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Premier League

  • November 19, 2011
  • • 12:45
  • • Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 26801
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Premier League Preview: Norwich City v Arsenal

Premier League Preview: Norwich City v Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger's team are on the way up after a dismal start and will hope Robin van Persie can fire them to another win against the Canaries in a match that promises goals


PROBABLE LINEUPS

NORWICH


Ruddy
Naughton, Martin, Barnett, Tierney
Fox, Johnson
Bennett, Hoolahan, Pilkington
Morison

ARSENAL


Szczesny
Djourou, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Santos
Song, Ramsey, Arteta
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho


Norwich City have suffered a series of injuries to their back four over the opening months of the season and while manager Paul Lambert hopes the likes of Zak Whitbread, Daniel Ayala and Elliott Ward are close to returns, none are likely to be thrown straight back into the side here. That means Russell Martin and Leon Barnett should continue at centre-back – that new partnership enjoyed a promising start but went on to allow six goals in the Canaries’ previous two matches.

If Norwich opt for a 4-4-2, Grant Holt will continue to partner Steve Morison in attack but expect David Fox to replace the former and drop to midfield if their more common 4-2-3-1 is preferred.

Arsenal could remain unchanged, with the clean sheet earned at West Bromwich Albion before the international break enough to keep Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen ahead of Per Mertesacker at centre-back. Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson are both sidelined, so Johan Djourou is likely to slot in at right-back.

Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are also long-term absentees, but Arsene Wenger hopes to be able to include Kieran Gibbs and Marouane Chamakh amongst his substitutes after injury.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Arsenal’s last visit to Carrow Road, way back in August 2004, was a successful one. Jose Antonio Reyes, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp were the scorers in a 4-1 away victory, with Darren Huckerby on the score sheet for Norwich.
  • Only two players – Adam Drury for Norwich and Manuel Almunia for Arsenal – in the match day squads for that game remain at the two clubs today. Both are available for selection on Saturday, but are not likely to feature.
  • Perhaps the most unlikely score line on Saturday is 0-0. Neither side has played out a scoreless draw this season and Norwich have played 29 league matches since their last stalemate.
  • Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson will hope to make an impression in this match against his boyhood club. Born in Hackney, Johnson was released by the Gunners as a 15-year old and picked up by Cambridge United.
  • The Canaries have not been afraid to mix up their approach in order to adapt to life in the Premier League. Only three sides – Stoke City, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers – have completed less passes than Norwich’s 2,907 so far this season.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1John RuddyGoalkeeper
16Kyle NaughtonDefender
2Russell MartinDefender
20Leon BarnettDefender
23Marc TierneyDefender
-Andrew CroftsMidfielder
4Bradley JohnsonMidfielder
15David FoxMidfielder
12Anthony PilkingtonMidfielder
14Wesley HoolahanMidfielder
20Steve MorisonStriker
13Declan RuddGoalkeeper
3Adam DruryDefender
11Andrew SurmanMidfielder
17Elliott BennettMidfielder
9Grant HoltStriker
18Aaron WilbrahamStriker
10K. JacksonMidfielder
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
4Per MertesackerDefender
23Thomas VermaelenDefender
11Andre SantosDefender
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
25Alex SongMidfielder
14Theo WalcottStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
27GervinhoStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
5Johan DjourouDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
35Francis CoquelinMidfielder
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
Players to Watch
Anthony Pilkington
Anthony Pilkington
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 12
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The former Huddersfield winger has adjusted to life in the top flight in impressive fashion, with four goals to his name already this season.

With Bacary Sagna injured, Pilkington will face the out-of-position Johan Djourou on the left flank and must fancy his chances.

It is vital that Pilkington continues to contribute goals if Norwich hope to keep their good start going and the 23-year old is flying at the minute.

Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 1 0

Who else? The Dutch striker’s phenomenal 2011 continues, with eight goals notched in his last four Premier League matches.

With Zak Whitbread, Elliott Ward and Daniel Ayala all sidelined, Russell Martin has stepped in at centre-back alongside Leon Barnett. After a decent start, they have been part of a defence that has shipped six goals in the Canaries’ last two fixtures.

That must improve on Saturday or Van Persie, with the help of Gervinho and Theo Walcott, could have a field day.

Prediction

Norwich are the sort of confident, enthusiastic and positive team that could cause the big sides a few problems this season. But their leaky, defence combined with the ability of Van Persie to win games on his own in this vein of form, does not bode well for Paul Lambert’s side in this fixture.

Editor's Prediction

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