Southampton will be determined to regain some momentum by claiming their first Premier League victory of the season against a Norwich City that has not lost away from home in any competition since January.
It has been a bit of a struggle in recent weeks for the Saints, with just two league points to their name and only one goal – a penalty – to their credit in their previous four outings. The most recent of those was in Denmark against Midjylland, where a sluggish first half display and a lack of chances created meant they exited the Europa League without even reaching the group stage, an anti-climax which serves as a major disappointment to manager Ronald Koeman, who had taken the competition very seriously by naming strong line-ups.
The 1-0 second leg defeat came after a similarly toothless display at Watford last weekend, where they were let of the hook somewhat by their wasteful hosts. Combined with the distraction of key players such as Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, the recent run has led many to question whether they are on the slide, so this match comes as the ideal opportunity for the South coast club to prove those people wrong and prove that they can embark on another successful campaign.
By contrast, Norwich are playing with a considerable amount of freedom and inventiveness, and were only denied a second straight league victory by a superb goalkeeping performance from Stoke City’s Jack Butland last time out. Robbie Brady in particular was a constant menace, creating more goalscoring chances than any other player in the Premier League over the course of the weekend, while central defender and captain Russell Martin has found the magic touch, scoring in successive games.
The key here for the Canaries is to make a positive start, which would force the home crowd into a state of anxiety. With Southampton having shown a vulnerability to pace on the counter-attack of late, it would be a good idea to try and get Nathan Redmond on the ball as often as possible, and the former Birmingham City winger has looked that little bit sharper on his return to the top-flight. There is positivity at Norwich, and victory here would only increase that.
Mane and Wanyama should be fit for Southampton, who are still unable to call upon goalkeeper Fraser Forster, left-back Ryan Bertrand and midfielder Jordy Clasie.
Kyle Lafferty, Youssouf Mulumbu and Martin Olsson remain out for Norwich, who have also suspended striker Lewis Grabban amid interest from his former club Bournemouth.
Last Meeting: Southampton pushed Norwich closer to the relegation trapdoor in March 2014 after recording a 4-2 victory in this fixture. Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring after just five minutes, with second half goals from Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez giving Saints a seemingly unassailable lead. A quickfire two-goal burst from Johan Elmander and Robert Snodgrass gave Norwich hope of an unlikely draw, only for Sam Gallagher to clinch in for the hosts in the dying stages.
Played for both – Simon Charlton: A reliable presence at left-back, Charlton made the step up to the Premier League by joining Southampton in 1993, going on to score twice in 114 appearances for the club. Six years after leaving The Dell, he moved to Norwich following their promotion the Premier League as second tier champions. He featured regularly during 2004-05, but was unable to help prevent the club from immediately dropping back down.
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