Mar 8, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
Is the match between Norwich and Stoke a relegation battle, or simply an opportunity to make one of the Premier League’s struggling sides a bit more comfortable? The two meet at Carrow Road today in hopes that one will emerge victorious (Watch live online at 10 a.m. ET via Live Extra).
Is thirty the magic number this season? The Potters have just 30 points, yet when they’re sitting six points above the drop, 30 seems almost sufficient. Either that, or Stoke fans simply aren’t worrying due to their club’s ability to take points at the Britannia – such as last week’s 1-0 win over Arsenal. But with just one win on their travels, are Stoke truly safe?
Norwich will be relieved by Stoke’s road record, particularly since the Canaries are coming off a bruising 4-1 loss to former manager Paul Lambert‘s Aston Villa last weekend. Norwich are one of the more inconsistent sides in the league, beating Spurs and holding Manchester City to a draw, yet losing to Cardiff and Fulham. A victory at home over Stoke could save Chris Hughton once again.
Charlie Adam, handed a ban for violent conduct after appearing to stomp on Olivier Giroud‘s leg last week, will miss three matches. In comes Peter Odemwingie, while the rest of the lineup remains unchanged – guess Mark Hughes figures if it’s good enough for Arsenal, it’s good enough for Norwich.
For the Canaries, it may have been broken last week, but Hughton is doing little to fix it. Just one change for Norwich as Ricky van Wolfswinkel returns to the starting lineup, with Gary Hooper dropping to the bench.
Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Redmond; Hoolahan; van Wolfswinkel
Substitutes: Bunn, Whittaker, Howson, Hooper, Pilkington, Elmander, Becchio.
Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross (c), Wilson, Pieters; Odemwingie, Whelan, Nzonzi, Arnautovic; Walters, Crouch
Substitutes: Sorensen, Muniesa, Palacios, Guidetti, Etherington, Wilkinson, Ireland
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