PREDICTED: How will Norwich City line up at Burnley?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke faces several selection headaches this weekend, but will he opt to stick or twist at Turf Moor this weekend?
The Canaries travel north hoping to record their first Premier League victory of the season against winless Burnley - who will be targeting this fixture as a chance to get their own season going.
Farke elected to change the base formation last weekend and it was individual errors rather than tactical mistakes that led to a 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
Burnley offer a more streetwise and physical opponent - so could Farke choose experience over youth as he looks to break City's horrible top-flight form?
Here is how City could line-up this weekend:
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City's shot-stopper is set to make his 200th Premier League appearance at Burnley this weekend and will be hoping to mark the occasion with a victory.
Despite failing to keep a clean sheet this season, the Dutch international has produced a series of fine saves to prevent scorelines from increasing. There have been some concerns about his distribution from the back.
The on-loan defender has displayed glimpses of his ability to progress the ball up the pitch but is still looking somewhat rusty owed to a disjointed pre-season at his parent club and a lack of minutes on the pitch.
Given the constant chopping and changing, it appears unlikely that the Turkish international will drop out of Farke's thoughts for the trip to Burnley despite conceding a clumsy penalty last week.
City's captain has had critics of his own to face in the last few weeks but looked solid in a back three where the ball-playing onus was shifted to colleagues Kabak and Gibson.
Given Burnley's aerial prowess and powerful striking options, this is an opportunity for the defender to get back to basics and prove his worth at the heart of City's backline.
A turbulent two-year spell at Turf Moor will provide the fuel that Gibson needs to produce a performance worthy of reminding Sean Dyche and the natives exactly what they missed out on.
Gibson looked better in a back three and his progressive passes could help Norwich unlock a sturdy Clarets defensive shape.
RIGHT WING BACK:
Norwich City's Mr Consistent showed he could joust with the best of them in the Premier League with a defensive masterclass against Harvey Barnes, but has failed to replicate the attacking quality seen at times last season.
The 21-year-old will join up with England U21s after this fixture and, given Burnley's strengths in wide areas, will be pivotal if City are to gain their first points of the season.
McLean probably would have been among the substitutes had Scottish compatriot Billy Gilmour not suffered with a foot injury in training this week. That looks set to provide the midfielder with a chance to amend for his errors against Watford and Everton in previous weeks.
Once dubbed 'irreplaceable' at this level by his current boss, McLean will be ready for the tussle in the centre of the pitch against Burnley, that may give him the edge over the Chelsea loanee on this occasion.
The fact the Norwegian was named as September Player of the Month despite starting just twice tells its own story; Normann has added a much-needed injection of quality into City's engineroom.
His second half withdrawal through injury coincided with a more difficult spell for Norwich, resulting in Everton doubling their advantage. His physicality will be an important trait for City at Turf Moor.
Tireless running and intelligent pressing is a guarantee from the experienced Frenchman but there is still a feeling of more to come as he continues to adapt to English football.
There have been moments of technical quality and impressive passes without a consistent performance. Alongside Normann, Lees-Melou has the ability to strike from range. His experience will be called upon against a streetwise Dyche side.
LEFT WING BACK:
It was a difficult afternoon for the Manchester United loanee at Goodison Park last weekend, but he displayed his defensive capabilities at the Emirates when he won the vast majority of his duels against £70m man Nicolas Pepe.
Containing Dwight McNeil will be an important quest for City if they are to have success in the north west, and this may be a battle that enthuses Williams. Farke tends to remain level headed and patient with his young players, although many will feel now is the time for Dimitris Giannoulis to return to the fold.
The Finn has cut a frustrated figure in several outings this season largely due to the lack of support from his colleagues. Against Watford, there were hints that a partnership with Josh Sargent could bear fruit.
Pukki has scored both of City's Premier League goals this season and remains the talisman in this side. It remains up to Farke and the squad to feed him with sufficient service to utilise his qualities in front of goal.
An international snub may just ignite a desire within the American to prove his head coach wrong and, despite plenty of energy and endeavour, Sargent is yet to get off the mark with the Canaries.
The 21-year-old will be relishing the physical contest against James Tarkowski and Ben Mee. His presence and power offers City a different skillset to Pukki, that will be a blend that Farke will need to get right if Norwich are going to score more goals.
PREDICTED XI (3-5-2): Krul; Kabak, Hanley, Gibson; Aarons, Lees-Melou, Normann, McLean, Williams; Sargent, Pukki.
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