Date: 29th August 2015 at 8:11pm
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“I think every game is a chance to go and get some points. It`s about how we attack it and how we approach it” – Alex Neil.

As the curtain draws on a problematic summer transfer window, the international break will be a welcome respite from the pulsating Premier League outset.

Constant speculation surrounding striker targets has taken it`s toll as City fans initial intrigue turns to disappointment each time a reported signing slips through Norwich`s grasp.

Lewis Grabban has completely bought into the transfer window hyperbole by taking on the role of pantomime villain, known more commonly amongst transfer spectators as the ‘Odemwingie`.

However perturbing the transfer window has been off the pitch for Norwich City, performances on the pitch have been serene, which is more than I can say for Southampton.

Having at last been dispensed of their pièce de résistance in Morgan Schneiderlin, as well as losing England first choice full-back Nathaniel Clyne, the Saints have been unable to recapture last season`s form that had them on the periphery of the top four.

Thursday`s surrender at the hands of Danish minnows FC Midtjylland was a real indication that Southampton appear to be lacking any kind of attacking formula.

Reduced to ‘hoof and rush` football for the whole of the second half, the Saints seldom looked dangerous against the Danish champions, who were well worth the win over the two legs.

Alex Neil has insisted that he is not overawed by any Premier League clashes that lie in wait, and I expect that he will be brimming with confidence that the enterprising City side he has compiled will pose Southampton plenty of problems.

With forgotten frontman Ricky Van Wolfswinkel aiming to complete the unlikeliest of renaissances, City are not short of personnel champing at the bit to get into a competitive XI.

City did all but defeat Stoke in their last league match, with Jack Butland demonstrating just why he has been touted as England`s future number one for the past five years.

Nevertheless, City will be buoyed by the fact they have dominated all three matches they have been part of since their return to the top tier.

A vulnerable Southampton outfit could prove to be the perfect side for Norwich to continue their positive start to the campaign.

But Southampton are like a wounded animal and will not rest until their dignity has been restored.

Neil was excited about taking on the crem de la crem of football management, and in Barcelona cult hero Koeman, he`s certainly got a tactical war on his hands.


Norwich

AWOL forward Lewis Grabban will certainly be missing for the visit to St Mary`s as he serves a suspension imposed by the club following his vanishing act at Rotherham in midweek.

Grabban`s absence has left the door open for Dutch forward Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, who is likely to be amongst the substitutes in Hampshire.

Martin Olsson completed 45 minutes of Norwich`s under 22 meeting against Chelsea on Friday night as he steps up his recovery following shoulder surgery

Youssouf Mulumbu is a definite absentee for Norwich following an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.

Kyle Lafferty will resume first-team training next week after missing the whole of City`s pre-season with a knee injury.

Southampton

The Saints will be hoping to welcome back Saido Mane to the cost of Norwich tomorrow afternoon. The pacey winger was an unused substitute in Denmark and wasn’t risked due to a hip problem.

Tottenham target Victor Wanyama is also likely to return having missed the defeat in midweek due to a stomach infection.

Former Norwich loanees Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand both miss out on Sunday`s fixture with the pair nursing knee injuries, with the former unlikely to feature for the rest of the year.

Summer signing Jordi Clasie is also sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained against Vitesse Arnhem and is still yet to feature in a Premier League fixture.

League Form Guide

Norwich

LWD – A mixed start in terms of results, but there is plenty of cause for optimism based on the exuberant display`s that have been on offer for City fans. Full of energy and chances being created, Norwich have certainly surprised a few people in the opening fixtures.

Redmond`s assist means that he has now contributed towards 10 goals in Norwich`s last eight competitive outings.

The Canaries still boast an unbeaten away record under Alex Neil which could stretch to an astonoshing 13 games, providing City avoid defeat at St Mary`s.

Southampton

DLD – Having enjoyed unprecedented success during his opening season as Southampton boss, Ronald Koeman is now coming to terms with the harsh realities of the Premier League.

Having failed to register a victory in their first three league fixtures, the Saints were dumped out of Europe on Thursday night at the hands of Danish side FC Midtjylland to prolong their miserable start to the campaign.

Southampton have only scored two goals in the league so far and will have to better that if they are to get that elusive maiden victory in the Premier League.

Head to Head Stats

It was an occasion to forget for Norwich City the last time they visited St Mary`s as Southampton raced into a three goal lead. Johan Elmander and Robert Snodgrass netted for Norwich in the second half but it proved academic as Southampton ran out 4-2 winners as The Canaries` three-year Premier League tenure drew to a disappointing close.

Norwich last tasted victory in Hampshire in 2007-2008 season as the infamous Ched Evans slotted home on the stroke of half-time to hand Norwich the win on the south coast.
That success was the only win Norwich have achieved in their last 11 away visits to Southampton.​

The Canaries have only registered one win in their previous nine meetings with Southampton, that victory coming courtesy of Nathan Redmond`s 68th minute winner, almost two years ago today.​

What’s in store this time around?

After a week consisting of constant transfer rumours, a well-documented walkout and a gruelling cup tie in South Yorkshire, you`d imagine that Alex Neil and the rest of the Norwich squad will be grateful for a return to Premier League action.
Koeman`s Saints have endured an equally traumatic week and will be desperate to bounce back following a dismal night in Denmark.

With Southampton being the hosts, many will be expecting them to turn over a Canaries` side as they look to recover from their recent blip.
However, Norwich will be travelling to Hampshire full of confidence after proving they belong at this level in having started the season so brightly.
I feel that an industrious Norwich side will prove too much for Koeman`s weary Southampton to handle.

A 1-2 win for City on the south coast, with Cameron Jerome opening his Premier League account for the season as the Canaries add to Southampton`s early season woes.

@tweeting_canary

OTBC


 
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