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Saints vs Norwich: Preview

PUBLISHED

09:00 14th March 2014

by Simon Williams

The Canaries are in town on Saturday searching for their first win here in four attempts. Kick-off 3pm.

Chris Hughton’s men currently sit in the middle of the bottom half teams fighting it out to pull clear of the relegation zone, and will be desperate to move closer to a points tally that secures safety for the third consecutive season in the Premier League.

It’s away from home where City have struggled however, with just two wins to their name and a joint-worst ten defeats in the division on the road.

Their last four games of the season include trips to Manchester United and Chelsea, whilst Arsenal and Liverpool still have to travel to Norfolk, so Norwich will be looking to the first of their five fixtures before that time as an opportunity to get some comforting points on the board.

Their results have been mixed of late, with the 1-0 win over Tottenham and 1-1 draw with Stoke coming either side of defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa.

Norwich have only ever won once at St Mary’s with a 1-0 success coming in the 2007/08 season. Saints are unbeaten in the following four meetings with the Canaries in that time here, including a penalty shoot-out victory in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy during the 2009/10 campaign.

Matches between the two have generally been close fought, with either a draw or a one goal margin of victory being recorded in nine of the past 12 meetings.

Saints will be looking to push on from last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, where Jay Roidriguez’s 13th goal of the season secured a first success in three matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

That success pushed Saints back to within a point of eighth placed Newcastle United, opening up an eleven point gap to West Ham who sit one place further back.

Pochettino may well have to shuffle his pack this weekend, with Jack Cork definitely out after limping off in the first half at Selhurst Park. Victor Wanyama replaced him in midfield.

Something has to give this weekend though, as a look at the form guide shows Saints winning just one of their last eight Premier League matches at home, whilst Norwich have lost eight of their last eleven league games, including the last four in a row. 

Team News

Jack Cork came off in of last weekend’s win at Crystal Palace and is ruled out of this game. 

Aside from Kelvin Davis, and a doubt over Victor Wanyama, there are no other injury concerns for Mauricio Pochettino, who let fringe player Lloyd Isgrove leave for Peterborough on loan earlier this week.

Norwich are likely to have Alexander Tettey available despite being substituted in the draw with Stoke last weekend.

Michael Turner and Jonas Gutierrez are closing in on returns, but the game comes too soon for Elliott Bennett and Leroy Fer.

Pre-match quotes

Mauricio Pochettino:

"Regardless of who is playing, we’re still going to maintain how we play in terms of our style and our philosophy of football.

"There are two months left in this competition, so we need to focus on the league.

"We’re ninth right now, so we want to be eighth or seventh and to try to climb positions as much as we can."

Chris Hughton:

“Southampton have had a very good season, but we want to put ourselves in a position where we can creep away from where we are at the moment, and the only way we can do is through performances and more so, results.

“I’m not sure what levels we expected, but we knew they were going to be good and offensive because they’ve got players that can score goals. 

“They recruited well and they’ve had a really good policy of bringing through a few of the younger ones. In Luke Shaw, they have someone who’s very much going to be a star over the next few years. 

“They’ve had some good periods and they’ve had some periods this season where they perhaps haven’t done so well, but we have to make sure we’re focussing on our abilities to do well.” 

Previous Meetings

It was a 1-0 win for the Canaries at Carrow Road back in August when Nathan Redmond’s second half strike was the difference as Saints lost their first game of the season.

These two sides shared the spoils in East Anglia with a goalless draw around this time last year in an incident-packed encounter in stormy conditions.

Saints had the better of the game but were almost sent home empty handed as referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the hosts a contentious penalty in second-half stoppage time, only for Artur Boruc to magnificently save Grant Holt's spot-kick.

Earlier in the season, the two teams played out another draw as Robert Snodgrass cancelled out Rickie Lambert's opener at St Mary's in late November.

Saints were winners on penalties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy during 2009, but their last win over the Canaries in a league game here came in September 2008, where goals from Jordan Robertson and David McGoldrick secured Jan Poortvliet’s side all three points.

Norwich were last winners in the fixture during the 2007/08 season when Ched Evans’ solitary strike was enough to take Norwich’s only victory at St Mary’s to-date.

Five of Southampton's last seven games against the Canaries have ended in draws.

Saturday's match will be the 99th competitive fixture between these two sides. 37 of those have ended in Saints wins, 32 have gone Norwich's way and the remaining 29 have resulted in draws.

Match Information

Kevin Friend will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr A Garratt and Mr R Ganfield. Mr S Attwell is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch his interview, as well as the press conference in full on our video channel before the game.

After the match there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in a future edition of our Matchday Magazine.

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