Norwich (A) Preview: Off To A Canary Hunt…
After what seems like an eternity since we last played a game, Premier League Football is back with the Gunners travelling to Carrow Road to face an out-of-form Norwich. Chris Hughton’s charges are yet to win a game this season, and their last win at Carrow Road was in the final game of last season against Aston Villa where their previous manager is now at the helm. Our win there last season was a tight affair that was settled by two goals from a certain despicable person we like to forget about. So, onto the “now” then…
We visit Carrow Road this time as the second most miserly defence in the league with only 5 goals conceded. Our hosts on the other hand have concede more goals than every other team, bar Southampton, having seen their net bulge 17 times so far. Moreover, their last home game isn’t memorable either, as a Nuri-Sahin-powered Liverpool side smacked 5 past John Ruddy. So, all this may stack odds generously in our favour, but Hughton, a former Spud, insists that Arsenal are in for a real fight. Honestly, a fixture such as this can work both ways. We may get an early goal or two and they may completely deflate and play into our hands, like what happened to the Saints this season or the Villains last season, or they may put up a dogged fight and give us a run for our money, like QPR away or Wigan at home, last season. So what is paramount is that we go into the game in the right mindset and do the simple things right. If we do that, i don’t think Norwich have enough in their locker to stop us.
So, who will line up at the late kickoff tomorrow? This time though, it should be a little more straight-forward due to the various injuries and jet lag.
Up front, I think Giroud will lead the line. He’s done his odds no harm by scoring against West Ham and scoring against Spain in the Interlull. Confidence must be high and his physicality would bode well for our chances against Norwich’s burly backline. With Walcott sidelined and the Ox with one day lesser to freshen up, I expect Gervinho in all probability to start down the right, with Podolski nailed on for the left spot.
In the middle, we should see the same midfield that started in the West Ham game. Cazorla and Arteta are irreplaceable at the moment and the only query would be as to who starts alongside them. Ramsey had a good outing against the Hammers and didn’t play on Tuesday, so he should be freah and raring to go, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Coquelin and Frimpong will feature in the bench with Diaby out and this may be a game too soon for the recovering Wilshere.
The Backline will have one change with Santos replacing the injured Gibbs. Mertesacker and Vermaelen have more going on about them and they should start ahead of Koscielny. Sagna may be back in the scheme of things but he would probably start in the bench, with Jenkinson continuing his great run-in in the first team.
So i think the starting line up tomorrow should be something like this,
Jenkinson - Mertesacker - Vermaelen - Santos
Arteta - Ramsey
Gervinho - Cazorla - Podolski
With the substitutes being Martinez, Koscieny, Sagna, Frimpong, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arshavin.
The key to playing against a team with a low morale is to get a positive start. If we get can get a goal or two early in the game, I expect to see us win in a landslide margin. But if we give them room to get into the game, they can give us a queasy moment or two. I’m gunning for a 3-0 win with Giroud, Podolski and one of the midfield guys scoring. I really, really hope they keep a clean sheet this time around.
That’s it from me for today. Enjoy the game wherever you are watching and I’ll be back tomorrow for my post-match reaction. Till then, Adios. Come On You Reds!!!
Update: Arsene Wenger has declared that Laurent Koscielny will not feature tomorrow, so it will be Djourou in the bench.