Norwich City-Swansea City Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - The table is starting to show that Swansea City and Norwich City may be the two hottest clubs in the Premier League.
Now , the Swans and Canaries will shed their role - and usual label - of upstart, as one of them may have their impressive unbeaten run snapped Saturday when they meet at Liberty Stadium.
Swansea (6-5-4) are seventh in the league standings, tying Everton on 23 points and sitting three back of the fourth-place tie between Tottenham and West Brom. Norwich (4-7-4) are further back of the Swans in 12th, but are pulling away from the relegation race in a bid to remain in the top flight for a third straight term.
Both clubs are climbing the table thanks to tremendous unbeaten streaks that include beating some of the most heralded clubs in England.
The Swans haven't lost in seven matches (4-3-0), starting with a 3-1 victory at Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Oct. 31. Their streak also includes a league draw versus the Reds and another versus Chelsea.
Swansea's latest performance, however, is the most impressive yet, stunning Arsenal 2-0 in London last weekend behind a brace from Michu in the final minutes. His 10 goals tie him with three others for the Premier League lead.
"It was like a dream," Michu told the team's official website. "This team can go up and up. But we have to continue working hard. If we don't work hard we will lose for sure.
"We have more tough games coming up, and we have to keep the same attitude that we have shown recently."
Norwich certainly feel the same way while going 5-4-0 in their past nine matches, also getting a win over the Gunners while adding another versus league leaders Manchester United and Tottenham in cup play.
The Canaries kept rolling Sunday, beating Sunderland 2-1 on first-half goals from defender Sebastien Bassong and midfielder Anthony Pilkington.
"We've put a run of results together and that's tough to do in this league, so it shows you how good a squad we've got here," Pilkington told the club's official website. "We look solid as a unit from the back to the front ... and we'll take that into the Swansea game."
Pilkington has two goals in four matches, including the lone tally in a 1-0 win over United on Nov. 17.
"I'm enjoying my football at the minute and it's great to be out there," Pilkington said,
That's certainly been the case when facing Swansea. The Irishman scored three times in two meetings with them last season as Norwich won both, including a 3-2 victory as the visitor Feb. 11.
Grant Holt had two goals in that match, but he enters this meeting on an eight-game drought.
Norwich gave up three goals to Swansea last season, and they're likely to have trouble keeping them off the scoresheet again thanks to Michu.
The Spanish forward has four goals in four matches and 11 on the season in all competitions following his summer transfer from Rayo Vallecano. He has a career-best 15 goals in La Liga in 2011-12.
"I'm very pleased with him," manager Michael Laudrup said. "We know goalscorers go through periods where they score everything, but there are also times when they don't. But he isn't just a goalscorer. He works so hard all the time and is an important player for us."
Updated December 6, 2012