Sunderland may have been poor last week, but Norwich must be praised for seizing the opportunity and beating the black Cats with such ruthless efficiency. Goals from Russell Martin, Steve Whittaker and Nathan Redmond led to a 3-1 victory and gave the newly promoted side their first win of the season after they had suffered an opening day defeat to Crystal Palace. There will definitely be some temptation for Norwich manager Alex Neil to select the same starting line-up that beat Sunderland. After all, if it isn’t broken, why change things?
Stoke showed they must be taken seriously after earning a creditable draw at Spurs even though they were 2 goals down at some point in the game. Mark Hughes will hope his side can build on the momentum generated at White Hart Lane. However, their away records haven’t been particularly pleasing to the eye. They have picked up just 3 points from the last 18 points available away from home and have scored 4 goals in those games. The absence of Bojan and Peter Odemwingie would make it even more difficult for those records to be improved upon.
Alex Niel has enjoyed a fantastic start to life at Carrow Road. He has won 18 of the 27 games he has overseen for Norwich, and in that period oversaw the Canaries’ return to the big league. Many of those wins may have come in the Championship, there is no doubt that he is building a stubborn side that could cause problems for many teams on their day. If recent records between the two teams count for anything, Norwich City should feel confident going into this one. They have lost just once in 10 games against Stoke at Carrow Road, winning five of them and drawing four.
Kyle Lafferty, Martin Olsson and Youssef Mulumbu are all unavailable due to injuries.
Xherdan Shaqiri could make his English football debut after serving his one match suspension carried over from the Coppa Italia. Marc Wilson could also make his first appearance of the new season while Bojan will probably not be fit enough to participate following his long-term injury. Ryan Shawcross and Peter Odemwingie are injured.