STOKE City are the visitors to Carrow Road on Saturday as Chris Hughton’s side look to maintain a recent run of form that has seen them beat Arsenal and Spurs at home, as well as an away draw with Aston Villa.
Wednesday’s Capital One Cup victory over Spurs with a much-changed side saw the Canaries advance to the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in 17 years, so confidence should be high ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash.
Potters boss Tony Pulis celebrated ten years since his first appointment as Stoke manager this week, and there is no doubt his now well-established Premier League side will provide the sternest of tests for City on Saturday.
Pulis’ side have started the season with six draws, two defeats, and one win, leaving them with nine points. Meanwhile top scorer Peter Crouch has been in fine goalscoring form, netting four goals in the league.
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CITY: Defender Russell Martin faces a late fitness test after picking up a back injury against Aston Villa, but Chris Hughton has no fresh injury concerns going into the match after Steven Whittaker (ankle) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) both made a successful return to action in the 2-1 win over Spurs. Striker Harry Kane is still missing with a foot injury.
ARSENAL: Tony Pulis was dealt a blow with the news that left-back Marc Wilson will miss three months with a broken leg. Glenn Whelan (hamstring) is the only other absentee from an otherwise fully fit squad.
The weekend brings a clash of two Cities as Norwich play host to Stoke priced at 7/4 for victory with Bet Butler
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The Canaries have only lost once at Carrow Road this season and will be encouraged by the fact Stoke have conceded first in 7 of their last 8 away trips. The Potters have kept things tight defensively however, with more than three quarters of their games featuring two or less goals, and a 1-0 Norwich win would turn £10 into £85.
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Odds correct at time of writing.
LAST LINE UPS:
CITY v Spurs
Jonny HOWSON (c),
STOKE v Sunderland
Ryan SHAWCROSS (c),
MANAGER: TONY PULIS
Pulis first took charge of Stoke City ten years ago this week, and has overseen a remarkable transformation at the Britannia Stadium that has led the Potters to become an established Premier League force. Despite a brief spell in charge of Plymouth Argyle in the 2005-06, the 54-year-old former Bristol Rovers defender has continued to improve the Stoke City squad over a that period, and guided the club to the 2011 FA Cup Final, as well as a Europa League campaign last season.
ONE-TO-WATCH: PETER CROUCH
Since his loan spell at Norwich City in 2003, the 31-year-old striker has gone on to become one of England’s most prolific goalscorers, scoring 22 goals in 42 international games. The 6ft 7ins forward has played for Spurs, QPR, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, and Stoke in his career, and is well known for scoring spectacular goals. His incredible volley against Manchester City last season, and his stunning bicycle kick for Liverpool in the Champions League against Galatasaray make him a huge threat for defenders, and City will need to be at their best on Saturday.
Norwich City v Stoke City
|Norwich City wins||Draws||Stoke City wins|
Darren Huckerby was the man on target for City the last time they secured a home win over Stoke in March 2007 – his goal giving the Canaries a 1-0 win in the Championship. The Potters have the slight edge in terms of all-time results between the two sides, although City would have closed that gap last season had Kenwyne Jones’ stoppage time equaliser at Carrow Road not cancelled out Ritchie De Laet’s opener in the 1-1 draw.
TOP LEAGUE SCORERS:
Grant Holt – Three league goals
STOKE: Peter Crouch – Four league goals
MOST LEAGUE STARTS:
CITY: John Ruddy
, Bradley Johnson, Russell Martin – Nine league starts
STOKE: Asmir Begovic, Peter Crouch, Robert Huth, Michael Kightly, Ryan Shawcross, Jonathan Walters, Marc Wilson - Nine league starts
REFEREE: Andre Marriner
The 41-year-old west-midlands based referee is one of three Premier League officials yet to produce a red card so far this season, and only four have produced less than Marriner’s 20 bookings. Marriner is yet to officiate a City or Stoke game this season, and was the man in charge of last weekend’s Merseyside derby, in which Luis Suarez had what would have been a late winner ruled out. The referee took charge of Stoke three times last season – all defeats, and City twice – a defeat at home to Man United, and a 2-2 home draw with Everton.