Tottenham Hotspur-Norwich City Preview
The defence will be a major concern for Norwich City as they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Carrow Road on Tuesday.
Alex Neil's relegation-threatened Norwich (6-5-12) have been calamitous at the back at times this season, conceding 43 goals - only Sunderland have shipped more. The Canaries have let in 11 goals in a run of three straight defeats leading into this game, but last weekend's heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Liverpool could well prove to be a nadir for Norwich.
Neil's side not only let a 3-1 lead slip in that game, but they also conceded a stoppage-time goal having equalised just moments before. The anger and disappointment amongst the squad after the final whistle was clear to see, and Neil has spoken since of the need for "better communication and greater composure" in defence.
Centre back Timm Klose has been brought in from Champions League side Wolfsburg for a sizable fee to try and help sort out those defensive issues, but it has been further forward where Norwich have been particularly active in the January transfer window. Scotland international Steven Naismith scored on his debut and has since been joined by winger Matt Jarvis from West Ham and on-loan Chelsea prospect Patrick Bamford.
"We don't want to bring in players in a similar mould to what we have got," Neil explained. "We are looking to stretch it and attract an even better calibre of player. We are happy with the business we have done, but the proof will be on what happens between now and the end of the season.
"We got some finance in and that allowed us to do what we wanted and bring in who we feel is going to contribute to the starting XI. Hopefully we can go again in the summer window to try and keep building the squad, but we have a lot of work to do before then."
Visitors Tottenham (11-9-3) have been in excellent form of late, scoring 11 goals in three straight wins in all competitions - the exact opposite of Norwich's record.
A 4-1 win over Colchester on Saturday saw Spurs progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup while also resting a number of first-team regulars, encouraging supporters that their team could challenge across three fronts this season.
Mauricio Pochettino wanted no parts of talking treble, but admitted the squad is strong enough to at least be in a position to think about extended runs in the FA Cup and Europa League without weakening the club's unexpected title push.
"It was a tough game, they always are," Pochettino said after the cup win. "You need to show respect to every opponent, that's important. We were focused and I'm very pleased with the performance because we created a lot of chances. It wasn't easy to score from the beginning, but in the end it was a good win. It was difficult, but we're happy to go into the next round, the job is done.
"We have the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Europa League and we need to keep our momentum. Now we work towards Norwich. We have quality enough and a strong squad to try to fight for every competition. Then we'll see."
Tottenham will be without centre back Jan Vertonghen due to a knee injury, meaning that this will be the first league game this season Spurs won't have their all-Belgian first-choice defensive pairing. Summer signing Kevin Wimmer is expected to slot alongside Toby Alderweireld. Ryan Mason, Clinton N'Jie and Alex Pritchard are also unavailable through injury.
Norwich have no reported injury problems.
Tottenham have recorded more shots on target than any other Premier League side this season, while no team have allowed fewer shots on target than the Lilywhites.