Author Archives: enigma106

Ozil Shines, Injuries Pile up and Gunners Struggle in the League

Norwich 1 (Grabban 43′) – Arsenal 1 (Ozil)

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

With Manchester United and Leicester sharing the spoils, as well as Manchester City returning back to winning ways against Southampton, the onus was on Arsenal to put up a performance against Norwich that would see them keep pace with the leading pack.

Aaron Ramsey returned to the starting lineup ahead of Joel Campbell and it was Wenger’s strongest XI. There were some concerns about Alexis Sanchez’s hamstring injury but the manager opted to start the Chilean. Barely minutes into the game, Koscielny suffered a hip injury and was replaced by Gabriel Paulista. The Frenchman has suffered some fitness problems this season and that could be from accumulated fatigue. Sanchez wasn’t playing like someone that had some fitness concerns as he tested the keeper on a couple of occasions but he was on hand to supply a neat pass to Mesut Ozil that dinked the ball over the onrushing John Ruddy. Ozil is in the form of his life, providing assist after assist for his teammates but now, he has two goals in his last two games.

The writing was on the wall for the home side to get back into the game when Robbie Brady was allowed to fire a shot that was parried by Cech but Norwich got the equalizer their play deserved when Brady teed up Lewis Grabban with a neat pass. Gabriel’s positioning was suspect, and the forward coolly slotted the ball past Cech. Norwich were almost two up when Andre Wisdom crossed the ball across the goalmouth but Wes Hoolahan’s shin ballooned the ball over the bar.

Early in the second half, there was an injury concern for Cazorla but he manged to play the entire game. Wenger confirmed afterwards that his midfielder had a dead leg. Arsenal’s injury woes were compounded when Sanchez aggravated his hamstring injury and he had to be replaced by Joel Campbell. Ramsey was having a stinker on his return to first team action and he was replaced by the Ox with 20 minutes or so to spare.

With the game delicately poised, any goal scored would have been enough to be the match winner and Arsenal had Petr Cech to thank as he made an outstanding save for what would have been an embarrassing Gabriel Paulista own goal. In the end, it looked like two precious points lost, rather than one point gained.

In three league games, the Gunners manged a meager two points, which also meant that Arsene Wenger’s side failed to register any win in November. The bigger concern from the game would be the notable absences of Sanchez and Koscielny that would be absolutely vital for the Gunners in their trip to Athens next week Tuesday. On the bright side, Ozil’s upturn in form has been a pleasurable sight all season long and I hope it continues.

On a grand scale of things, the Gunners are just two points off the top, so it’s not that bad but they need to return to winning ways, starting with struggling Sunderland that would be buoyed by their win over Stoke.


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Norwich Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Can Ozil continue his good form today?

Following the Gunners return to winning ways against Dinamo Zagreb in mid-week, Arsene Wenger’s side will want to register victories in the Premier League and with Leicester City and Manchester United sharing the spoils at the King Power Stadium, a win for the Gunners will put them on 29 points, leveling them on points with Leicester City and Man Utd, as well as going one point ahead of Manchester City. Things are really tight at the top which makes today’s clash an all-important one for the Gunners.

Arsenal has had two great chances to go to the top of the table when they hosted Tottenham and visited West Brom but both chances were blown. It would be shameful if they can’t latch onto today’s opportunity. Shockingly, the Gunners haven’t won any league fixture in November and its turning out to be a bogey month.

Arsenal have won 10 and lost just two of their last 13 top flight away games, while their opponents have won just one of their last eight at home. In this run, Norwich has amassed two draws and five defeats.

Arsenal Team News

The Gunners are adjusting to life without Francis Coquelin, as Mathieu Flamini was deployed in the holding role against Dinamo. Wenger had mentioned that Calum Chamber is ‘educated’ in the role and he gave the lad a 10-minute cameo on the role to test his capabilities there.

Alexis Sanchez is believed to be carrying a minor hamstring injury but he’s odds on to be in the starting lineup today. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, on the other hand, will probably be fit for a place on the bench. It’s going to be interesting to see who the manager plays on the right hand side with Wenger talking up Joel Campbell and more or less confirming that Ramsey may not play in the middle alongside Santi Cazorla.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (doubtful – hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf), Francis Coquelin (knee), Mikel Arteta (calf), Alexis Sanchez (doubtful – hamstring), Joel Campbell (doubtful – calf)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Norwich Team News

Alex Neil’s men have struggled in the league so far with just one win in their last six games. The other five have ended in defeat with their 6-2 demolition at Newcastle serving as their heaviest defeat in the campaign. However, he’s hoping for a positive performance from his team,

“If we can put Arsenal on the back foot, then hopefully that can lift the crowd and that can then spur the players on.

“We’re the home side and we need to make that we go and apply ourselves as well as we can to try and take something from the game.”

Alex Tettey remains a long-term absentee but the Canaries are set to welcome back club captain, Russell Martin, that missed the Chelsea defeat due to ‘personal reasons’. Kyle Lafferty had a groin injury but he played with the U-21s in his bid to regain fitness and he’s expected to at least make a place in the dugout.

Norwich Injury / Suspension News

Alexander Tettey (calf), Matt Jarvis (knee)

Norwich Predicted Lineup

Norwich City 4-5-1 football formation

Team Form


  • Last Five Games: W L D L W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 3 (Ozil 29′, Sanchez 33′, 69′) – Dinamo Zagreb 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez (9)


  • Last Five Games: L L L W L
  • Last Result: Chelsea 1 (Costa 64′)– Norwich 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Nathan Redmond (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 0 win.


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Thoughts on Alexis Sanchez Fitness Ahead of Norwich Clash

Alexis v Dinamo - 2nd goal

Can Arsenal defeat Norwich without Alexis?

We know a lot about Alexis Sanchez and his undying love for the beautiful game, whether it’s for Arsenal or in the national colors of Chile. This season he has featured in 18 matches at club level and as you would expect from such a vital asset to his national team, he has also played in all Chile’s international fixtures for Jorge Sampaoli’s side.

However, Sanchez has more or less picked up where he left off last season and he hasn’t had any form of rest whatsoever with the only game he sat out being Arsenal’s Capital One C up defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last month. This is a player that featured in 50+ games for Arsenal last season, as well as all Chile’s qualifying fixtures and the 2015 Copa America they hosted on home soil and went all the way to the final.

Yes, Alexis’ zeal to play football is second to none but there comes a time in a manager’s life when he needs to protect a player from himself. Arsenal has some pretty tough fixtures in December and Wenger will need all his players at his disposal but this weekend’s game against Norwich is one I would be hoping to see Alexis sit out. With Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning to action, the timing is good for Alexis to get a breather before facing Sunderland at the Emirates and the Gunners’ undoubted game of the season against Olympiakos in Athens.

I would like to see a lineup like this against Norwich…

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

If you were to insert Alexis Sanchez into this lineup, Joel Campbell is obviously the player that will be axed out but in the wake of such an impressive performance against Dinamo Zagreb, you will want to lad to build on it against a struggling Norwich side. Aaron Ramsey would be better suited in his central midfield role, and with the influential Santi Cazorla by his side, Arsenal can control the midfield from deep. With the red-hot Mesut Ozil ahead of them, he can supply the killer balls to Olivier Giroud that will be supported by Campbell and the Ox.

Wenger can also opt to bring Mathieu Flamini into the team, and Arsenal can still field a formation that will not include Alexis…

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

The Flam is dying to get a chance in the team as well, and it’s down to the manager to make his selection for the Norwich game but I firmly believe that the Gunners can get maximum points against the Canaries without the services of Alexis Sanchez. The player himself has been carrying a couple of knocks this season.

It’s high time he gets some rest.


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