Arsenal vs Norwich City
Apr 13, 2013 at 3pm (UK)
A perfect opportunity presents itself in front of the Gunners to finally move ahead of Tottenham this year. A win today means the Gunners will be at 59 points after 32 games and stand a point above their rivals and if Chelsea drop points against Fulham the Gunners can serge forward to third place – a feat which looked more than a dream at the start of the year. Arsenal host Norwich city on the back of an impressive run of 4 unbeaten games in the league since their defeat at White Hart Lane and will be looking to continue their run. Just alike the previous few seasons, Arsenal are turning the screws at the fag end of the season while the likes of Spurs and Chelsea are losing it when it matters, allowing Arsene Wenger and his men to land the all-important Champions league berth.
Meanwhile the Canaries are on a worst run since their arrival to the top flight. Norwich are yet to take all 3 points in their last 5 games and is just 5 points ahead of the drop zone. The likes of Grant Holt, Robert Snodgrass, and Wesley Hoolihan who had an impressive season last year have faded away this time around and have scored less than 5 goals this season which has certainly affected their momentum. Odds are against them this afternoon but one must not forget last year 3-3 draw at the Emirates which had a major say in Gunner’ quest for the top 4 and a 1-0 victory at the beginning of this season.
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky who had a couple of good games faces a fitness test on his hamstring and will have a 50% chance of making it to the starting line-up today. The likes of Wilshere and Theo Walcott are back from their ankle and thigh injury and are available for selection. Although Wilshere might start today, Walcott may find himself in the bench and Gervinho who has been starting in place of Walcott may start while the mystery as to why Podolski is spending more time on the bench remains.
Arsenal’s backline face its first change in recent impressive run, as centre-back Per Mertesacker serves his ban for the red care he received at the Hawthorns last week. Vermaelen will start alongside Koscielny and it will be interesting to see who wears the arm band.
For Norwich the fitness with their goalkeepers will be a major concern for the Canaries as both Mark Bunn and John Ruddy are facing a race against time to prove their fitness. The only good news that Chris Hughton has received from his treatment table is the return of Anthony Pilkington from his hamstring injury.
- Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla has not been slowed by the English game. Saturday will be his 31st start of the season.
- Only West Ham and Stoke (9) have less goals away from home than Norwich, who have scored 12.
- On average, Arsenal have tested the goalkeeper less this season compared to last, with their average shots per game down from 15.89 to 14.9, while their average crosses per game are down from 7.89 to 6.9.
- Norwich have drawn more matches than any other team in the division, with 14.
- The Emirates has seen more goals (59) than any other Premier League ground this term.
- Only league leaders Manchester United have taken as many points from their last six Premier League games as Arsenal (both 15).
- Norwich won 4-2 at Highbury in their first ever Premier League game in August 1992; since then, only four other away teams have netted four times in a league game against the Gunners and no side has netted more.
- Grant Holt has scored in both of his last two meetings with Arsenal.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Koscielney, Vermaelen, Monreal; Arteta, Rosicky, Carzola; Walcott, Giroud, Gervinho
Norwich: Camp; Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Hoolahan; E Bennett; Holt
Prediction: 3-1 win for the home side.