Norwich City have slipped back into the drop zone, and with the pressure on and so few games left to save their season they must take at least a point from what is a very difficult game at top four hopefuls Arsenal.
The home side are making immensely hard work of securing a Champions League place, to the extent that they are looking over their shoulders a little. There were few reasons to be encouraged in their last match as they were held by another struggling side in Sunderland, where the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil often got into good areas but the final ball so often eluded them and as a result Olivier Giroud endured yet another frustrating afternoon.
A second successive clean sheet will have been pleasing, but it must be frustrating for a side that plays such attractive football and contains so much ability and invention in attack that they cannot find consistency in terms of results. The absence of a killer instinct has been hugely prevalent in the side over recent times, so it would come as a massive relief if they can rediscover it here. Drop more points, and the doubts and derision will only gather more weight.
That draw for Sunderland was not the result that Norwich were looking for either, as it meant they drifted back below the safety line and in very real danger of making an immediate return to the second tier. Their last match was against the Black Cats and the 3-0 defeat they suffered could be what may eventually have decided their fate as Alex Neil’s men were taught a punishing lesson as to regards to efficiency at both ends of the pitch.
While their were complaints over a potential foul that led to the second goal, the Canaries were inferior at the key moments and did not manage the game as well as their fellow strugglers. The odds are firmly stacked against them here, but it has to be said that their efforts away to the top clubs have not been too bad this season. Narrow defeats at Leicester City and Manchester City and a victory at Manchester United may serve as inspiration coming into this, by which time the gap to safety may have increased.
Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both regained fitness for Arsenal, and at least one of them is expected to feature here.
Russell Martin is set to line up in the Norwich defence as injury has ended Timm Klose’s season and forced Andre Wisdom to return to parent club Liverpool.
Last Meeting: A phenomenal one-touch team move saw Arsenal go ahead in October 2013 as Jack Wilshere converted in nonchalent style, and the lovely football continued as Mesut Ozil put them two goals up in the second half. Jonathan Howson pulled one back for Norwich, but any hope they had of a point was extinguished as Aaron Ramsey netted to make it 3-1 before Ozil rounded things off late on.