Are Manchester City about to add insult to injury?
Photo: Getty Images

Are Manchester City about to add insult to injury?

Norwich could be missing up to eleven first team players on Saturday evening.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Picture the scene: You have the worst defensive record in the Premier League after returning to the top flight just four months ago.

Sitting just one place and two points above the very foot of the table, your next opponents are the top goalscorers in the league. The reigning champions and the favourites to not only win the competition, but also the Champions League.

One of the smallest squads in the elite division, all four of your senior central defenders could be unavailable, adding to the total of eleven first team players sidelined.

And you have lost eleven of your last twelve meetings with the opposition.

Down to the bare bones in defence

Daniel Farke has a major selection headache ahead of one of the hardest games of the season, though he came out fighting in his pre-match press conference, stating, "We won't cry. It's tricky but we will try to search for some solutions."

The biggest problems come at the back, arguably Norwich's weakest area of the squad without any injury issues. Timm Klose had already been ruled out for the majority of the season, whilst Christoph Zimmermann is unlikely to be available until 2020.

Premier League managers are notorious for not enjoying international breaks and Farke has seen his two England Under-21 defenders come back with knocks. Max Aarons will be out for a handful of weeks and "his foot is still in a boot", whilst Ben Godfrey "came back with a groin strain and is a major doubt."

Such is the issues in defence that Farke could be forced to rush Godfrey through, sharing his playing time against City with club captain Grant Hanley. Farke hinted, "Grant Hanley is available from the bench. He is back on the training pitch today and he could play 20 or 30 minutes.”

Loanee Ibrahim Amadou could be asked to slot into defence for his first Premier League start but the problems don't end there. Goalkeeper Tim Krul has a minor injury picked up in training and could be replaced by the more than capable Ralf Fahrmann - although he conceded ten goals in two Champions League games against City last season.

Predicted starting defence: Fahrmann; Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis.

However, City themselves only have two fit senior central defenders...

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Stuttering engine

Norwich's midfield is also severely depleted, particularly in the engine room. Tom Trybull and Mario Vrancic are often regulars in the matchday squad but will both be unavailable in the anchor roles with ligament and calf injuries respectively.

Kenny McLean and Alex Tettey are likely to deputise in front of the back four, although they only have one league start between them this season.

Moritz Leitner is another central midfielder who has been made unavailable, whilst Patrick Roberts and Onel Hernandez won't be bringing their usual flair to proceedings - the former ineligible to face his parent club.

However, Norwich have strength in depth with attacking midfielders. Top assist makers Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia should start and are expected to be joined by Marco Stiepermann in the triumvirate behind the lone striker - Premier League Player of the Month Teemu Pukki.

Predicted midfield and attack: McLean, Tettey; Buendia, Cantwell, Stiepermann; Pukki.

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Youth on the bench

The substitutes bench will undoubtedly introduce some unfamiliar names. Whilst one of Krul, Farhmann or third-choice goalkeeper Michael McGovern will be joined by the likes of Hanley and Josip Drmic, there will be a handful of seats for those on the fringes of the matchday squad.

Left-back Philip Heise played in the EFL Cup defeat to Crawley, whilst forward Dennis Srbeny has only played nine minutes of Premier League football. 

18-year old striker Adam Idah could also be selected after a strong pre-season and he might be joined by midfielder Daniel Adshead, also 18, who only signed from Rochdale in the summer.

Predicted subs: Krul or McGovern, Hanley, Drmic, Heise, Srbeny, Idah, Adshead. 

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