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Premier League

  • April 13, 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 60095
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Arsenal - Norwich City Preview: Hosts look to go third with win over struggling Canaries

With Chelsea focusing on the FA Cup and Tottenham given the weekend off, the Gunners will relish the chance to leapfrog their rivals against Chris Hughton's below-par side

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

Fabianski
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal
Arteta, Ramsey
Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski
Giroud

NORWICH CITY
 
Bunn
Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido
Bennett, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass
Hoolahan
Holt


Arsenal's Theo Walcott (groin) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are in contention for the visit of the Canaries, though whether or not Arsene Wenger risks them from the off remains to be seen, even with last week's matchwinner Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) described as "50-50" for the match by the Gunners boss.

Otherwise, the home side will be missing Per Mertesacker after he was sent off against West Brom last week, while Abou Diaby (knee) remains sidelined for the foreseeable.

With John Ruddy (hip) still out, Norwich manager Chris Hughton will be sweating on the fitness of Mark Bunn (groin) after third-choice goalkeeper Lee Camp was called into action after just 15 minutes last week against Swansea.

Andrew Surman (knee) continues to miss out for the visitors, though fellow midfielder Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) is available for selection.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Since Christmas, Arsenal have scored in every game bar the 2-0 loss to Manchester City.

  • The Gunners have won seven of their last nine games and are second only to runaway leaders Manchester United in the form table.
     
  • When Arsene Wenger's side have scored first in the league this season, they have never lost a game.
     
  • 90 per cent of Olivier Giroud's (pictured right) Premier League goals this season have been scored at the Emirates Stadium.
     
  • The last time the two teams met at the Emirates Stadium the game ended in a 3-3 draw, with Steve Morison firing in a late equaliser for the visitors.
     
  • Norwich have just two players who have scored five Premier League goals this season (Holt and Snodgrass), whereas the Gunners have six (Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, Gervinho, Arteta).
     
  • The visitors have won only once in the Premier League since Christmas, drawing seven of their last 11 games.
     
  • The Canaries have also only scored just twice away from home since the start of the year.
     
  • If the Premier League were based solely on second-half results, Norwich would be 18th in the table, with just 33 points.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
28Kieran GibbsDefender
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
10Jack WilshereMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
19Santi CazorlaMidfielder
12Olivier GiroudStriker
27GervinhoStriker
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
17MonrealDefender
25Carl Jenkinson Defender
22Francis CoquelinMidfielder
9Lukas PodolskiStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
13Mark BunnGoalkeeper
2Russell MartinDefender
3Steven WhittakerDefender
5S. BassongDefender
6Michael TurnerDefender
4Bradley JohnsonMidfielder
23Robert SnodgrassMidfielder
8Jonny HowsonMidfielder
27Alexander TetteyMidfielder
29Grant HoltStriker
-Kei KamaraStriker
1Lee CampGoalkeeper
18Javier GarridoDefender
24Ryan Bennett Defender
25David FoxMidfielder
17Elliott BennettMidfielder
19Luciano BecchioStriker
10K. JacksonMidfielder
Players to Watch
Gervinho
Gervinho
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 27
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Two goals and three assists in his last three outings almost certainly represents Gervinho's most potent spell in north London since the start of the season and the Ivorian wowed disbelieving Gooners last time out at the Emirates Stadium with a rampant display against Reading. Norwich are a side on a similar downward spiral to the Premier League's bottom club and the game provides a prime opportunity for a rejuvenated Gervinho to terrorise another team of tired legs and minds.
Bradley Johnson
Bradley Johnson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Unsettling Arsenal's rhythm in the middle of the park will be integral to Norwich's gameplan at the Emirates Stadium, which means a fair bit of emphasis will be placed on Bradley Johnson's role for the afternoon. Mikel Arteta typically enjoys more than his fair share of the ball, especially at home, and if the belligerent Johnson can rattle the Spaniard's cage early on with high-tempo and aggresive pressing, the Canaries may get a foothold in what is a very tough-looking fixture.
Prediction
A glance at the form table suggests a foregone conclusion, yet Norwich have a surprisingly strong record against Arsenal since their promotion - chalking up four points out of the last six available.

That said, goals are proving elusive for the visitors at the moment, while the Gunners will see the rather handy abilities of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott added to a squad that is looking uncharacteristically resolute at this stage of the season. Thomas Vermalen's reintroduction may destabilise Arsenal at the back, though the hosts will surely outscore their opponents, with the chance to overtake both Tottenham and Chelsea providing all the motivation required.
Editor's Prediction

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