Dec 28, 2019 at 5.30pm UK
NorwichNorwich City
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Vrancic (18'), Aurier (61' og.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Eriksen (55'), Kane (83' pen.)

Preview: Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:384182: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
By , Editor | 1mo

Tottenham Hotspur face Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday looking to bring a victorious end to a tumultuous year.

Jose Mourinho's side could temporarily leapfrog Chelsea in fourth place with victory over a Norwich team which begins the weekend bottom of the table and with only one win from their last 14 league outings.

Match preview

It has been a rollercoaster 2019 for Tottenham, whose run to a first Champions League final was in stark contrast to some pretty ordinary Premier League form which eventually cost Mauricio Pochettino - the club's best manager of the modern era - his job.

Mourinho, who is surely the highest-profile manager to ever take charge at Spurs, has since overseen an improvement to that domestic form, although there are still some notable issues that need solving heading into 2020.

Chief amongst them is the defensive record, with Spurs shipping 15 goals and keeping only one clean sheet in their nine matches since Mourinho took over - a far cry from the solidity at the back for which the Portuguese is renowned.

Tottenham are without an away clean sheet in the league since last New Year's Day, and that 16-game streak is their longest in the top flight since a 20-match run between April 1976 and April 1977.

There has been a noticeable improvement in terms of away results, though, with two wins from three under Mourinho following a run of 12 without victory at the end of Pochettino's reign.

Home and away Spurs have now won five of their seven league games with Mourinho at the helm, a run of form which has hauled them back into the Champions League race to the point that victory on Saturday would lift them into the top four at the expense of Chelsea, who are not in action until Sunday.

A 2-1 triumph over Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day lifted Tottenham back up to fifth, and seemingly sets them up nicely for a strong run of form around the turn of the year with strugglers Norwich and Southampton to come in their next two.

Norwich do have some cause for optimism, though, having generally raised their game against the big boys this season. The win over Manchester City was the obvious highlight, but they have also held Leicester City and Arsenal to draws, while they were unfortunate to lose to Chelsea.

Mourinho has lost his last three league games away to promoted teams too, having won 17 of his first 18 such matches, so the Canaries may just harbour some belief that they can pull off a much-needed win.

Daniel Farke's side have sunk to the bottom of the table following a run of just one win in 14 league games since that memorable triumph over Man City, including 10 defeats in that time and four in their last five.

The 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Boxing Day was a particularly costly result, and with Watford showing significant signs of improvement under Nigel Pearson the need for victories is increasing on a game-by-game basis now.

Curiously, Norwich are actually unbeaten in their last six top-flight games when they have started the day bottom of the table, although the stats suggest that it would be a major surprise if they were to continue that run this weekend.

Norwich's home form will be a particular concern with only one point from the last 18 on offer at Carrow Road, while you have to go back to March 2016 for their last top-flight clean sheet in front of their own fans - a run of 13 matches.

Indeed, they have now conceded two or more goals in eight successive home Premier League games, which is the second-longest such run in the competition's history.

It is that defensive record which has hurt the Canaries most this season, with Farke's side conceding more goals than any other team over the first half of the campaign despite Southampton and Watford being on the end of nine and eight-goal drubbings respectively.

The prospect of them improving that against a Spurs attack led by Harry Kane looks bleak, but it is these matches in which Norwich have come closest to getting big rewards so far this term.

Norwich Premier League form: DLLDLL

Tottenham Premier League form: WLWWLW
Tottenham form (all competitions): LWLWLW

Team News

Tottenham will be without no fewer than three players through suspension for this match, with Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko both picking up their fifth yellow cards of the season against Brighton, which was the final match before the threshold increases to 10.

The duo join Son Heung-min in being unavailable after the Korean's appeal against his red card for kicking out at Antonio Rudiger was rejected.

Mystery also surrounds record signing Tanguy Ndombele, with Mourinho claiming after the Brighton win that the midfielder did not want to play despite being fit.

Long-term absentees Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies are Tottenham's only injury concerns, although there are likely to be changes with just two days between matches.

Kane, who has 26 league goals in the month of December, and Dele Alli, who has scored five goals and created three more since Mourinho took charge, may fall into the undroppable category, but the likes of Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso will hope to be handed starts.

Norwich are also expected to rotate their squad due to the quick turnaround in fixtures, but Josip Drmic, Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose remain sidelined.

Onel Hernandez could be one of the players to come in, although chief playmaker Emiliano Buendia and top-scorer Teemu Pukki may be deemed too important to rest.

Norwich possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley, Byram; Vrancic, Stiepermann; Buendia, McLean, Hernandez; Pukki

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Gazzaniga; Foyth, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Dier, Ndombele; Lo Celso, Alli, Eriksen; Kane

We say: Norwich 1-2 Tottenham

Neither of these sides have found it easy to keep clean sheets this season and so we can see both teams scoring, while Norwich should continue their trend of giving the top teams a tough time. However, their results have not always matched their performances and we are backing Tottenham to come away with another win from this one.

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last updated article - 2019-12-29 09:46:50:
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