MX23RW : Sunday, October 25 18:46:29| >> :120:22817:22817:
Mar 5, 2016 at 3pm UK at Liberty Stadium
Attendance: 20,929
SwanseaSwansea City
NorwichNorwich City
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Swansea City vs. Norwich City

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Swansea City and Norwich City at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea City will attempt to build on their impressive 2-1 win at Arsenal when they welcome an out-of-form Norwich City side to the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Victory at the Emirates on Wednesday moved Swansea six points clear of the relegation zone, but Norwich lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea on Tuesday to keep the Canaries inside the bottom three.


Wayne Routledge of Swansea City celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Arsenal on March 2, 2016© Getty Images

When a wounded Arsenal team took a one-goal lead at the Emirates on Wednesday night, it did appear that Swansea would be on the end of another defeat in the English capital, having lost 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. The Welsh outfit had not read the script, however, and managed to turn it around and claim a surprising three points against the Gunners.

All that occurred under the watchful eye of assistant coach Alan Curtis, who continues to stand in for the unwell head coach Francesco Guidolin. It is thought that the Italian will return to the dugout following a chest infection this weekend, but it was Curtis that tweaked the selection at the Emirates - changing from a diamond formation to a 4-3-3.

Swansea remain in trouble in the table - just two places outside of the relegation zone, but they are now six points clear of 18th-placed Norwich and there is no denying the importance of this weekend's match in Wales. It has been a difficult campaign for the Swans, but they are actually only six points from 13th spot and much could change in the final months.

Swansea's home record, however, is a little worrying. The Welsh outfit have only won two of their last 12 Premier League matches at the Liberty - losing five times in the process. Indeed, their last league match in Wales ended in a 1-0 Southampton win, which followed back-to-back draws against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.

Consecutive away games against Tottenham and Arsenal would have taken a lot out of the team, but after this one, they will travel to Bournemouth and then host Aston Villa - two matches that they will expect to win. Goals have been a problem throughout the campaign, however, with only 27 notched in their 28 matches, which is the joint-second worst record this term.

Recent form: WDDLLW


Alex 'Mitchell' Neil watches on during the Premier League game between Norwich City and Chelsea on March 1, 2016© Getty Images

There is no question that the pressure is starting to build on Canaries boss Alex Neil, who has seen his team go eight Premier League games without a win. Seven of those fixtures have ended in defeats - the last of which came at home to Chelsea on Tuesday. Norwich fell a goal behind inside one minute against the Blues and despite improving in the second period, could not prevent another defeat, which saw them remain inside the relegation zone.

In fact, only basement side Villa have conceded the first goal of a Premier League match on as many occasions as Norwich (20) this season, which is an indication of their troubles. A total of 24 points have been collected from 28 matches, which has left them in 18th position - level on points with 17th-placed Sunderland, who face a tough trip to Southampton this weekend.

Only Villa have been cut adrift at this stage of the season, with Newcastle United, who sit 19th, also boasting 24 points. Back-to-back wins over Villa and Southampton on December 28 and January 2 placed Norwich in a comfortable position, but they have been beaten seven times since then and have only scored once in their last five away league defeats.

A tough run of form has seen Neil's side face Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Leicester City and Chelsea in four of their last five, but it does not get any easier as they prepare to welcome Manchester City to Carrow Road at the weekend.

Norwich also have the joint-worst defensive record in the Premier League this season having shipped 53 goals, which is level with Sunderland and two more than Villa have conceded. It is not quite must-win for Norwich on Saturday, but another defeat could see them drop to 19th by the time they host a wounded Man City next weekend.

Recent form: LLLDLL

Team News

Swansea City's Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with Swansea City's French striker Bafetimbi Gomis (R) after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park in Bi© Getty Images

Stephen Kingsley made his Swansea debut at Arsenal in a team that showed six changes from the one that lost at Spurs at the weekend, with Leroy Fer also being handed his first start for the Welsh club.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was left on the bench at the Emirates, but his second-half performance is expected to earn the midfielder a recall, while the experienced Angel Rangel could also return at full-back.

Bafetimbi Gomis's future at Swansea is still unclear, but the powerful striker proved a real handful against the Gunners and should keep his spot in the first-team selection ahead of January signing Alberto Paloschi, who scored his first Premier League goal last weekend at White Hart Lane.

As for Norwich, Neil is expected to keep with his preferred 5-4-1 formation and Wes Hoolahan should continue in the team after having no adverse effects to a recent muscular problem.

Andre Wisdom is still unavailable due to a knee problem, but Steven Naismith and Dieumerci Mbokani are both expected to feature as Neil looks to boost his team's goal return.

Swansea possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Naughton; Cork, Sigurdsson, Fer; Routledge, Gomis, Ayew

Norwich possible starting lineup:
Ruddy; Brady, Klose, Martin, Bennett, Pinto; Redmond, Tettey, Howson, Hoolahan; Naismith

Head To Head

Saturday's clash will be the 53rd time that these two teams have met in all competitions. Both have been victorious on 21 occasions, with the further 10 fixtures finishing level.

Swansea have actually only won one of the last seven Premier League meetings between the two teams, however, and suffered four defeats in the process. This fixture also points to entertainment, with 15 goals being scored across the three Premier League games between the two teams at the Liberty Stadium.

In terms of the more recent history, Norwich recorded a 1-0 victory when the pair met at Carrow Road earlier this season, but Swansea were 3-0 winners in their last Premier League meeting in Wales (March 2014).

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We say: Swansea 1-1 Norwich

Swansea will enter the match full of confidence following an impressive win over Arsenal and will fancy their chances of taking all the points at home to a relegation rival this weekend.

Norwich were much improved in the second half against Chelsea on Tuesday, however, and their style of play and indeed formation might well suit this match. We are backing the Canaries to get something in Wales this weekend.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash in Wales?

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Alan Curtis caretaker Manager of Swansea City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City at Etihad Stadium on December 12, 2015
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