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
By Josh Clarke
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal
Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski
Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido
Bennett, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass
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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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 3-0 Norwich City
- 23.25 %
Arsenal 3-1 Norwich City
- 14.72 %
Arsenal 2-0 Norwich City
- 13.87 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 19, 2013||Arsenal 4 - Norwich City 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 13, 2013||Arsenal 3 - Norwich City 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 20, 2012||Norwich City 1 - Arsenal 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 5, 2012||Arsenal 3 - Norwich City 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 19, 2011||Norwich City 1 - Arsenal 2|
|Apr 15, 2014||Arsenal 3 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|Apr 12, 2014||Wigan Athletic 1 - Arsenal 1||FA|
|Apr 6, 2014||Everton 3 - Arsenal 0||EPL|
|Mar 29, 2014||Arsenal 1 - Manchester City FC 1||EPL|
|Mar 25, 2014||Arsenal 2 - Swansea 2||EPL|
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.