Manchester City eye more home comfort

Last updated : 02 December 2011 By AFP

Roberto Mancini's side go into the weekend with a five-point advantage at the top of the table after winning 11 and drawing two of their opening 13 matches.

They dropped points for just the second time this season with a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool last weekend.

But their league record at Eastlands this term remains perfect, with six wins out of six, having scored 19 goals and conceded just three.

City's Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread as they enter the final round of group games next week.

They have to beat Bayern Munich at home and hope that Villarreal, who have not picked up any points from their opening five matches, can do them a favour against Napoli.

At least City owner Sheikh Mansour has made it clear that if Mancini, who guided the club to the FA Cup last season, can deliver the Premier League, failure in Europe will be tolerated.

Mancini's men can take another step towards achieving that goal against Paul Lambert's Norwich and recent history is certainly on their side against promoted teams.

City thumped Swansea 4-0 at home on the opening weekend and over the previous four seasons they failed to pick up maximum points just once in 12 matches -- a 3-3 draw with Burnley in 2009 -- against promoted teams.

Mancini has been far from happy with City's recent schedule but still saw his team win 1-0 in the League Cup at Arsenal, just two days after their trip to Anfield.

Striker Mario Balotelli and midfielder Gareth Barry are both in contention once again after missing the trip to Arsenal through suspension and Mancini has no injury concerns ahead of the return to Premier League action.

Norwich may have long odds ahead of their trip north but they will have gleaned plenty of confidence from the way they have performed in other intimidating away matches already this season.

Lambert's side were beaten by two late goals in a 3-1 loss at Chelsea, suffered the same fate in a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United and managed an impressive 1-1 draw at Liverpool.

In spite of City's fine start to the season, Lambert is adamant Norwich will play their normal game at Eastlands and insists his players truly believe they can be the first side to beat Mancini's men in the Premier League this season.

"The way they (City) are playing and the form they're in isn't great for us, but like in other games we've had away from home, were going there to win."

"We've never gone into a game thinking that we're just going to bed in and try not to get turned over, we'll go there and do everything we can to try to win but we're under no illusions about how hard it's going to be," Lambert added.

Norwich defenders Zak Whitbread and Elliott Ward are unlikely to feature due to respective hamstring and knee problems, while striker James Vaughan is a long-term absentee.

Source: AFP

Source: AFP