Manchester City will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at Tottenham Hotspur when they welcome Norwich City to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon (3:00PM, 21 Aug).
The Citizens suffered a 1-0 loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 campaign, while Norwich were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool at Carrow Road on their return to this level.
Man City are regarded as the favourites by many to successfully defend their Premier League title this season, but there is no getting away from the fact that it has been a difficult August for the club thus far.
A proposed deal for Harry Kane appears to be no closer to going through, while Pep Guardiola's side have suffered 1-0 defeats to Leicester City and Tottenham in their two competitive matches this season.
Indeed, the Foxes beat the English champions in the Community Shield on August 7, before Tottenham ran out 1-0 winners in the Premier League last Sunday courtesy of a second-half effort from Son Heung-min, meaning that there is already pressure on the Citizens to put three points on the board.
Man City's need for a new striker was shown in the defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the club will soon enter a difficult run of fixtures, taking on Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool in four of their five matches after this weekend's contest with Daniel Farke's team.
Guardiola's side thumped Norwich 5-0 when the two teams last locked horns at the Etihad Stadium in July 2020, but the Canaries did record a 3-2 win over Man City at Carrow Road in September 2019.
Norwich's start to the 2021-22 Premier League season could not have been much more difficult considering that they opened against Liverpool and are now preparing to take on Man City.
It is not as if it gets much easier, though, as Farke's side are due to face Leicester in their final match of August before opening September away to Arsenal, and it could be a tough season if the promoted side are unable to put some points on the board in their opening four matches.
Norwich started brightly against Liverpool last weekend but conceded once in the first half and twice in the second half, as the Reds recorded a 3-0 victory at Carrow Road.
The Canaries will know that their home form will be crucial if they are to stay in the top flight this season, but they did record a 3-2 victory away to Man City as recent as 2013, and it might be a good time to take on the champions considering their issues in the early stages of the new campaign.
Farke's team also had the best away record in the Championship last season, picking up 49 points from 23 matches, recording 15 wins and suffering just four defeats, which are impressive statistics.
Man City will again definitely be without the services of Phil Foden this weekend due to a foot problem, but the shoulder injury that Ilkay Gundogan suffered against Tottenham is not serious, meaning that he could be in the starting XI for Saturday's clash at the Etihad Stadium.
There will certainly be changes to the side that featured against Spurs, with Kyle Walker, John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko potentially all coming into the back four, while Kevin De Bruyne featured off the bench at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and should be ready to come into the XI here.
Jack Grealish is expected to operate as the advanced midfielder, while Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling should retain their spots despite finding it difficult to make their mark against Tottenham.
As for Norwich, Sam Byram is out with a thigh problem, while there are doubts over Onel Hernandez, Jordan Hugill and Przemyslaw Placheta due to coronavirus and the rules on self-isolation.
The Canaries did not suffer any fresh problems against Liverpool, though, so it would not be a surprise to see Farke name the same starting side, with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour featuring in midfield.
Todd Cantwell and Milot Rashica are set to support Teemu Pukki in the final third of the field, while Max Aarons, who continues to be linked with a move away from Carrow Road, will continue at right-back.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri; Mahrez, Grealish, Sterling; De Bruyne
Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Giannoulis; Lees-Melou, Gilmour, Rupp; Cantwell, Pukki, Rashica
In truth, this is a nice match for Man City after two difficult results. Norwich deserve respect and are certainly capable of making it an uncomfortable assignment for the English champions, but we are finding it tough to predict anything other than a routine two-goal success for the Citizens.
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