Premier League Preview: Norwich City v Stoke City
By Football News
Norwich City have made a habit of reacting well to heavy defeats this season and will need to do so again versus Stoke City on Saturday.
The Carrow Road outfit suffered a 4-1 defeat at former manager Paul Lambert's Aston Villa on Sunday, conceding four goals in 16 first-half minutes, but Chris Hughton has a good track record of picking his players up off the floor.
Norwich followed up a 7-0 defeat at Manchester City with a 3-1 win against West Ham in November, earned a 2-0 win at West Brom on the back of a 5-1 loss at Liverpool in December, and responded to a 3-0 FA Cup reverse at Fulham by claiming a 1-0 league triumph over Hull City in January.
In contrast, Saturday's visitors Stoke come into this clash on the back of one of the most impressive victories of their season - a 1-0 home win against Arsenal.
Indeed, their last two wins in the Premier League have come against two of the division's heavyweights in the shape of Arsenal and Manchester United.
That said, Mark Hughes' men have a dismal away record in the English top flight this season, and have not won a league game on the road since August's 1-0 victory at West Ham.
Since then, the Britannia Stadium side have picked up just three points from a possible 36 away from home, and Norwich's record of having kept four consecutive clean sheets at Carrow Road should make the visitors' job even tougher.
Norwich claimed a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture in September, and seven of the last eight meetings between these sides have been settled by a one-goal margin - the tie before that record started ended 5-0 in Stoke's favour.
If Norwich are to bounce back from last weekend's defeat, they will be hoping Ricky van Wolfswinkel can find his shooting boots. The Dutchman has registered just four shots on target in his 18 Premier League appearances, and has not scored since the opening day of the campaign.
This is the third-lowest scoring fixture in Premier League history, with an average strike rate of 1.2 goals, but Hughton is confident his side - sitting 15th in the league table - can leapfrog 13th-placed Stoke.
"They're on the back of a good result against Arsenal, but we’re very close in this league table, and a win on Saturday gives us the opportunity to go above them in the league – that's how tight it is," he told the club's official website.
Norwich will be without Leroy Fer (hamstring), Michael Turner (hamstring) and Jonas Gutierrez (calf), while Van Wolfswinkel could be in line for a start after shaking off a knee injury and Robert Snodgrass (calf) is returning to fitness.
Charlie Adam misses out for the visitors as he serves the first match of a three-game ban for an apparent stamp on Arsenal's Olivier Giroud.