Norwich vs. Tottenham: 5 Things to Watch in Spurs' Premier League Battle

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2013

Norwich vs. Tottenham: 5 Things to Watch in Spurs' Premier League Battle

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    Tottenham continues their Premier League campaign Wednesday with a match away from home to Norwich City.

    The match will mark the third meeting of the season between the two clubs, but the first to take place at Carrow Road.

    Despite their higher position in the table, Spurs will look for their first win over the Canaries of the season after conceding a late equalizer in their first league fixture and falling in the Capital One Cup in October.

    So what should one expect from this match?

    Here are five things to watch for in Tottenham's Premier League encounter with Norwich Wednesday. 

How Do Spurs Respond to Their Terrible Performance Sunday?

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    Tottenham's loss to Leeds United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday was disappointing but was not awful.

    After all, Spurs have higher aspirations than the FA Cup, what with the chance for Champions League football and Europa League glory still on the cards.

    Hence, while a cup run would have been awesome, Tottenham's exit from the competition wasn't the end of the world.

    What made the loss much worse, however, was the horrendous manner in which Spurs crashed out of the cup.

    The side was below par to say the least, with the defense looking frail and the attack short on ideas.

    To be fair, about half of Spurs regular starters were out for the cup match.

    Still, the signs from that loss were quite worrying.

    The side must improve drastically from Sunday's match if they want to get the win here.

Lewis Holtby Makes His Debut

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    Tottenham's newest acquisition, German Lewis Holtby, will probably make a cameo appearance Wednesday to mark his arrival at the club.

    The 22-year-old midfielder made an early move from Schalke on Monday and brings some nice depth to the center of the midfield after Sandro went down for the season earlier this month.

    At such a young age and with so much potential, Holtby could be the future of Spurs' midfield.

    It would be great to see him get off to a flying start.

Jermain Defoe Returns

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    After sitting out Sunday's FA Cup loss to Leeds with a pelvis injury that apparently needs surgery, Jermain Defoe is likely going to make his return to the starting lineup on Wednesday.

    With Emmanuel Adebayor at the Africa Cup of Nations and Togo succeeding in the tournament, Defoe is crucial to the side for at least the next month.

    Further, after Spurs' showing without Jermain on Sunday, the club looks ill-prepared to deal with the striker losing his form.

    It will be very intriguing to see how Defoe performs in this match knowing that he is carrying an injury that needs an operation.

    How Jermain gets on Wednesday could be a pivotal moment in Tottenham's season.

Last Chance for Transfer Ideas

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    As Tottenham's match with Norwich will take place on Jan. 30, it obviously has the potential to impact the club's actions on deadline day.

    In fact, it's the last chance for Andre Villas-Boas and Spurs to get a feel for what they might need for the rest of the season.

    While an injury on Wednesday can be addressed through transfers, one on the weekend will not afford the same possibility.

    Further, any poor performances or losses of form must be addressed on Thursday.

    Thus, it should be interesting to see every player's performance and health on Wednesday to determine just how the club might act on deadline day.

Early Must-Win?

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    It's hard to say any match in January is a must-win for a side sitting in a favorable position, but any other result Wednesday would be a blow to Tottenham's chances of attaining Champions League football next year.

    While Spurs are already sitting in fourth position, their lead is quite tenuous, with just four points separating them from sixth.

    In the end, a side must win the matches they should win, i.e. against lesser opposition, in order to get a top-four finish.

    With Norwich coming into Wednesday's match with just one point in their past six Premier League matches, the Canaries clearly qualify as lesser opposition that Tottenham should beat.

    Just last season, Spurs dropped points in a few late-season matches with lower opposition, including a loss to Norwich at White Hart Lane. As a result, they missed out on their goal of Champions League football and ended up in the Europa League with a new manager.

    It would be nice to see Tottenham avoid making the same mistakes two seasons in a row and do the business at Carrow Road.