Norwich City 0 – 0 Manchester City Match preview
The France international believes his side is still in the title race as they prepare to take on the struggling Canaries
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are 10 points behind leaders Leicester City, but recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend and still hold a game in hand over the rest of the top four.
City famously claimed their first Premier League title in 2012 despite sitting eight points behind leaders Manchester United with just six games to play, and a late run of form saw them overhaul Liverpool and Chelsea in their last victorious campaign in 2013-14.
And Sagna sees no reason why they cannot repeat the feat over their final 10 matches this term as they look to sustain their fearsome form at Carrow Road, where they have won four of their last five matches, including in the FA Cup in January.
“This team has done it before so why not. We have all the players and all the quality required,” said Sagna.
“It’s important to win all our games now to stay in the competition to win the league. We are confident – of course it’s going to be difficult.”
Norwich are desperate for a strong run of their own as they look to arrest their dismal form, which has seen them slide into the relegation zone.
Eight defeats in their last nine have left them a point from safety in 18th place, while they have played one game more than Newcastle United below them.
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Manager Alex Neil insists the players’ fighting spirit remains as strong as ever and has called on the fans to get behind his side as they look for just a second win in 14 Premier League meetings with City.
“I don’t think anybody could say about my players that they are not trying or that they are giving up,” he said, as quoted by the Eastern Daily Press.
“In the last few games these guys are losing teeth and getting gashed heads and everything, and they keep going and they keep trying.
Somebody will put a couple of wins together and climb out, and we have to make sure it is us.”
Norwich have concerns over Robbie Brady and Steven Naismith, who suffered respective calf and hamstring problems in the 1-0 defeat to Swansea City last Saturday, but Sebastien Bassong and Andre Wisdom could both return.
Alex Tettey, who scored the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December, is out with an ankle injury.
City welcomed Kevin De Bruyne back to training this week but the Belgian is not yet ready to return following his knee injury, while Samir Nasri (hamstring) and Fabian Delph (Achilles) remain sidelined.
Pellegrini’s side face Dynamo Kiev in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday but the Chilean is unlikely to rest his star names for a game going into which City hold a 3-1 lead – especially since they have won just two of their last 10 away league matches.
Key Opta Stats:
– There have been 40 goals scored in the last eight Premier League meetings between Norwich City and Manchester City.
– Sergio Aguero has scored five goals in five Premier League appearances against Norwich and also netted in the FA Cup meeting back in January.
– Norwich have taken just one point from the last four Premier League home matches (W0 D1 L3).
– Only one team has prevented Norwich from scoring in their last nine Premier League games at Carrow Road (Tottenham).
– Manuel Pellegrini’s side have scored just eight goals in their last 11 Premier League away matches.