Southampton vs Norwich news: Scintillating Saints too strong for Canaries

Following consecutive defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool, Norwich will be looking to bounce back against Southampton. That, however, is a lot easier said than done.

Southampton are enjoying their best spell of the season and will be intent on extending their unbeaten run to five games. 

Over their last 10 Premier League outings, Saints have picked up 16 points, which is one less than Chelsea and two more than Tottenham and West Ham.

At the same time, Saints have been able to drastically increase their number of goals. Over half (18) of their 32 efforts this season have been scored during the last 10 games - that's more than Wolves, Chelsea, Tottenham and the same as Manchester United.

Norwich, on the other hand, have a lot less to shout about. Just as the club was beginning to build some kind of momentum, back-to-back games against Liverpool and Man City have left them bottom of the Premier League table.

Dean Smith will be hoping for a brisk turnaround, but considering Southampton's current form, that certainly won't be an easy task.

When: Friday, February 25, 20:00 GMT

Where: St Mary's Stadium

Where to watch: Sky Sports

Follow this game via our score centre

Who is the ref for Southampton vs Norwich

Referee, Simon Hooper during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Preston North End at the City Ground, Nottingham on Saturday 6th November 2021.

Simon Hooper will take charge of his tenth Premier League game this Friday night.

The 39-year-old has already officiated three Southampton games this season, including two in the Premier League. Hooper has also taken charge of two Norwich fixtures - his recent one being their 2-0 defeat at West Ham.

Season stats 2021/22: Premier League matches (9), yellow cards (27), red cards (0), penalties (0)

Recent form

Southampton's Stuart Armstrong celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022.

Considering Southampton's last four Premier League games have come against Everton, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City, it's fair to say that their haul of eight points is nothing short of sensational.

The two Manchester clubs were both held to 1-1 draws, while Spurs and the Toffees endured defeats.

Taking into account all competitions, Southampton have lost just one of their last 11 outings, which is form worthy of a top 10 club.

Norwich City's Milot Rashica celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022.

Norwich, in contrast, have seen their momentum shattered by City and Liverpool. A 4-0 loss against the Citizens was followed by a 3-1 defeat at Anfield - results which ended the Canaries' three-match unbeaten run.

Recent wins over Everton and Watford, plus a draw with Crystal Palace, have helped to keep Norwich within five points of safety.

Southampton vs Norwich players in form

Southampton's Che Adams during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022.

One man in particularly good form is Southampton's Che Adams. The 25-year-old has scored two goals and produced one assist from his last three Premier League outings.

Adams played a key role in Southampton's 3-2 win over Tottenham, and also helped the side to a point at Old Trafford after bagging a second-half equaliser against the Red Devils.

The Scotsman scored on his last appearance against Norwich, and he will be looking for more on Friday as he tries to improve on this season's goal tally.

Norwich City's Milot Rashica celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022.

With regards to the visitors, Milot Rashica is the man to watch. The 25-year-old gave Liverpool a scare last weekend after giving Norwich a short-lived lead at Anfield.

The Kosovo international enjoyed a strong performance against the Reds and also looked impressive in recent fixtures with Watford, Everton and Wolves.

Last three games

Norwich 2-1 Southampton (Premier League - November 20, 2021)

Despite taking an early lead through Che Adams, Southampton left East Anglia without any points.

Goals from Teemu Pukki and Grant Hanley helped the visitors to what was just their second win of the season.

Norwich 0-3 Southampton (Premier League - June 19, 2020)

Southampton enjoyed a far more productive trip to Norwich back in the summer of 2020.

Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond all stamped their name onto the scoresheet in the second-half on a faultless evening for the Saints.

Southampton 2-1 Norwich (Premier League - December 4, 2019)

Last time Southampton hosted the Canaries they enjoyed a similarly successful evening.

Ings and Ryan Bertrand gave the hosts a two-goal lead before Teemu Pukki denied Saints a clean sheet.

Managers' thoughts:

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl when asked about the key to his team's good form: "We have shown that we can compete, even against the top teams in the league. We have drawn twice with Manchester City, that gives you a lot of belief.

"Also in other games against the big teams we have shown that we are good. We have improved our game. The young lads are getting better and we have learned how to play the way we want to play and this is the reason why we are successful at the moment."

Norwich City's manager Dean Smith reacts during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool, Britain, on Feb. 19, 2022.

Norwich manager Dean Smith began his tenure at Carrow Road with a win over Southampton.

When asked whether that result gives him confidence ahead of Friday's encounter, he said: "We won't underestimate the quality Southampton have got, but we've got to make sure our performance levels are really high. We've beaten them once and we can take confidence and belief but we certainly have to go and perform to get a result there."

Predicted Southampton vs Norwich teams

Alex McCarthy set to return in goal for Southampton against Wolves

The main three absentees for Southampton are Nathan Tella, Alex McCarthy and Lyanco who all miss out through injury.

Romain Perraud is a doubt and could miss Friday's encounter due to illness.

Norwich, on the other hand, have no fresh injury concerns but they will be without Lukas Rupp, Adam Idah, Tim Krul, Jacob Sorensen and Andrew Omobamidele.

Possible Southampton starting line-up: Forster, Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, S Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Adams, Broja

Possible Norwich starting line-up: Gunn, Aarons, Kabak, Gibson, Williams, Placheta, Normann, McLean, Rashica, Pukki, Sargent

Southampton vs Norwich prediction

Southampton are unbeaten at home in 10 games - a run which extends all the way back to September.

Norwich, with the exception of their games against Man City and Liverpool, have improved under Dean Smith and still have a realistic shot at Premier League survival.

However, with the hosts in scintillating form, this may be a step too far for the Canaries. With that in mind, we're backing Saints to bag a slender win.

READ MORE: The most unlikely clubs former England internationals have played at 

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