STOKE CITY v NORWICH CITY
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Last Saturday was only the second time this season that the Canaries and Stoke City had both managed victories on the same weekend… but they came at a crucial time of the year for each club.
The respective wins over Reading and Queens Park Rangers put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom three, and both know a similar result this weekend will all but secure another year in the Premier League.
The two teams’ seasons have been remarkably similar, with each experiencing difficult starts before embarking on lengthy unbeaten runs that lifted them to mid-table.
However, both have only won twice each in 2013, with Tony Pulis’ side currently occupying 15th place in the top flight, two places and one point below the Canaries.
Norwich will be hoping their form against teams beginning with ‘S’ continues – avoiding defeat on Saturday afternoon at the Britannia Stadium will make it nine matches without a reverse this season against Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Southampton and Scunthorpe United.
The groin injury that forced Michael Turner off in last week’s win over Reading will keep him out of Saturday’s trip to the Britannia Stadium, Chris Hughton confirmed on Thursday.
City’s manager added that he would have no qualms about playing Leon Barnett, who this week returned from his successful loan spell at Cardiff, but Ryan Bennett is also in contention after replacing Turner, and scoring, last Saturday.
Steven Whittaker will return to the squad after a knee injury, but Andrew Surman will miss the rest of the season as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
MOST RECENT MEETINGS…
NORWICH CITY 1-0 Stoke City 03/11/2012 – Premier League
Stoke City 1-0 NORWICH CITY 03/03/2012 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 1-1 Stoke City 21/08/2011 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 0-1 Stoke City 11/03/2008 – Championship
Stoke City 2-1 NORWICH CTIY 01/12/2007 – Championship
LAST TIME AROUND… NORWICH CITY 1-0 STOKE CITY 03/11/2012 (Premier League)
Bradley Johnson’s goal moments before half-time settled a quiet match when the two sides last met at the beginning of November at Carrow Road.
The midfielder flicked a backward header in from Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick to extend the Canaries’ unbeaten run to four games and take them six points clear of the bottom three.
On the victory, manager Chris Hughton said: “You cannot be too disappointed when you have won, but we could have made life better for ourselves.
“We should have pressed more, but that takes a lot of energy, especially when you are playing against a team like Stoke.
“But I thought we dealt with it very well and apart from Kenwyne Jones' header we restricted them to a couple of half-chances.”
W – 2-0 v Queens Park Rangers (A) 20/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-2 v Manchester United (H) 14/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-3 v Aston Villa (H) 06/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v Everton (A) 30/03/2013 – Premier League
D – 0-0 v West Bromwich Albion (H) 16/03/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-1 v Reading (H) 20/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-3 v Arsenal (A) 13/04/2013 – Premier League
D – 2-2 v Swansea City (H) 06/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v Wigan Athletic (A) 30/03/2013 – Premier League
D – 1-1 v Sunderland (A) 17/03/2013 – Premier League
LAST STOKE CITY XI (4-5-1 v Queens Park Rangers)…
Asmir Begovic; Ryan Shotton, Ryan Shawcross (c), Robert Huth, Marc Wilson; Cameron Jerome, Glenn Whelan, Steven Nzonzi, Charlie Adam, Jonathan Walters; Peter Crouch.
LAST NORWICH CITY XI (4-4-2 v Reading)…
Mark Bunn; Russell Martin, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson, Jonathan Howson, Elliott Bennett; Kei Kamara, Grant Holt (c).
REFEREE – ANTHONY TAYLOR…
Cheshire official Anthony Taylor was in charge at Old Trafford last Monday evening when Manchester United secured the Premier League title with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
Canaries’ fans will be hoping his appointment brings the fortune it did when City defeated the Red Devils last November, while his other visit to Carrow Road this season came in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle United.
This will be Taylor’s second visit to the Britannia Stadium this campaign – he oversaw the Potters’ 4-1 FA Cup Third Round replay win against Crystal Palace.
He has given out 79 yellow cards and 6 red cards in his 33 games in 2012/13.
Manchester City v West Ham United (12:45)
Everton v Fulham
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion
Wigan Athletic v Tottenham Hotspur
Newcastle United v Liverpool (17:30)
Reading v Queens Park Rangers (Sunday, 13:30)
Chelsea v Swansea (Sunday, 15:00)
Arsenal v Manchester United (Sunday, 16:00)
Aston Villa v Sunderland (Monday, 20:00)