MX23RW : Friday, May 24 05:11:39| >> :600:107095927:107095927:
Jan 2, 2016 at 3pm UK at ​Carrow Road
NorwichNorwich City
Tettey (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Wanyama (73')

Preview: Norwich City vs. Southampton

Sports Mole brings you the lowdown ahead of Saturday's Premier League match between Norwich City and Southampton at Carrow Road.

The Premier League season is at its midway point and both Norwich City and Southampton will go into their first match of the New Year at Carrow Road on Saturday in the bottom half.

Norwich managed exactly half of the magic 40-point haul targeted to stay up in the first 19 games, while Southampton have underwhelmed after such a strong showing in 2014-15.


Dieumerci Mbokani celebrates scoring Norwich's second against Aston Villa on December 28, 2015© Getty Images

Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani were on target for the Canaries as they overcame Aston Villa in a big game in the bottom half on Monday, distancing themselves from the drop zone and hurting rockbottom Villa's hopes of gaining some ground on those above them.

Alex Neil's side finished the year with only one defeat in four and won two of their last three to sit 15th at the halfway mark, three points above 18th-placed Newcastle United.

The Canaries' recent form means that they have picked up as many wins in their last three Premier League games as they had in their previous 14 matches in the competition (W2 D5 L7).

Monday's win was also only the second time in the first half of the season that Norwich managed to keep a clean sheet, which is a joint league low with lowly Villa.

Despite their struggles for shutouts over the course of the campaign, Norwich have conceded just three goals in their last five Premier League games at Carrow Road, but have only found the net five times themselves in these games.

Wes Hoolahan picked out Mbokani with a pinpoint cross to set up their second on Monday, and the Irishman has now provided more assists for Norwich than any other player in Premier League history with 17.

With the January transfer window just two days away, Norwich look set to successfully sign Steven Naismith from Everton after failing to nab the Scot in the summer, although Toffees boss Roberto Martinez recently suggested that it would not be until the middle of the month if a deal were to go through.

Recent form: DLDWLW


Ronald Koeman is forever blowing bubbles during the game between West Ham and Southampton on December 28, 2015© Getty Images

After a Boxing Day blowout against now-league leaders Arsenal, expectations were running high among Saints fans when they travelled to Upton Park to face a West Ham United side without a win in seven on Monday.

Things were looking good for Ronald Koeman's men when took the lead early on thanks to a Carl Jenkinson own goal, but it went pear-shaped in the second half as Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll struck to earn the hosts a year-ending victory.

It means that the Saints suffered defeat in five of their last seven Premier League matches of 2015, leaving a team that were top-four contenders for much of last season 12th and 11 points adrift of Champions League places.

Looking further back, away form has been a problem for some time now. The Saints have picked up just two victories in their last 16 in the Premier League (W2 D5 L9) and scored just 12 goals in these matches.

Attacking reinforcements might be necessary in January, then, but Koeman said today that he will only look to buy another striker if Graziano Pelle and Jay Rodriguez do not recover from their respective injuries soon.

Koeman also insisted that on-loan defender Steven Caulker would remain with the club for the duration of his season-long stay, even though the Queens Park Rangers man has only appeared twice in the league this season.

Recent form: LDLLWL

Team News

Graziano Pelle of Southampton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Norwich City at St Mary's Stadium on August 30, 2015© Getty Images

Koeman confirmed today that Pelle would miss a third straight game with a knee injury, meaning that Shane Long will continue to lead the line at Carrow Road.

The Irishman will hope to continue his strong scoring form against Norwich having bagged six goals in his last nine league appearances against the Canaries.

Cedric Soares also remains absent, while Oriol Romeu will have to sit out after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at West Ham.

Neil, meanwhile, has a near-fully fit squad to choose from, with Andre Wisdom and Matt Jarvis his only absentees.

The hosts could therefore name an unchanged starting lineup, with Mbokani likely to again spearhead the attack after impressing against Villa.

Norwich possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Brady; Howson; Tettey, Dorrans, Redmond; Hoolahan; Mbokani

Southampton possible starting lineup:
Stekelenburg; Martina, Van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand; Clasie, Wanyama, Davis; Mane, Tadic; Long

Head To Head

At the end of August Southampton romped to a 3-0 win against a 10-man Norwich effort, meaning that they have scored seven goals in their last two games against the Norfolk side.

However, both of those were at St Mary's and when they last met at Carrow Road, Nathan Redmond scored the only goal in a 1-0 home win.

That victory was Norwich's only win in their last 10 matches against Southampton in all competitions (W1 D5 L4).

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We say: Norwich 1-1 Southampton

Norwich will close to within a point of the Saints if they make it three wins in four, but the visitors should be stubborn enough to earn at least a point.

Who will start 2016 with a win, Norwich or Southampton?

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Graziano Pelle of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on September 20, 2015 in Southampton, United Kingdom.
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