- Norwich’s Premier League home games have averaged 3.57 goals per 90 minutes this season.
- Both teams scored in 10 of Norwich’s 14 home league fixtures this term.
- Norwich lost just one of their last five home games.
- Southampton were unbeaten in five of their last eight away matches.
Norwich gearing up for final survival push
After a prolonged three-month hiatus, Premier League football returns to Carrow Road on Friday evening when Norwich City host Southampton in what could prove a crunch relegation tussle in East Anglia.
The Canaries, who are rooted to the foot of the table, face losing their top flight status after just one season back in the big time, though the current gap of six points between them and safety looks far from unassailable with nine rounds of fixtures still to contest.
Before the postponement of play in March, Norwich had hit a relatively rich vein of form by their own low standards. Progress into the latter rounds of the FA Cup was secured, while City lost just once in five Premier League matches at Carrow Road in the lead up to the break.
Champions elect Liverpool (1-0) were the only team to topple the Canaries on their own patch during that period, while Norwich posted some impressive results including draws with Tottenham (2-2) and a shock 1-0 win at home to high-flying Leicester City.
Mid-table safety the target for Southampton
In contrast, Southampton’s form nosedived horribly before the stop in play, with four defeats in five dragging the Saints to as low as 14th spot.
Losses against fellow bottom half dwellers Burnley, West Ham and Newcastle during that miserable streak were cause for concern, but Southampton aren’t prone to panic, and with highly-rated Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl tied to a new contract earlier this month, the Saints look ready to start afresh.
Southampton will hope to carry their superb away form into the final quarter of the 2019/20 campaign, and ahead of their latest assignment, the Saints hold the division’s 6th best record as the visiting team – an achievement that looks all the more abstruse when placed alongside their home record, which is statistically the worst in the entire Premier League.
Goals likely at Carrow Road
Norwich City manager Daniel Farke would have been thrilled with the appetite for the fight his team showed before the break, in what now looks a survival battle they can possibly win, and the German coach will be desperate for his charges to build some early momentum after the re-start at Southampton’s expense.
With an attacking outlook likely from the hosts, there is every chance we see an end-to-end encounter in Norfolk. Premier League games at Carrow Road have rarely failed to deliver excitement this season, with an average of 3.57 goals scored per 90 minutes there and both teams registering in a full 71% (10) of their 14 league fixtures there overall.
Southampton’s productive counter-punching style on the road saw them score two or more goals in five out of eight away matches directly before the season was temporarily halted, and with Norwich conceding just shy of 2.0 goals per home game this term, plenty of penalty area drama is anticipated this week.
With those factors considered, the over 2.5 goals and both teams to score combination looks a viable way to go for Friday’s tussle at the prices quoted, while our correct score prediction points towards a 2-2 draw.
Norwich might have stolen a point at Southampton with a little more luck in the Saints’ 2-1 triumph in the reverse Premier League meeting between the pair in December, however, with their results at Carrow Road improving, we’re tipping Norwich to go one better in Friday’s rematch.
Key Battle – Ben Godfrey vs Danny Ings
Saints centre-forward Danny Ings was enjoying a sensational individual campaign before the enforced break, notching 15 Premier League goals in 29 appearances for Southampton between August and March.
Remarkably, 13 of those 15 strikes were his team’s first goals in their respective games, further highlighting just how crucial the 27-year-old has been for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team.
On Friday, highly-rated Norwich City centre-half Ben Godfrey will be tasked with tracking Ings’ clever movement and incisive runs.
The 22-year-old Canaries centre-half has been building a reputation as one of the Premier League’s best young defenders this season, and even if City manage to eventually avoid the drop, Godfrey is expected to move on to bigger things.
Norwich City vs Southampton team news
Long-term injury casualty Sam Bryam has yet to return, however, Onel Hernandez and key defender Timm Klose were both pictured in training for the Canaries last week.
A so far un-named City player tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend however, and will be self-isolation and unable to feature against the Saints.
Norwich City predicted line-up: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis, Tettey, McClean, Buendia, Duda, Cantwell, Pukki
Everything looks good on the injury front for Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who signed a new contract with the Saints earlier this month, though the Austrian will be without Moussa Djenepo, who is suspended following his sending off against Newcastle in March.
Southampton predicted line-up: McCarthy, Valery, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Boufal, Ings