Preview: Norwich City vs. Manchester City

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Norwich and Manchester City, who thrashed the Canaries 7-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Norwich City will have to be wary of a Manchester City response when they welcome the Premier League favourites to Carrow Road on Saturday.

The Citizens were undone by a Jose Mourinho tactical masterclass earlier this week, as Chelsea inflicted on them a first home defeat of the season, and ended their 20-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Norwich know first-hand, though, how dangerous Manuel Pellegrini's men can be, having been on the end of a 7-0 thumping at Eastlands in November, and it may be a case of Chelsea having angered the beast.

However, City are without several key names, with none of Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho or Samir Nasri expected to feature again this month. Javi Garcia could be back in contention to start in East Anglia, but, if not, centre-back Martin Demichelis is likely to continue to deputise in a holding midfield role.

Stevan Jovetic, a £22m arrival from Fiorentina in the summer, has made substitute appearances in City's last four matches, but Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko will probably be paired together up front again.

Canaries boss Chris Hughton persisted with two strikers in the loss to Cardiff City last weekend, although it was Johan Elmander and not record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel who partnered Gary Hooper.

Hooper may go it alone against City, though, if Hughton chooses to reinforce his midfield with an extra body. Dutch international Leroy Fer could be restored in the centre of the park, while Nathan Redmond's pace on the counter-attack is an option that may be considered ahead of Jonas Gutierrez.

City are currently two points adrift of league leaders Arsenal at the top of the table, while Norwich are the same distance away from the relegation zone and currently occupy 15th position.

Recent form

Norwich: LDWLLD

Man City: LWWWWW

Possible starting lineups

Norwich: Ruddy; Martin, Bassong, Bennett, Olsson; Redmond, Tettey, Fer, Johnson, Snodgrass; Hooper

Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Navas, Toure, Garcia, Silva; Negredo, Dzeko

Sports Mole says: 1-3

Craig Bellamy of Cardiff City celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Norwich City on February 1, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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