Premier League Preview: Norwich City vs. Sunderland

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  • Norwich has won 2 of their last 10 PL fixtures
  • Last Sunderland victory came Feb. 13 vs. Manchester United
  • The Black Cats have only won two away matches this season

Norwich City looks to remain above the relegation zone when they host 18th place Sunderland from Carrow Road (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

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Recent wins against Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion have Norwich occupying the Premier League’s final spot above the relegation zone, however, last week’s defeat against Crystal Palace presents an opening for Sunderland.

Coming off of a 2-0 defeat against league leader Leicester City, Sunderland is running out of time in the 2015-16 season. With six games to play, the Black Cats are four points behind Norwich for the final safety position in the PL. Sam Allardyce and company need to build a positive run of results, starting vs. Norwich, in order to assure a spot in England’s top flight.

[ MORE: Leicester’s Schmeichel says team hasn’t achieved anything yet ]

Goals have been scarce for both sides this season, with Sunderland tallying 36 and Norwich trailing slightly with 35 finishes. Jermain Defoe is tied for seventh in the Premier League with 12 goals for the Black Cats, while the Canaries are paced by Nathan Redmond’s five goals.

What they’re saying

Norwich manager Alex Neill: “We have beaten the other teams in the main around us at home so we know what it takes. It is only natural that teams down the bottom end struggle a bit more away from home. We wouldn’t be alone in that fact.”

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: “The more clean sheets they keep between now and the end of the season, the better chance they give themselves to survive because one goal will win them three points.”

Prediction

Critical. That’s the only word that describes this match, for both sides. A loss for Sunderland would all but bury Allardyce’s men with just five matches to play. Their last win away from home came shortly after the New Year against Swansea City, which doesn’t bode well for a side trying to close its way out of the drop zone. While the two sides haven’t met since August, a 3-1 Norwich win, everything points to the Canaries gaining separation. I believe Norwich captures a 2-1 victory at home and puts an end to Sunderland’s hopes of remaining in the PL next season.

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