Premier League actions resume this weekend, following a busy week as clubs had their domestic cup fixtures. Several PL clubs showed signs of improvements in cup fixtures while few clubs got an insight on the problems they need to fix. This matchday we have last placed Norwich City inviting 17th placed Leeds United.
Marcelo Bielsa’s team are 17th placed on the table ahead of this week, accumulating seven points from one win, four draws, and four defeats. They claimed their first and only league win this season against Watford at the start of October and since have failed to register a single win in any of the fixtures to date.
Recently, they were knocked out of Carabao Cup as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal scored 2 goals past their defence to enter the quarter-final of the competition.
Things are not looking great for Norwich either, as the Canaries are hitting a new low every time they play in PL. In 9 games this season, Norwich have failed to win a single game and faced the wrong side of the result seven times. They sit last in the table with just 2 points and a goal difference beyond the hope of correction.
Last week their morale was hampered as Chelsea scored seven past them in a humiliating 7-0 defeat for Norwich.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Sunday 31st October 2021 at 14:00 (UK) at Carrow Road, Norwich.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistants: Gary Breswick, Adam Nunn.
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend.
VAR: Darren England.
Assistant VAR: Simon Long.
Daniel Farke has concerns about team selection when his team faces Leeds. Veteran goalkeeper Krul will definitely start in between the sticks. Defenders Ben Gibson and Christoph Zimmermann are expected to miss the visit of Leeds Utd. Young defender Aarons along with Kabak is expected to handle the tension from the right side. Hanley, Omobamidele, Williams are expected to start. Sam Byram, Todd Cantwell, and Przemyslaw Placheta still remain doubts for the fixture.
Raphina had to be subbed off against Wolves, although Bielsa believes Brazilian to be fit for Norwich. Absentee of their talisman Patrick Bamford will decrease the odds of Leeds United’s victory. Rodrigo is expected to replace the Englishman and Raphina could line up in midfield alongside their new signing Daniel James.
Ayling and Koch remain injured while Firpo and Shackleton still doubtful.
Norwich City enters the field as the underdogs and their approach to face PL sides has not earned them a victory yet. Daniel Farke is expected to field a 5-man defence. While in possession his team usually changes their shape to 3 at the back. Max Aarons and Williams will be tasked to maraud forward as the former is very good at getting in important positions near the box.
Lees-Melou and Normann despite being good carriers of the ball will be asked to handle the pace and trickery of the opposition wingers in Raphina and James. When they have a chance to attack, Norwich quickly shifts their shape to 3-2-2-2-1 with Pukki being the man in charge of the attack and wingbacks joining forwards.
With Leeds United’s organized flow of the game, Norwich will have to defend deep, and hence their performance will depend upon Lees-Melou and Normann’s ability to judge the game and their decision making.
Leeds looks much more organized team credit to their manager. Meslier has shown promises to be a reliable goalkeeper for Whites. The visitors are expected to target the game, knowing Norwich have failed to win their last 5 matches.
Rodrigo has been at his best when he is allowed to drop deep and link up with his teammates. Hence, the shape of their attack may look like Rodrigo being the earliest with James and Raphinha in front of him. Daniel James’ fake runs and ability to stretch the defence will play crucial role as Norwich play with 3 players in central defence. To allow more players in the attacking half, Bielsa will ask Dallas and Klich to join the attack. As the duo is also able to stop the counterattacks, Bielsa will have them positioned near the edge of the box.
Phillips will be tasked to deal with any incoming threats and shield the defence of Llorente, Strujik, and Cooper. Leeds are expected to start with 3-3-3-1 which may change by 3-1-3-1-2 midway.
Norwich City have not scored in any of their last five games and the reason behind it is Pukki’s form in front of goal. If Norwich are to give a fight for at least a tie, scoring a goal is crucial. As Norwich are not performing great at the set pieces either, their only hope of goals is from open play, precisely their forward Pukki. Pukki will get a handful of opportunities against Leeds and his predatory instincts in the box should be on their use against Leeds. It’s still too early to write Norwich off from this season and I believe Pukki’s return to form could show a sign of bouncing back in the race of avoiding the bottom 3 for Norwich.
Brazilian winger Raphinha has been in excellent form this season, attracting interest from elite clubs like Liverpool, Dortmund, and Barcelona. So far, he has scored 3 goals in 8 matches for Leeds. Although Leeds have not been impressive this season, Raphinha has performed well for a fair number of games. It will be doubtful for Raphinha to start against Norwich following his early exit in the last match. Though, Bielsa has still announced Raphinha fit for the fixture against Norwich.
Norwich (5-3-2): Krul; Aarons, Kabak, Hanley, Obomamidele, Williams; Lees-Melohu, Normann, McLean; Sargent, Pukki.
Leeds United (3-3-3-1): Meslier; Llorente, Strujik, Cooper; Phillips, Klich, Dallas; Raphinha, Roberts, James; Rodrigo.