with no new injury prospects this weekend, making a change from this season’s norm. Emiliano Buendia has provided seven assists this season and is yet to score a goal. The exciting forward can play in the number ten role, as an eight and out on the wing. His pace, trickery and vision will be difficult for Southampton to contain. Combined with the skill of Todd Cantwell and finishing of Teemu Pukki, Norwich will cause Southampton problems this weekend.
The Canaries fought hard in their last Premier League fixture against a solid Sheffield United side and were unlucky to come away without any points and will look to pick up three this weekend.
Moussa Djenepo will miss this weekend through his suspension picked up against Newcastle last week. The Saints’ saving grace will be the return of Stuart Armstrong from his concussion. Armstrong provides more of an engine in the middle of the park for the Saints and partnered with Sofiane Boufal could be an exciting combination.
It is no secret that Southampton are experiencing a dip in their recently much better form. Two of their last three games have been home defeats and Hasenhuttl will be hoping that they can establish an early grasp on the game and improve on their already good away form this season. Their goal will be to accumulate as many points as possible. However, finishing in a European place looks out the question for the side from the South Coast.
Predicted Starting XIs
Norwich (4-5-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey, Mclean, Buendia, Duda, Cantwell; Pukki
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Armstrong, Boufal; Ings, Long
Score Prediction: Norwich 1-1 Southampton
Both sides will be eager to clinch the three points. However, both sides will be cautious of each other abilities upfront and it could end up a very caged affair.