Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League: Preview, Probable Teams
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 30, 2013 9:19 PM EST
Tottenham travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich in a midweek Premier League fixture, with the north London club looking to maintain a three-point lead over Everton in the race for fourth and the final Champions League qualifying position.
The Canaries, meanwhile, are in the middle of a difficult run of form, with six defeats in the last eight games. Chris Hughton's men have not beaten top-flight opposition since the 2-1 home defeat of Wigan Athletic in mid-December.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7.45pm GMT. Catch highlights on Match of the Day, on BBC One and BBC One HD, at 10.25pm GMT.
On Saturday, Norwich became the first Premier League side to be knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-league club in 24 years, when Scott Rendell's late strike sent Luton Town through to the fifth round. The defeat threw the Canaries' season into further disarray and the club desperately needs to improve results to avoid sliding further down the table and into a relegation dog-fight.
Hughton is presently 13th in the table but with only six points between himself and Aston Villa (in the first of the three relegation spots), the margin for errors is very small.
Norwich do have one piece of good news going into this game - they've already beaten Spurs this season. And, better still, they are unbeaten against the north London club this campaign, with the reverse league match ending in a 1-1 draw.
The hosts for this game are capable of big results, as league leaders Manchester United and Spurs' local rivals Arsenal will attest. Andre Villas-Boas will need to guard against complacency.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have also exited from the FA Cup in embarrassing circumstances. The White Hart Lane club were humbled by Leeds United; the Championship club recorded a 2-1 win at Elland Road.
That disappointment aside, Spurs are actually in excellent form in the league and are unbeaten since Everton won 2-1 at Goodison Park in early December. The concern for Spurs fans, however, will be the lack of goals. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is away at the African Cup of Nations and England international Jermain Defoe's injury means AVB has no recognised striker in his first team. The ex-Chelsea boss has hinted at signings but, for now, American Clint Dempsey leads the line. And the lack of a striker shows, with the club have scored only twice in the last three games.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L L D W L
- Last Match: Norwich City 0 - 1 Luton Town
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L D D W W
- Last Match: Leeds United 2 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Hughton may make changes to the side that were beaten by Luton, with key first team players Grant Holt, Alexander Tettey, Michael Turner, Mark Bunn and Robert Snodgrass expected to return. Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington may also be included, as the manager tries to shake things up. Ex-Spurs centre back Sebastien Bassong is fit after his calf injury and Steven Whittaker is also expected to return. However, Steve Morison (hip) and John Ruddy (thigh) are still unavailable.
Probable Line-Up: Bunn; Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido ; Pilkington, Tettey, Johnson, Snodgrass; Hoolahan; Holt
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Moussa Dembele will return to the first team after being rested for Leeds fixture. And the introduction of England midfielder Tom Huddlestone is also a possibility, as AVB looks to rotate his squad in the absence of Brazil's Sandro.
New signing Lewis Holtby could be in line for his Spurs debut, after fast-tracking his summer transfer from Bundesliga side Schalke 04. However, it is more likely the forward, who is expected to fill the hole left by Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart, will start from the bench.
Defoe could be ready for action for this midweek fixture, having had an injection to help fight the pain. However, it may be that AVB will choose not to risk his star striker, at least from the start. Centre backs William Gallas (calf) and Younes Kaboul (knee) are injured.
Probable Line-Up: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Dembele, Parker, Bale; Sigurdsson; Dempsey
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