2021-22 Premier League: Week 12 – Norwich vs Southampton

Norwich begin life under Dean Smith at home as the Canaries welcome Southampton to Carrow Road.

Victory could lift Norwich up to 19th if Newcastle fail to beat Brentford elsewhere, whereas Southampton could climb as high as sixth if results elsewhere go in their favour.

 

Team News

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Norwich could be without Billy Gilmour and Andrew Omobamidele after the pair returned from international duty with respective muscle and Achilles injuries.

Todd Cantwell (fitness) and Grant Hanley (groin) are also set to feature but Sam Byram (hamstring) and Christoph Zimmerman (ankle) remain ruled out.

Southampton is set to have James Ward-Prowse available after the midfielder pulled out of the England squad through illness.

Armando Broja (ankle) is available for selection but Nathan Redmond (Coronavirus) and Valentino Livramento (knock) are set to face late fitness tests.

Jack Stephens is still ruled out indefinitely with a knee injury.

 

Stat Attack

  • Norwich have won just one of their last five league meetings against Southampton (W1, L4).
  • Southampton have won one of their last five league visits to Carrow Road (W1, D1, L3).
  • Danny Ings scored in both of Southampton’s last two matches against Norwich but has since joined Aston Villa.
  • No team has scored fewer league goals this season in the Premier League than Norwich, with the Canaries scoring just five goals in 11 matches.
  • Five of Southampton’s nine league goals this season have come from English players (Adam Armstrong, James Ward Prowse x2 & Valentino Livramento x1).
  • Dean Smith will become the first manager in Premier League history to face the same opposition in consecutive matches with two different clubs.

 

Prediction

I must admit that I was surprised that Daniel Farke was sacked just hours after Norwich delivered an excellent away victory at Brentford through superb attacking play, in which they stretched the Bees’ defence and clinically took their chances before defending their lead well.

Dean Smith though is now in charge with a pressing 4-4-2 style which could suit Norwich if their defence improves in stability, whilst unlocking that extra quality in attack could be key to scoring more goals but their win at Brentford could be the breakthrough that Norwich needed.

Southampton meanwhile have found form in the last month with no defeats in their last five matches (excluding their penalty shootout loss to Chelsea in Carabao Cup after 1-1 draw), so can come into this match with confidence.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints though coincidentally were Smith’s final opposition as Aston Villa boss as they delivered a clinically aggressive all-round performance, although they did waste several opportunities at times so hopefully Smith has learned from that game and set Norwich up to limit Southampton.

On that note, the first goal feels crucial but if Southampton are able to make another lightning start and get on the front foot with aggressive pressing, I can’t see Norwich getting the win but a solid defensive effort would be a positive start for Smith’s reign in that scenario.

Prediction: Norwich 1-2 Southampton

Result: Norwich 2-1 Southampton

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