Brighton travel to basement side Norwich on Saturday, with both sides in desperate need of three points to boost their chances of Premier League survival.
Norwich have endured a dreadful return to league football following the restart last month. Three defeats from three league games – without scoring a goal – has solidified their place at the foot of the table, with their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-final compounding a miserable return.
Brighton have fared much better since the footballing recess ended. Four points from their first two outings against Arsenal and Leicester saw Graham Potter's men move six points clear of the drop zone, though their 3-0 defeat to Manchester United last time out handed them a harsh reality check.
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? "It was a learning curve, but we’ve beaten Arsenal and we’ve drawn with Leicester so I think we need to stay confident."#BHAFC ?⚪️— Brighton & Hove Albion (at ?) (@OfficialBHAFC) July 1, 2020
The home side will be able to call upon the services of Timm Klose after he served his one-match ban against Arsenal on Wednesday evening.
Moritz Leitner is again expected to miss out having sat out the trip to the Emirates with a hernia problem, while trio Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley and Sam Byram will also be unavailable through injury.
José Izquierdo remains sidelined with a knee injury for the visitors, though Adam Webster is expected to be available for selection having missed the defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday.
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Tettey, Lewis; Trybull, McLean; Buendia, Duda, Cantwell; Pukki.
Brighton: Ryan; Montoya, Webster, Dunk, Burn; Stephens, Bissouma; Connolly, Mac Allister, Mooy; Maupay.
Norwich looked condemned to life back in the Championship prior to the break, and their form since the return has all but confirmed that. Wednesday's defeat to Arsenal left Daniel Farke's seven points off safety with just six games remaining, and if they are to retain their Premier League status they can ill afford any more defeats.
? "We don't have any arguments after a 4-0 loss. We decided to be self-critical, stay humble and speak about what we have to improve in order to play the next game at our top level and without mistakes."— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) July 1, 2020
The three-month break seems to have done Potters' men the world of good. They were winless this calendar year before the hiatus, but have picked up crucial points since the return and now look well set to ensure they remain a top-flight team next season.
Arsenal 4-0 Norwich (1/7)
Norwich 1-2 Manchester United (27/6)
Norwich 0-1 Everton (24/6)
Norwich 0-3 Southampton (19/6)
Sheffield United 1-0 Norwich (7/3)
Brighton 0-3 Manchester United (30/6)
Leicester 0-0 Brighton (23/6)
Brighton 2-1 Arsenal (20/6)
Wolves 0-0 Brighton (7/3)
Brighton 0-1 Crystal Palace (29/2)
It's beginning to look a case of 'when' rather than 'if' Norwich's relegation to the Championship is confirmed after just one season in the top flight. Farke's men know they face an almost impossible task if they're to even lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
Brighton meanwhile are looking in much better shape, though with just two away wins all season they have struggled on the road at times. Despite that, they should prove too classy for a beleaguered Norwich side who know the writing is on the wall for them.
Prediction: Norwich 0-1 Brighton
Source : 90min