Norwich vs. Arsenal Preview – will we see Jack?By: Lachlan | October 20th, 2012
So the tortuous interlull is finished. Finally. It feels like I haven’t watched any football other than the Australian A-League in years, and I am desperate to see some players who can complete a simple pass under pressure, let alone without pressure. So I’ll try to get straight into it.
Who: Norwich City F.C. est. 1902 (L-L-L-D-D)
What: Premier League Away Match
When: 20th October, 05:30PM Local Time
Where: Carrow Road (27,033)
How: Fox Sports 1/ESPN
Well, after having a great season after being promoted last season, things aren’t looking too good for Norwich. Many promoted teams have a lot of trouble in their second season up. Although Norwich have managed to hold onto all of their top players from last season, they have maybe suffered a worse fate, having lost their star manager to Aston Villa. Whilst some clubs can continue on with a new manager, or sometimes improve, Norwich don’t seem to be that club. Norwich have been punching above their weight for quite a while now, managing promotion in two consecutive seasons, and now that Paul Lambert has moved on it might be hard to continue that form.
Norwich are a very low budget team with very few star players. The obvious standout is Grant Holt, who had an absolute blinder at the Emirates last season when we desperately needed three points to get third spot (luckily for us Spurs choked as well). The guy was the highest scoring English player in the Premier League other than Wayne Rooney, yet Hodgson was obsessed with the idea of using Euros as a Liverpool training camp so he left him at home. Good for Norwich I guess, but very typical of the English set up really.
I think once again we might have a lot of trouble dealing with Holt, but maybe having Mertesacker running things from the back might be a little better. Mind you, last time we played Mertesacker against Norwich he messed up really terribly to allow a goal completely against the run of play. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again. I know Holt is no Andy Carroll, but he is still very dangerous, and he was one of the top players in the league for me last year, making goals from not a great deal last year, and not needing too many good chances to convert.
Norwich are yet to win a game this season, and have the worst goal difference in the league. The fact that they got demolished by the mediocrity that is Liverpool at the moment speaks a lot about how they are doing. I watched the Chelsea/Norwich game two weeks ago, and I thought they looked okay, but in a different league compared to Chelsea (who conceded a poor goal once again highlighting the frailty of their defence, I think if Giroud had played against these goons we would have been able to knock a few more in). Norwich look very vulnerable at the moment.
So we managed to make it through the international matches without too much damage once again. Koscielny has injured his back I believe, not sure if that was directly related to international football or not. Walcott was assaulted while playing San Marino, and now has a bruised lung, which is very disappointing given how good he has been off of the bench so far this season. Other than that the only other new injury is Gibbs with a thigh strain (which I don’t think is too serious). Of course the long termers are still out, being Frimpong, Rosicky, Diaby (still at that magical 3 weeks sort of return date), Sagna (who I don’t believe is in the squad despite playing for the youth side), Szczesny and Fabianski (who is having surgery and will be out for the next 3 months).
Some good news that came out of the international games is of course some Gunners scoring. The Ox scored against San Marino in what I hear was a good performance (not a chance in hell that I am watching a game like that). Giroud scored the late equaliser against Spain in Madrid when Ribery took some time away from young women to put a cross in that Giroud turned in with his head. That has to do wonders for his confidence.. Finally, Mertesacker scored one of Germany’s four goals against Sweden before they did an Arsenal and gave the game away late on. I watched this one and I think he performed really well and he wasn’t at fault for any of the goals I feel.
The big news that has been floating about is of course that Jack Wilshere is travelling as part of the squad, and that means that he is a chance to feature. Some people have spoken about the fact that they think he is likely to get a run out. I guess if we are up by a few goals it wouldn’t be that bad an idea to sub off a winger to put him on, but I don’t think he should be played unless Wenger is certain that he is ready to play and that he is in good enough form to play. He shouldn’t be brought in just for the sake of it. Stuart Pearce has weighed in for some strange reason and claimed that he is keen to take him to the U-21 championships this summer. Stuart Pearce can piss off. His teams always do poorly and I don’t see why he would want to take senior players away just to try to ruin their careers. He can do that to United, Chelsea and Tottenham players.
Given that we are playing the team with the worst goal difference, I really think we should be heading out to score as many as we can and bring home three very pleasing points. Santos playing will contribute massively to this attacking style given his favoured position of no. 10, but I think Ramsey playing will also contribute to this quite a bit. Maybe Coquelin will get a run in the centre as well and Ramsey will play on the right again.
Up front I think we would be crazy to play anyone but Giroud. I’m not sure if I mentioned it in my last post, but I think Giroud is very valuable to us for a few reasons. Firstly, he holds up the ball and feeds the other attacking players quite well (in addition to his role of scoring goals), but his size may also come in handy in defending set pieces given the fact that we haven’t really got anyone in the midfield with any real physical presence.
So this is my guess at a lineup:
Bench: Martinez, Miquel, Djourou, Arshavin, AOC, Wilshere
Despite the fact we have picked up a few more injuries (they are starting to creep up on me I think), things are still looking pretty good. The back four looks really solid, and the midfield should be able to handle the Norwich midfield quite well.
I am predicting a 4-1 victory with two from Giroud, one from Cazorla and one from Ramsey. Holt will score as well, of course.
I apologise, I’m not sure if anyone will have a blog up and running for tonight. I’ll have to watch the game delayed, but if I see that there isn’t one up when I go to bed, I’ll try to set one up for you guys and hopefully Perry and/or Felegy can drop in to keep you entertained.