Norwich Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
I’ve been out on official duty for a couple of days and as expected, it affected my blogging activity. Well, I’m back home and I’ve decided to take some time out to share my thoughts on the final game of the season against struggling Norwich.
The Canaries need to beat the Gunners at Carrow Road on Sunday, hope that Stoke City win at West Bromwich Albion and that the two results bring about an incredibly improbable 17-goal swing to save them from relegation. With Sunderland picking up points at the tail end of the season, the onus would be on Norwich to at least, play for pride.
Since the untimely yet predicted sacking of Chris Hughton, Norwich has picked up only one point from four games under the management of former youth coach, Neil Adams. Which hasn’t been good enough. Funnily enough, the solitary point for the new boss arrived in Stamford Bridge, a match where the visitors were denied a stonewall penalty when John Terry lashed at Olsson.
Although Norwich are not yet officially relegated, such is the unlikelihood of Neil Adam’s side managing an escape, it is likely that a sombre mood will hang over Carrow Road. Norwich has struggled in front of goal and ultimately it could be their terrible goal difference that relegates them. The Canaries have scored just 28 goals in the Premier League this season and with just one win in 10 matches prior to games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, staying up was always going to be a challenge.
In contrast to Norwich’s pathetic form, Sunderland had managed four victories on the trot which earned Gus Poyet some plaudits and aided their cause in fighting relegation. Scoring just 28 goals in the Premier League isn’t good enough and it’s fair to say that Norwich belong were they are. A new-look strikeforce which cost £14m in the summer was supposed to fire them beyond last season’s midtable finish, but Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper have netted only seven between them.
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud even doubles their goalscoring tally in the league alone.
A sombre mood will pervade Carrow Road, with Norwich effectively relegated by Sunderland’s decisive midweek win over West Bromwich. Even if Stoke manages to get a victory against West Brom, Arsene Wenger wants his side to gain some momentum ahead of the FA Cup final against Hull next week Saturday. However, the boss will be hopeful that his squad goes unscathed after today’s game.
Any hopes among home supporters that pride could inspire their players to a closing victory look misplaced, given that Arsenal have already secured qualification for the Champions League next season and that Neil Adams’ side sealed their demise with a dire run of one win in 10.
Norwich have won just one of their six Premier League home games against Arsenal, but that was last season through a lone goal from Grant Holt. Norwich have lost by more than one goal in just one of their last 34 home matches.
Arsenal look set to finish fourth in the league for the sixth time in nine seasons. The position is turning into something of a birthright. The Gunners managed 11 shots on target against Norwich at the Emirates, their highest tally in a single Premier League game this season. Regardless of the result in this match, this will Arsenal’s highest points tally in the last six Premier League seasons (currently 76).
I envisage the manager fielding Carl Jenkinson for Bacary Sagna as he played his last home game last week. There could also be a run-out for the captain, ahead of either Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker, but it’s heartwarming to know that Kos the Boss has committed his future to the club, unlike his fellow French compatriot that’s leaving for pastures anew.
With Ramsey’s fitness still in doubt, I see him being replaced with Mathieu Flamini and there would also be game time for the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Yaya Sanogo with Cazorla and Giroud getting some rest.
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
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