Two in-form Premier League teams at opposite ends of the table will lock horns at Carrow Road on Saturday evening when Norwich City host Manchester City.
The Canaries are unbeaten in their last four matches across all competitions, while the Citizens last tasted defeat domestically back in October last year.
Norwich have boosted their hopes of Premier League survival over the past few weeks, as they have accumulated seven points from a possible nine available, only one fewer than they claimed in their previous 12 league matches.
Two important victories in January against fellow relegation candidates Everton and Watford were followed by a 1-1 draw at home against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
Teemu Pukki scored the fastest Premier League goal of the season so far, when he put the Canaries in front after just 38 seconds, before Wilfried Zaha equalised with a brilliant right-footed strike on the hour mark. Zaha then had the chance to put Palace ahead from the penalty spot just a few minutes later; however, he scuffed his effort from 12 yards well wide of the post.
Despite claiming just a point, Dean Smith will have taken plenty of positives from the game, considering they were beaten 3-0 in the reverse fixture just six weeks ago.
After Newcastle United’s midweek win put Norwich back into the relegation zone, the draw against Palace was not enough for Smith’s side to escape the bottom three, and they have now played at least one more game than the other teams in the bottom six.
The Canaries will now prepare for arguably their biggest challenge yet this weekend when they face leaders Man City, a team they have lost against in eight of their last 12 Premier League games, conceding 41 goals in the process.
Norwich have suffered defeat in 13 of their last 15 top-flight matches against the previous season’s champions, but both exceptions during this run were 3-2 triumphs against Man City in May 2013 and September 2019, results which should provide plenty of confidence and hope for Smith’s men as they bid to cause another upset on Saturday.
After seeing their impressive 12-game winning run come to an end with a 1-1 draw at Southampton, Manchester City returned to winning ways with a routine 2-0 success at home to Brentford on Wednesday night.
City’s top goalscorer Riyad Mahrez broke the deadlock from the penalty spot five minutes before half time, netting his 16th goal of the season across all competitions, before Kevin De Bruyne swept in the second to put the game to bed.
Pep Guardiola’s side now boast a commanding 12-point advantage at the summit, though Liverpool in second do have two games in hand, including one against Leicester City on Thursday night.
The Citizens head to Carrow Road with an unsurprisingly impressive record against teams who begin the day inside the relegation zone, losing only one of their last 36 top-flight matches; however, that lone defeat was in their last such visit to Norwich, as mentioned earlier back in September 2019.
After losing 1-0 away at Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of the season, Man City head to Carrow Road unbeaten in their last 11 top-flight games on the road and they currently have the best away record in the division, accumulating 29 points from their 12 matches, five more than their nearest challengers.
City will certainly have one eye on their Champions League last-16 tie against Sporting Lisbon next Tuesday, but for now, Guardiola’s men will be focused on securing all three points against the Canaries.
Norwich City Premier League form:
Norwich City form (all competitions):
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
We say: Norwich City 1-3 Manchester City
Norwich have risen to the occasion against Man City in recent meetings and they will fancy their chances of a potential upset in front of their home supporters.
However, the Premier League leaders will be the strong favourites for Saturday’s contest and they should have no problems in recording their 20th top-flight victory of the campaign