Southampton-Norwich City Preview
Southampton and Norwich City are set to go on as scheduled with their scheduled Premier League contest on Saturday at Carrow Road.
As the world takes precaution while dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Premier League had still not followed the lead of other football leagues throughout Europe that have suspended seasons, or, in some cases, hold matches behind closed doors.
Clubs throughout the Premier League continue to check with the governing football bodies and the English government when it comes to best practice in terms of containing the novel virus that's spread rapidly all over the world.
With this particular contest likely being played to a most-empty stadium, the focus for players and staff remains on the pitch.
"So, as much as possible, we have to focus on this game," Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl said at his Thursday press briefing. "We will do everything we can to minimize the risk and await further information. There (are) more important things to focus on than football at the moment, and that is hard for the players to bring the focus to the pitch."
Southampton (10-4-15) are 14th in the Premier League table, but have lost two straight and five of the last seven matches. The Saints fell 1-0 last weekend to Newcastle United, playing a man down from the 28th minute on.
"We had a difficult game last weekend with one man down, but I think the players know (Saturday) is another game for us," Hassenhuttl said. "We feel we're in good position, (though) we know we haven't taken points in the last few weeks consistently like we did before."
Southampton took the full three points from Norwich (5-6-18) in the reverse fixture with a 2-1 victory on Dec. 4. Danny Ings (15 league goals) and Ryan Bertand scored for the Saints, whilst Teemu Pukki (11 league goals) pulled one back for the Canaries.
Last in the table, Norwich City failed to build on a 1-0 win over Leicester City on Feb. 28 by falling 1-0 at Sheffield United last weekend. It marked the fourth time in five Premier League matches that Norwich failed to score.
"If we can bounce back with a win this week, that would be the best reaction," defender Jamal Lewis told Norwich's official website. "It's football, and there are a lot of crazy things that can happen. We're just working hard and staying optimistic."
Updated March 12, 2020