NORFOLK (Sporting Alert) Defending champions Manchester City will look to bounce back from the midweek defeat to Sunderland and are strong favorites to hand Norwich City back-to-back defeats in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The Citizens were stunned 1-0 by a goal from former player Adam Johnson on Wednesday and manager Roberto Mancini has told his team another defeat would make life very difficult to retain the title.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was heavily criticized for not stopping Johnson’s near post shot, but the England No. 1 isn’t paying too much attention to the critics.
“We weren’t lacking in effort at Sunderland,” he on Manchester City official website at qww.mcfc.co.uk. “We gave it everything but couldn’t break through a defensive wall.
“No-one else needs to know what gets said in the dressing room, it’s down to us to put things right.
“We have dominated a lot of games but people play differently against us now as opposed to last season. We have to adjust to that and hopefully the second half of the season will be better for us.”
Mancini was particularly critical of his strikers for not scoring early chances, but on Saturday he’s expected to continue with Carlos Tevez, who has recovered from illness and his Argentine teammate Sergio Aguero, in his attack.
Italian forward Mario Balotelli seems to have battled back from a virus, while midfielder Samir Nasri (hamstring) and defender Gael Clichy are also available after coming back from injuries.
Right-back Pablo Zabaleta is back in training following a cut to his head, but fellow full-backs Maicon, Aleksandar Kolarov and Micah Richards (all knee) are long-term absentees.
Manchester City have won five of the last six meetings in all competitions, including a 6-1 and 5-1 drubbing last season in the league.
However, the champions have won just three of their last seven league games and are seven points behind arch rivals Manchester United in the league table standings.
Meanwhile, Norwich manager Chris Hughton will be without defender Steven Whittaker after he failed to recover from a persistent hip injury.
Whittaker had also missed the defeat to Chelsea FC on Boxing Day.
PREDICTION: MANCHESTER CITY 3 vs NOWICH CITY 0
TOP SCORERS (all competitions): Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero (Man City) 8; Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt (Norwich) 4.
EPL SCORES: Follow Live Premiership Scores on our site all day on Saturday.
Norwich City vs Manchester City
Norwich City squad: Bunn, Rudd, Turner, Bassong, Martin, Barnett, R Bennett, Garrido, Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Surman, E Bennett, Hoolahan, Holt, Morison, Jackson, Kane.
Manchester City squad: Hart, Pantilimon, Wright, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic, K Toure, Clichy, Rekik, Nasri, Milner, Barry, Y Toure, Garcia, Silva, Sinclair, Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli, Razak.