The international break is now behind us, which means Barclays Premier League football is back in full swing this weekend.
Chris Hughton and Norwich City will travel to White Hart Lane on Saturday for their fourth match of the 2013-14 EPL season, and Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham Hotspur side will be waiting.
Spurs had won their first two league matches and recorded an aggregate (8-0) win over Dinamo Tbilisi in Europa League action before falling to Arsenal their last time out. Tottenham are currently sixth in the EPL table with six points.
It's been a mixed bag for the Canaries, who have a win, a loss and a draw in league matches this season. Currently ninth in the table with four points, Norwich defeated Bury in Round 2 of the Capital One Cup before besting Southampton in their last match. It was Hughton's first EPL win of the new year.
Gareth Bale scored lone goals for Spurs each of the last two times these clubs met, but that's a trend set to change after the Welshman celebrated a move to Real Madrid just before the transfer window closed.
In anticipation of this Week 4 matchup, we'll prepare you with all the necessary information below.
Who: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City
When: Saturday, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. BST)
Where: White Hart Lane, Tottenham, United Kingdom
Watch: Premier League Extra Time
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
- Tottenham win: 59.9 percent
- Norwich win: 17.1 percent
- Draw: 23.1 percent
Odds via Bloomberg Sports, current as of Sept. 13.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (dead leg)
Etienne Capoue (ankle)
Aaron Lennon (ankle)
Vlad Chiriches (work permit)
Emmanuel Adebayor (compassionate leave)
Elliott Bennett (knee)
New Signings Set to Star
Spurs broke the bank this summer, showing a willingness to spend on top-flight players to help Villas-Boas collect the top-four finish that just eluded the club last season.
Robert Soldado—who has scored Tottenham's only Premier League goals so far—Paulinho and Etienne Capoue highlighted the first part of the transfer window for Spurs, but Daniel Levy additional moves late in the game to keep pace with other expected contenders.
We should see those additions in the starting lineup on Saturday. This tweet from the Scottish Sun's Sport desk confers:
New signings Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela look set to make their first starts for Tottenham in Saturday’s home game against Norwich.— Scottish Sun Sport (@scotsunsport) September 13, 2013
Eriksen and Lamela were brought in to help ease the loss of Bale in the middle of the field, but both are still adjusting to their respective moves. Per Nick Lustig of the Daily Star, Villas-Boas has shown hesitancy toward handing Lamela the starting job against the Canaries, while Eriksen seems more likely to get the nod.
What grade did you give Tottenham's transfer signings?
Another late addition, centre-back Vlad Chiriches, is still waiting for a work permit.
Starting or not, the two attackers should see plenty of game action against Norwich. Spurs have lacked creative playmaking without Bale so far this year, relying on their defensive effort to stifle opponents. Inserting Eriksen and Lamela into the rotation makes the attack stronger.
On the opposite sideline, another transfer is set to make his Norwich debut. As noted by Metro's Gary Gowers, said transfer might just have some magic in his game for this particular match.
The Canaries signed former Celtic man Gary Hooper in late July, and per this report from Paddy Davitt of the Eastern Daily Press, he is set to test recovery from a shin injury and suit up against a familiar opponent.
Hooper spent the early part of his career with Tottenham's youth setup, but was released from the program only to work his way back to the Premier League after several seasons in alternate divisions. The joke might be on Spurs—Hooper had 29 goals in 47 appearances for Celtic last season.
While most of the attention will be on Tottenham's expensive bodies, Hooper could steal the show at White Hart Lane by helping his new teammates steal three points from Spurs.
The all-time record between the two clubs sides with Spurs, but the Canaries have been strong against Tottenham of late. In three matches—two EPL, one League Cup—last year, Hughton's men were unbeaten with a win and two draws.
Norwich also won at White Hart Lane during the 2011-12 season.
The one saving grace for Spurs is the Canaries' poor road form. Per BBC Sports' John Motson, Norwich have won just one of 10 matches away from Carrow Road this year.
Defense has carried Tottenham so far, but this could be the match to get the attack on track. Only Everton has taken more shots as a team than Spurs, but Villas-Boas' men are one of only four clubs yet to score in open play this season.
What is your prediction for the match?
Scoring has been light for both teams to start the year, but chances will likely persist for both sides. If Soldado has been outstanding for Spurs, Nathan Redmond has been the same for the Canaries, earning praise from all sides despite being just 19 years old.
In what should be one of the best all-around matches of the young season, I like Tottenham to finally capitalize on some of their scoring chances against Norwich. The Canaries become just the second team to score against Spurs this year, but Villas-Boas sees flashes of brilliance from his new bodies in the win.
Tottenham 2, Norwich City 1
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