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With newfound hope in the title race, this tricky fixture away to Norwich takes on even greater importance. A victory would move the Blues just two points behind Manchester United and pile the pressure on them, but to ensure that, our form on the road must improve immediately.
The comfortable defeat of West Brom on Wednesday will hopefully have restored some much needed confidence and belief to the squad, as this challenge, to face the impressive Canaries, will be no walk in the park. At home especially, they are a tough proposition, but their propensity to play open, attractive football may actually work to our advantage. Norwich, promoted this season, were favourites for their drop but have rightly attracted praise for their performances and currently lie in tenth position.
With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini has virtually a full squad to select from. In defence, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleks Kolarov will hope to start, though I’d be disappointed to see Gael Clichy in particular miss out. Yaya Touré is touch and go to recover from injury in time, with Nigel de Jong the likely absentee if the Ivorian makes it.
Further forward, Mario Balotelli is still suspended, so the attack quartet may stay the same, unless Mancini feels fatigue may play a part. Carlos Tévez made his first start since returning against West Brom and the manager might feel James Milner is a better option away from home, though Edin Dzeko and Adam Johnson will also hope to be selected.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
The home side have been superb this season, impressing all not only by how well they have adapted to the Premier League, but also by their style of play. Their penchant for getting the ball out wide and then providing the strikers with crosses is possibly a touch old fashioned, but still highly effective and it is something which could cause us problems tomorrow. Grant Holt is a physical specimen in attack, though may find his match in the partnership of Kompany and Lescott, whilst the likes of Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington have that touch of class on the ball.
Referee: Chris Foy – This will be the first time he has officiated the Blues since controversially sending off Vincent Kompany in the FA Cup. His only match in charge of the Blues in the Premier League this season was against Newcastle at home, and we won 3-1.
Prediction: Norwich 1 – 2 MAN CITY – It’s a tough one to call, such has been our lacklustre away record. Yet, with the incentive of the title to push us on, I’d hope the players can produce a winning performance. Goals to be scored by Grant Holt, Sergio Aguero and David Silva.