Norwich City will be aiming for their second win on the bounce on Saturday when they face Stoke City, a side that have only beaten once in six previous Premier League meetings.
It has been a reasonable start for the newly promoted club, with an opening day comeback against Crystal Palace halted by a highly dubious refereeing decision before a dominant display at Sunderland was rewarded with a 3-1 victory. They played with all the intensity their opponents lacked on Wearside, producing neat attacking football which suggested they are very well equipped to effectively compete in the top-flight.
Manager Alex Neil will be aware that not every side they come up against will be as generous as Sunderland, but will be extremely encouraged by the way his players never loosened their control on proceedings. Nathan Redmond in particular has made a very strong start to the season, scoring in both games so far and his pace will be one of Norwich’s biggest weapons here, while Cameron Jerome will come into the game with no shortage of motivation as he looks to impress against his former club.
For much of their game at Tottenham last time out, Stoke were staring at the prospect of zero points from their opening two games, but hit back strongly with the help of an inspired double substitution from manager Mark Hughes to score twice in the space of six minutes and rescue a 2-2 draw. On his first Premier League appearance, Joselu won the penalty that led to their first, before Stephen Ireland, instrumental in the recovery, provided the cross that led to Mame Biram Diouf glancing in the equaliser.
It was a pleasing result in the circumstances, and, having had two tricky games to begin with, may act as a springboard to pick up a healthy haul of points before the international break at the end of August. The final quarter of the match at White Hart Lane was a glimpse of what may lie ahead for a side which is set to introduce Xherdan Shaqiri and is not too far away from welcoming Bojan Krkic back from injury.
The hosts are still without Kyle Lafferty, Youssouf Mulumbu and Martin Olsson, but are likely to name an unchanged line-up.
Shaqiri should make his Stoke debut after serving a suspension carried over from his time at Inter and they have Marc Wilson back from injury. Jonathan Walters may also feature despite being the subject of a bid from Norwich on Thursday.
Last Meeting: A tight affair saw Stoke hit pack from a goal down to earn a share of the points in March 2014. Bradley Johnson headed home from a free-kick to give Norwich the lead 11 minutes after half-time, but the strugglers could not hold on as Jonathan Walters converted from the penalty spot after a foul on John Guidetti. Walters was later sent off for a dangerous challenge on Alexander Tettey.
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