Norwich v City: Talking Points
- 10 March 2016 16:30
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
City return to Premier League action on Saturday lunchtime with a trip to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City.
Where might the game be won or lost? Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc investigates…
You have to go back nearly five months for the last time City won consecutive Premier League games.
Newcastle and Bournemouth were dispatched in back-to-back home games at the start of October and since, City have struggled to generate the consistency of results required to topple Leicester at the table summit.
Following our emphatic win over Villa last time out, Manuel Pellegrini’s side now have the opportunity to string victories together against a Norwich team who’ve taken just one point from the last 27 available.
It’s our second journey to Carrow Road in 2016 after our FA Cup third round win there in January.
On that occasion, Sergio Aguero, Kelechi Iheanacho and Kevin De Bruyne netted the goals to give us a convincing 3-0 triumph.
It’s been 15 years since City were last beaten on Norwich’s patch and we’ve won four of our last five visits, scoring an average of 3.8 goals per game.
Early kick-offs haven’t been too kind to us in recent times.
Anomalous? Probably. But City have lost all three of their Barclays Premier League games which have kicked off at 12:45pm, against Leicester, Stoke and Spurs.
City’s last win in the first Premier League match of a weekend was almost 12 months ago, when West Brom visited the Etihad Stadium on 21 March 2015.
There’s little better than getting your business done early in the weekend and then putting the pressure firmly on your rivals – can City do it for the first time this season to turn up the heat in the title race?
As MCFC scribe David Clayton has pointed out elsewhere on the site, Aguero is now just two goals shy of the top ten all-time City scorers list.
His record against Norwich is pretty formidable too – Kun has found the net five times in five Premier League appearances against the Canaries and scored a stunning solo goal at Carrow Road back in January.
There’s no striker in better form in the rest of the Premier League either.
Sergio has scored a whopping 15 goals from 27 shots on target in his last 14 league games.
Take a look back at the Etihad Stadium encounter below
City have looked a more convincing proposition since Vincent Kompany returned to the fold and, in the coming weeks, the team are likely to welcome back another three decisive squad members from lay-offs.
At this pivotal time of the season, with two fronts still left to fight on, one of our players of the season so far in Kevin De Bruyne may yet still have an important role to play.
The Belgian playmaker has been missing since the start of January with a knee injury but has been back in training with a ball this week.
Samir Nasri is slightly further ahead in his recuperation and is hoping for a comeback in the coming weeks, while Fabian Delph is also closing in on a return to action.
All of a sudden, it looks as though the Blues will have real strength in depth when it comes to fresh attacking options which could be crucial if the three teams ahead of us start to tire.
Goals have certainly flowed in this fixture in recent years, with just one scoreless stalemate in the last 19 years.
Nets have been breached 40 times in the last eight Premier League meetings between the teams, meaning if recent history is anything to go by, the smart money will be on plenty of action in either box on Saturday afternoon.
It’s entering that point in the season where supporters will start being able to recite the remaining fixtures for their own teams, as well as their rivals.
Arsenal will be on FA Cup duty this weekend, so City can move ahead of the Gunners with a win at Carrow Road.
Spurs will face off against Aston Villa on Sunday, while Leicester are in action at the King Power Stadium on Monday night where they take on Newcastle.
A perfect weekend of results would leave City in third, two points behind Spurs and seven behind Leicester with a game in hand on both.