Norwich City and Bournemouth have both taken a fairly respectable four points from as many games since promotion to the Premier League and will have their eyes set on improving their standing further when they meet on Saturday.
Strong performances against Sunderland and Stoke City meant the Canaries came into their last match at Southampton high on confidence, but two careless bookings for Steven Whitaker in the first half seriously affected their game-plan and they ended up soundly beaten, thanks largely to a failure to hold out until half-time. Striker Cameron Jerome had little to feed off in attack on what was a frustrating day for Alex Neil’s side.
It was a first away defeat for the Scot in any competition since he took charge back in January, so he will expect his players to bounce back quickly in this one, a game which they must surely target points from being at home to a club that is likely to be near them in the table come the end of the season. A first clean sheet of 2015-16 would be most welcome, having seen John Ruddy concede eight goals already so far.
Bournemouth were just minutes away from registering their second successive victory against Leicester City before the international break, only to concede a late penalty to allow the unbeaten Foxes to level in a game littered with contentious incidents. It was another outing that emphasised the considerable ability of Callum Wilson, whose overhead kick to open the scoring oozed class, just like his hat-trick at West Ham United the previous week.
His pace will undoubtedly cause problems for the Norwich centre-backs, who showed vulnerability when faced with a similar test against Crystal Palace on opening day. Alongside him, a number of other players have had few problems in making the step-up to the Premier League, meaning that this is all set to be an entertaining clash between two very attack-minded teams who do not lack creativity.
New loan signings Matt Jarvis and Dieumerci Mbokani could be handed their first appearances for Norwich, who are still without the injured Youssouf Mulumbu. Whitaker serves a one-match ban.
Summer signings Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are both long-term absentees for a Bournemouth side that is likely to award a debut to striker Glenn Murray. Midfielder Harry Arter is nearing fitness, but misses out again here.