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Premier League

  • 21 August 2011
  • • 13:30
  • • Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 26272
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Norwich City - Stoke City Preview: Canaries face tough test in first home Premier League match

Norwich City - Stoke City Preview: Canaries face tough test in first home Premier League match

Carrow Road welcomes back top-flight football for the first time in six years, as two teams who secured valuable draws on opening day seek to seal a strong start to the season


PROBABLE LINEUPS
NORWICH
 
Ruddy
Martin, De Laet, Ayala, Tierney
Fox
Crofts, Surman
Hoolahan

Holt, Morison
STOKE CITY
 
Begovic
Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate, Wilson
Pennant, Pugh, Whelan, Etherington
Walters, Jones

Paul Lambert will likely keep faith in the side that earnt Norwich a point on opening day at the DW Stadium, with Andrew Crofts continuing to keep out new signing Elliott Bennett on the right. The only change from the Wigan match may be enforced, with central defender Zak Whitbread to be assessed following coming off in that game with a knee injury. New signing from Liverpool Daniel Ayala could be thrown in at the deep end if Whitbread does not recover in time.

Stoke will be back at full strength after resting key players Asmir Begovic, Jermaine Pennant and Jonathan Woodgate for Thursday’s Europa League victory over Thun. Jonathan Walters took a beating in that match, picking up a head injury and a gashed shin, but should be in the starting line-up. Rory Delap (hamstring) is more of a serious doubt and the midweek goalscorer Danny Pugh may fancy his chances of displacing the 35-year-old.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • The last time that Norwich and Stoke met in the same league was in the Championship in 2007-08, when the Potters took all six points from the two fixtures.
  • Norwich are on a four-game winning streak at home in the Premier League – they beat Manchester United, Newcastle, Charlton and Birmingham in 2005, but still went down.
  • Stoke’s last away win in the Premier League was on Boxing Day last season, when they beat Blackburn 2-0 at Ewood Park.
  • In four out of their last five league games, Stoke have failed to score a goal.
  • No players remain at Carrow Road from Norwich’s last season in the Premier League in 2004-05, while now-reserve goalkeeper Steve Simonsen (pictured) is the only remaining member of the Stoke squad from that year.
  • The last time Norwich played in the Premier League, they drew their opening match 1-1 (against Crystal Palace) and were relegated.

Players to watch

K. Jackson

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
It may be strange to single out a player likely to start the game on the bench, but if Paul Lambert is to unlock the Stoke defensive wall, he may well need to turn to Jackson to do it. The Canadian striker forced his way into the first-team last season on the back of an incredible propensity for coming off the bench to score, and he has the pace and acceleration to cause problems for the Potters - this could be a fascinating test of Jonathan Woodgate's knee if the new Stoke man comes up against the sheer speed of Jackson.

K. Jones

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
If, as expected, young Daniel Ayala makes his debut for Norwich, then he will need to be up for a challenge because the pure power of Kenwyne Jones can trouble any defender, let alone a relatively untried youngster. The Trinidadian striker will look to impose himself on the likes of Ayala and Manchester United loanee Ritchie de Laet, and, if he is in the right mood, could stop the Canaries singing.

Editor's Prediction

Norwich will be backed by a raucous crowd inspired by the momentum of two consecutive promotions, but this could be a reality check as the size of the task ahead is revealed. Stoke have become canny, impressive Premier League competitors and Tony Pulis will feel that the game is one they can realistically expect to win. Striker and captain Grant Holt has led the line admirably for the Canaries over the last two seasons but, relying on strength rather than pace, he will find it tough going against the muscular Potters defence. Expect Norwich to hammer on the door with everything they have got but for Stoke to slam it shut.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Norwich City

Stoke City

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Norwich City FC NOR
Norwich City FC Norwich City
Draw
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City
23%
21%
56%

Top 3 Predictions

Norwich City FC NOR
0 - 1
Stoke City FC STO
Norwich City FC NOR
0 - 2
Stoke City FC STO
Norwich City FC NOR
1 - 2
Stoke City FC STO

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