Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers believes Norwich City will head into Saturday’s contest in confident spirits, despite beginning their Premier League campaign with back-to-back defeats.
Norwich have been handed a nightmare fixture list to begin their return to the top flight, with a home match against Liverpool on the opening weekend followed by a trip to champions Manchester City last time out.
The Canaries lost both games by a combined 8-0 scoreline, but they got off the mark for the season with a 6-0 win against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup in midweek and Rodgers expects a difficult test at Carrow Road.
“They’ve had two tough games at home to Liverpool and away at Manchester City,” he said. “It’s a tough start but they played well in the week and will gain some confidence from that.
“We arrive into the game knowing it will be tough. Daniel’s teams are always very positive, they work well and there’s some really good players. We will have to look to control that but it’s about looking at our performance.
“If we can perform to our level and get the ideas of how we want to play, then we always have a good chance of getting a good result.”
Leicester have finished fifth in successive seasons and started the 2021-22 season with a 1-0 win at Wolves, but any hope of building some momentum was ended in a 4-1 loss to West Ham earlier this week.
Norwich took four points off the Foxes in the 2019-20 campaign and City boss Daniel Farke will be aiming to get at least one point on the board from this latest tussle.
“We had two good games against Leicester last time – a good draw on the road and a good win at home,” he said. “But those memories won’t help us tomorrow.
“Leicester are an unbelievably successful side, one of the top sides in the league. You can see Brendan Rodgers’ handwriting in every game.
“Against the best teams in this league, we want to make sure we have one of our best days against them.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Norwich City – Teemu Pukki
There is no shame in failing to score against Liverpool or Manchester City, but Farke will not want his side’s scoreless drought to drag on too much longer in the league. Star striker Pukki was substituted off in those opening two games and now has just five goals in his last 33 appearances in the top flight from a total of 64 shots.
Leicester City – James Maddison
Maddison’s form has become inconsistent over the past year or so, not helped by a troublesome hip injury that Rodgers admits will take the midfielder time to fully get over. Stretching back into last season, it is six games without a goal or an assist in all competitions. Against his former side, this is the perfect time for Maddison to produce some magic.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Norwich have lost just one of their last seven home league meetings with Leicester (W4 D2), going down 2-1 in October 2015. Norwich’s final league win in the 2019-20 campaign was against the Foxes (1-0).
– Leicester have won five of their last six away league games against promoted sides, with the only exception in that run being a 1-0 loss at Norwich in February 2020.
– The Canaries have lost their last 12 Premier League matches, scoring just once and conceding 32 goals across these defeats. In top-flight history, only Sunderland (20 in a row between 2003 and 2005) and Manchester United (14 in 1930) have had longer losing runs than the Canaries.
– Norwich are only the fourth side in top-flight history to lose their first two matches of a season without scoring while conceding 8+ goals – Bury in 1895-96, Leicester in 2001-02 and Wigan Athletic in 2010-11 also did so, though only Leicester went on to be relegated in those seasons.
– Leicester have lost four of their last six Premier League games (W2), as many as they had in their previous 21 in the competition (W11 D6). However, the Foxes have won their last five meetings with sides in the relegation zone by an aggregate score of 13-1.