Pep Guardiola to give John Stones his chance for Man City, in-form Teemu Pukki to lead attack for Norwich


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The Premier League is back following the first international break of the season and one of the big games of the weekend sees champions Manchester City face Norwich at Carrow Road.

Second from bottom faces second from top on Saturday evening – and you can listen to commentary  LIVE on talkSPORT at 5:30pm – the third of our three commentaries on GameDay.

Manchester City could be five points behind Liverpool by the time they kick-off

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Manchester City could be five points behind Liverpool by the time they kick-off

City have unsurprisingly made a good start with their 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham the only points they’ve dropped in their opening four matches so far this season.

It’s been a different story for newly-promoted Norwich though – amassing just three points despite playing decent football.

Pep Guardiola’s side are expected to win this game comfortably but this isn’t to say there won’t be a shortage of goalmouth action at both sides. 

The game is likely to see the three highest scorers in the Premier League play with Teemu Pukki and Raheem Sterling each scoring five goals so far this season, while City frontman Sergio Aguero leads the charts with six strikes to his name.

Can City’s defence stop the red-hot Pukki?

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Can City’s defence stop the red-hot Pukki?

Aguero actually has eight goals in his five starts against the Canaries.

Norwich will be without defender Timm Klose for a lengthy spell after he sustained a knee injury during their Carabao Cup defeat at Crawley last month.

Meanwhile, midfielder Tom Trybull is set to be out for around six weeks with an ankle ligament injury and Norwich are also waiting on the fitness of Christoph Zimmerman.

As for Manchester City, they will have to find a replacement for defender Aymeric Laporte, who is a long-term absentee after sustaining a knee injury during their win over Brighton.

However, they could welcome back Gabriel Jesus, who has been training with the first-team this week despite sustaining a hamstring injury in August.

Defenders Benjamin Mendy and John Stones have also returned to training so are also in contention to play this weekend.

LIVE ON TALKSPORT

Here’s what is coming up this weekend…

  • Derby vs Cardiff (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Liverpool vs Newcastle (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Fulham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Barnsley vs Leeds (Sunday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT

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How Norwich could line up

Is this how Norwich will line up against the champions?

buildlineup.com

Is this how Norwich will line up against the champions?

Although playing City could prompt a change in game plan for Norwich, Daniel Farke seems keen for his side to stick to their playing style.

They played a far too expansive game in their opening weekend defeat at Liverpool and also played positively when Chelsea came to town a fortnight later.

However, the game might come too late for Zimmerman so Hanley could come in at centre-back alongside Ben Godfrey. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis should occupy the right and left-back slots respectively.

Trybull’s unavailability could see Scotland international Kenny McLean, who started against Liverpool, restored to the fold.

Farke is unlikely to be put off from playing his usual system against City

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Farke is unlikely to be put off from playing his usual system against City

The attacking midfield three of Todd Cantwell, Marco Stiepermann and Emi Buendia, who have started all four Premier League matches so far this season, should get the nod again.

And up front will be Pukki, who carried on his brilliant early season form on international duty with Finland, scoring goals in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Greece and Italy.

How Manchester City could line up

We predict Stones will fill in for the injured Laporte

buildlineup.com

We predict Stones will fill in for the injured Laporte

Guardiola has a choice to make on whether to stick or twist in this game, with a Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night to also think about.

We suspect City will go for an attacking line-up in an attempt to blow their opponents away and give Guardiola the chance to take some key players off ahead of their game in Ukraine.

However, changes need to be made at the back and Stones could replace Laporte and play alongside Nicolas Otamendi.

This is a potentially make or break moment in Stones’ career as he lost his place in the first-team to Vincent Kompany during the run-in phase of last season while also making a costly error during England’s Nations League defeat to the Netherlands.

Stones is facing a battle to recover from a hamstring injury. however

Getty

Stones is facing a battle to recover from a hamstring injury. however

Otamendi should be fit to play as he returned from international duty with Argentina early.

Meanwhile, Kyle Walker was a surprise omission from Gareth Southgate’s England squad so will be fresh and will also have a point to prove. Oleksandr Zinchenko should keep his place at left-back despite Mendy’s return to training.

Guardiola may opt for one defensive midfield option as they look to finish the contest off early. Ilkay Gundogan missed Germany’s victory over Northern Ireland earlier this week due to illness which could lead to Rodri being given the holding role.

Meanwhile, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne should be given free roles.

Bernardo Silva may come in for Riyad Mahrez, who started against Brighton, while Sterling and Aguero are shoo-ins to start most matches.

Can Aguero add to his already impressive goal tally against the Canaries?

Getty Images – Getty

Can Aguero add to his already impressive goal tally against the Canaries?

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – with Norwich vs Manchester City among our games this weekend.


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Chris Wright

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