Norwich City-Manchester City Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated PressOctober 31, 2013

Manchester City will be looking to bounce back from their last-gasp defeat to Chelsea a week ago when they welcome Norwich City to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

A Joe Hart error gifted Fernando Torres a late goal to seal a 2-1 win for Chelsea, leaving City (5-1-3) six points off the top of the table. Reserve goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon came into the team for the extra-time win over Newcastle in the League Cup in midweek, and manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted after the game that he is considering his options.

"He is a very good goalkeeper and he normally plays in the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup," said Pellegrini of Pantilimon. "This was a very important match for him.

"I think that we will talk tomorrow about the team selection. One goalkeeper can play, but the other will have our full support. We will think about it."

Chris Hughton's Norwich (2-2-5) have managed just a single win in their last six league games, and a disappointing goalless draw against Cardiff last weekend kept them in the Premier League's bottom three. Despite the club's disappointing position in the table, Hughton is confident that his side can move out of trouble.

"Our concerns are always about making sure we get results," said Hughton. "For us, it's not a comfortable position being in the bottom three. It's not a position we want to be in. It's very early days. You have to accept any criticisms and frustrations, but our performances will show we are endeavouring to play the best football we can, to try to play winning football.

"Sometimes, it's that little bit of luck. Perhaps we're not getting so much of the rub of the green at the moment, but you have to have belief in what you're doing. It might be an own goal, it might be a scrappy goal, it might be a deflection that changes that."

Man City have doubts over the availability of Stevan Jovetic after he picked up a knock in the 2-0 League Cup win over Newcastle on Wednesday, but captain Vincent Kompany is back in training after a thigh strain and could be available.

Norwich have injury doubts over striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel (ankle), England youngster Nathan Redmond (thigh) and Ryan Snodgrass (concussion), while Elliott Bennett remains out with knee ligament damage.

Edin Dzeko scored twice as City won a 4-3 thriller at Carrow Road last season, and Norwich beat the Manchester club 3-2 at the Etihad on the final day of the season - one of only two home defeats in the last 52 for City.

Neither team has managed a clean sheet in any of the last six league meetings between these clubs, while City have scored 17 in their last four matches against the Canaries.

Defeat would mean City's first back-to-back losses since October 2010, while Norwich are bidding to become the only team to win twice at the Etihad in the last four seasons. However, the Canaries have won just three on the road in 23 attempts.