Manchester City's run of dominance in the Premier League was finally brought to a close against Chelsea in a 1-0 loss.
Now the Citizens take to the road against a Norwich City team that probably won't be all too pleased to bear the brunt of City's frustrations after such a huge loss to the Blues.
Luckily for Norwich, City haven't been particularly good on the road (at least by their lofty standards). While they've taken 33 of 36 points at the Etihad Stadium, they've managed a more modest 20 points out of a possible 36 on the road.
Of course, Norwich haven't exactly been unbeatable at home, with exactly four wins, four draws and, you guessed it, four losses at Carrow Road. Can they pull off a huge upset against a Citizens team still stinging from a Chelsea loss? Or will City flex their considerable muscles and steamroll the Canaries?
When: Saturday, February 8 at 10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. GMT
Where: Carrow Road, Norwich, England
Watch: NBC Sports Live Extra
Odds: Manchester City (58.3 percent), Norwich City (20.9 percent) and draw (20.8 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
The loss to Chelsea might be a reason to lose confidence for other teams, but as winger Jesus Navas told Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News, the Citizens are looking ahead:
We usually play against great teams and we usually win, but we are satisfied with the way we played against Chelsea and hopefully we can win the next games ahead.
We are on the right track. When they scored it was hard for us, but we worked well so we are not worried about it. The team worked until the end and had options, We could have won so we are not worried about this one loss.
Of course, regaining their confidence against a Norwich side that has given up 37 goals this season shouldn't be too difficult, especially for the Premier League's best offense by a long shot (68 goals scored for City this season, 10 more than the second-placed team Liverpool).
Even without players such as Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, the Citizens are a scary team to face.
Meanwhile, while City remain in second place and well in position to secure a Premier League title, Norwich rest in 15th and are just two points clear of the relegation zone. Not surprisingly, that has left the future of manager Chris Hughton in doubt.
From Paddy Davitt of ESPN:
City's top brass has maintained a united front when it may have been easier to adopt the strategy of choice seemingly in vogue elsewhere in the Premier League—where the financial disparities from relegation cast an ominous shadow over every key decision.
Hughton walked off the team coach for the recent FA Cup replay defeat at Fulham to be greeted by a pocket of travelling City fans and a banner declaring it was time for him to go. Norwich slipped meekly out of the cup on a miserable evening, but they did win the game they needed to later that week against Hull City in the Premier League.
That has been the common theme; when Hughton has badly needed a result, his players have delivered. Given the widely publicised reports of player unrest within the Swans' squad, that is surely a pivotal factor for Hughton's own survival chances—as well as those of the Canaries in the English top flight.
Norwich have won just once in their last 11 matches, a run of form that has them dangerously close to the relegation zone. For that reason, Hughton's future should be cast in some doubt.
Things certainly won't get any easier against City.
When these clubs last met, Manchester City absolutely hammered Norwich 7-0. Granted, that was at the Etihad, but it's still a telling bit of foreshadowing for this match.
City would love nothing more than to put the Chelsea loss behind them with a trouncing of Norwich—would it really be that shocking if they did just that?
Of course not. Look for City to win easily, 3-0.
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