A comprehensive preview of our Boxing Day clash with the CottagersNORWICH CITY v FULHAM
Barclays Premier League
Thursday December 26, 2013
THE traditional Boxing Day fixture this year sees Chris Hughton’s Canaries welcome Fulham to Carrow Road as the first of two home matches in three days.
After the double-header concludes, the Premier League season will have reached its halfway stage and as usual the points spread between the majority of teams occupying the middle ground of the table will be negligible.
City can do themselves a festive favour, however, with victory over Rene Meulensteen’s Cottagers – not just for the reason of extending the gap between one of the sides below them but also to carry momentum into the Manchester United clash 48 hours later.
Meulensteen took charge of Fulham at the beginning of the month, and although the general perception has been that he’s overseen an upturn in performance levels, they have only three points to show for it since his arrival.
A run of nine defeats in their last ten matches in all competitions – punctuated only by their 2-0 home victory over Aston Villa – doesn’t make happy reading.
City have never beaten Fulham in the Premier League, however, with the matches in the corresponding fixture since the Club’s return to the top flight in 2011 ending in two draws.
The overall head-to-head reads in the visitors’ favour, too, with Fulham having won 18 of the 40 meetings. Norwich have won 11 times, while there has also been 11 draws.
MOST RECENT COMPETITIVE MEETINGS…
NORWICH CITY 0-0 Fulham – 09/02/2013 – Premier League
Fulham 5-0 NORWICH CITY – 18/08/2012 – Premier League
Fulham 2-1 NORWICH CITY – 31/03/2012 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 1-1 Fulham – 31/12/2011 – Premier League
Fulham 6-0 NORWICH CITY – 15/05/2005 – Premier League
LAST TIME AROUND… Norwich City 0-0 Fulham, February 9 2013 – Premier League…
The Canaries winless run extended to nine matches after a poor game ended 0-0 between the two sides at Carrow Road back in February.
New signing Luciano Becchio started for Chris Hughton’s side and had arguably the game’s best opportunity after just five minutes, shooting straight at Mark Schwarzer.
Elliott Bennett and Bradley Johnson both had half-chances as the game drew to its conclusion, but in the end both teams had to settle for a point.
Hughton said after the final whistle: "Fulham have a lot of quality in their side, but we are disappointed because we are at home and the emphasis was to look to get three points.
"We did not have enough in the final third and lacked that bit of quality, but it is a point and if you cannot win these games, you certainly have to make sure you do not lose them.
"The (lack of goals) is a concern, and it has to be, but we also have to look at the positives.
"We have managed to stop a poor run, albeit not with wins."
D – 0-0 v Sunderland (A) 21/12/2013 – Premier League
D – 1-1 v Swansea City (H) 15/12/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-0 v West Bromwich Albion (A) 07/12/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-5 v Liverpool (A) 04/12/2013 – Premier League
W – 1-0 v Crystal Palace (H) 30/11/2013 – Premier League
L – 2-4 v Manchester City (H) 21/12/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-4 v Everton (A) 14/12/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-0 v Aston Villa (H) 08/12/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-2 v Tottenham Hotspur (H) 04/12/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-3 v West Ham United (A) 30/11/2013 – Premier League
LAST NORWICH CITY XI (4-4-2 v Sunderland)…
John Ruddy; Steven Whittaker, Michael Turner, Sebastien Bassong (c), Martin Olsson; Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer, Bradley Johnson, Robert Snodgrass; Johan Elmander, Gary Hooper.
LAST FULHAM XI (4-3-3 v Manchester City)…
Maarten Stekelenburg; Sascha Riether, Philippe Senderos, Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise; Scott Parker (c), Giorgos Karagounis, Steve Sidwell; Ashkan Dejagah, Kieran Richardson, Adel Taarabt.
REFEREE – Jonathan Moss…
West Yorkshire official Jonathan Moss last took charge of a Canaries match back in November, when Chris Hughton’s side defeated West Ham United 3-1 at Carrow Road.
That is one of 16 games he has refereed this season, in which he has dished out 51 yellow cards and two red cards.
His most recent appointment was at the Hawthorns last Saturday, when he oversaw West Bromwich Albion’s 1-1 draw with Hull City.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES…
Hull City v Manchester United (12.45)
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Cardiff City v Southampton
Chelsea v Swansea City
Everton v Sunderland
Newcastle United v Stoke City
NORWICH CITY v FULHAM
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United v Arsenal
Manchester City v Liverpool (17.30)