The FourFourTwo Preview: Tottenham vs Norwich
Our first glimpse of New Tottenham since Daniel Levy's post-Bale spending jamboree closed for business.
It really can't be easy for Spurs fans. For nine-tenths of the summer they had the transfer window firmly by the melons, shipping out one highly-coveted-and-thus-vastly-overpriced player and using the cash to build almost an entire new team - one that looked like it could (and still might) compete for the title.
Then, in the space of a few days, Spurs' irritating neighbours smugly put not one but two spanners in the works, beating them narrowly in the North London derby and then gazumping them in the transfer market with the deal of the summer in £42.5 million man Mesut Ozil.
Norwich may not have been as loud as Spurs in the transfer market but they were more active, bringing in eight players. The Canaries' start to the season has been about as mid-table as it gets: one win, one draw, one defeat. They'll be hoping to maintain their surprisingly good recent record against Spurs this weekend.
- Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham (Prem)
- Tottenham 3-0 Dinamo Tbilisi (Europa League)
- Tottenham 1-0 Swansea (Prem)
- Norwich 1-0 Southampton (Prem)
- Norwich 6-3 Bury (LC)
- Hull 1-0 Norwich (Prem)
Etienne Capoue has made an encouraging start to his Spurs career but misses out here after being stretchered off with an ankle injury against Arsenal. Aaron Lennon is a minor doubt but could recover from a foot injury in time to feature.
For Norwich the two Bennetts - Elliott and Ryan - lie at seperate ends of the injury spectrum. The latter should return this weekend after a knee problem, but namesake Elliott is set for a lengthy lay-off after undergoing knee ligament surgery.
It's not all bad, though - striker Gary Hooper could make his Premier League debut after recovering from a shin injury.
Key battle: Kyle Walker vs Nathan Redmond
Spurs' left side was a key area in the 1-1 draw last year, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto heavily involved. But it looks like the opposite flank could have a significant bearing on this game's outcome come Saturday. A good old-fashioned clash between two English players awaits (take that, Greg Dyke!) as Norwich's in-form wing wonder Nathan Redmond takes on England right-back Kyle Walker.
Redmond has started life at Norwich in fine form and is currently the Premier League's second-most successful dribbler after Andros Townsend. On his debut against Everton, Redmond's trickery left Leon Osman red faced more than once (and others), while in Norwich's last game against Southampton the jet-heeled England U21 man grabbed the winner - his first goal for the club.
Walker, meanwhile, has been heavily involved for Spurs this season. Maruading down the right flank the 23-year-old completed more passes than any other player against Arsenal and currently averages 4 tackles per game. Nevertheless, defending against quick-witted players with pace is not Walker's strong point - he was given the runaround by Ukraine's Yevhen Konoplyanka in midweek and will want to end a difficult week on a high by keeping Redmond quiet.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Norwich 1-1 Tottenham (Prem, Jan 13)
- Norwich 2-1 Tottenham (LC, Oct 12)
- Tottenham 1-1 Norwich (Prem, Sep 12)
- Tottenham 1-2 Norwich (Prem, Apr 12)
- Norwich 0-2 Tottenham (Prem, Dec 11)
Chris Hughton has spent 23 years of his life in this part of North London, so it's something of a homecoming for the Norwich manager. He and Andre Villas-Boas have met twice, sharing the points twice in two 1-1 draws. The man linked with the vacant Republic of Ireland post will be looking to secure Norwich's first points on the road.
Facts and figures
- Tottenham have won 10 of their last 14 home games in the Premier League, losing just one (D3).
- Norwich City have won only one of their last 11 away games in the Premier League (D2 L8).
- Tottenham have won none of their last three Premier League clashes with Norwich (D2 L1).
- Spurs have fired in more shots than any other side this season (42) but are yet to score anything other than penalties.
- Andre Villas-Boas’ side have fired more shots off target than any other team so far this season (27).
- Tottenham have kept three consecutive clean sheets at home in the Premier League. They last kept more in Dec 2009-Feb 2010 when they managed a run of five shut-outs.
- Ricky van Wolfswinkel has committed more fouls (10) than any other player this season in the Premier League.
- Just 16% of Norwich’s efforts this season have been fashioned from set-pieces; a joint low in the Premier League.
- Only against Manchester United (9) and Liverpool (8) have Norwich lost more games in Premier League history than against Tottenham Hotspur (6).
- Departed star Gareth Bale had a hand in 38% of Tottenham’s goal last season (25 of 66; scoring 21 and assisting four).
With several new players for AVB to integrate, and little time to work on establishing a groove thanks to international duty, Spurs might struggle for rhythm here. Then there's that record against Norwich to consider - Spurs haven't beat the Canaries at home since 1995 (in three attempts). 1-1.