Norwich City: How the Canaries Will Line Up Against Arsenal

Andy Ward@@Wardy1710Contributor IIOctober 16, 2013

Norwich City: How the Canaries Will Line Up Against Arsenal

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    Norwich City return to Premier League action on Saturday and the Canaries couldn't have asked for a tougher fixture with a trip to the league-leaders Arsenal looming on the horizon.

    With Chris Hughton's men currently occupying a place in the bottom three, few would expect Norwich to be able to upset the odds.

    However, they will have been buoyed by a positive performance against Chelsea, despite finishing on the losing side. 

    Team selection will of course be crucial in masterminding just how Norwich can defy the doubters, and here is the starting eleven that I expect Chris Hughton to pick for the clash at the Emirates Stadium. 

GK: John Ruddy

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    Despite an uncharacteristically shaky performance against Chelsea last time out, it would come as a major shock if John Ruddy wasn't once again trusted to be the man tasked with keeping out Arsenal.

    With the Gunners in irresistible goal-scoring form, Ruddy can expect a busy afternoon at the Emirates and the 26-year-old will undoubtedly be tested by Olivier Giroud and company.

    With qualification to next summer's World Cup now assured for England, there will be an all-mighty scrap for places on the plane to Brazil and big performances in games of this ilk will do Ruddy's chances no harm at all. 

RB: Russell Martin

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    Fresh from a terrific display at centre-back for Scotland on Tuesday, Russell Martin will probably be asked to shift across to right-back for his club who will expect a similarly committed performance.  

    With Arsenal likely to enjoy large spells of possession, Martin will need to remain resolute in defence but also positive in attack, because the wide areas could be a good avenue for the Canaries to explore.

    Jack Wilshere was the man deployed on the Gunners left-hand side in their recent 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Although Wilshere is clearly a very gifted player, you would suspect that Martin would be pleased to not have a direct winger against him.

CB: Michael Turner

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    Centre-back Michael Turner has enjoyed a solid start to this term and should keep his place in the heart of the back four on Saturday.

    Turner's opening goal in last season's heartbreaking 3-1 defeat at the Emirates had the Canaries momentarily dreaming of an upset, and the former Sunderland man could be a danger from set pieces on this occasion too.

    However, Turner will know that the majority of his work is likely to come in his own defensive third and both he and Sebastien Bassong will need to concentrate for the full 90 minutes.

CB: Sebastien Bassong

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    By his own high standards, Sebastien Bassong has failed to really hit top form so far this season, but that will need to change very quickly against Arsenal's formidable attacking talent.

    The Canaries skipper is a man-mountain at his best, and Norwich will need him to stand tall once again if they are to get anything from this fixture.

    Ex-Tottenham stalwart Bassong will be responsible for marshalling the in-form Olivier Giroud. Whoever comes out on top in that individual dual could go a long way to deciding the outcome of the game.  

LB: Martin Olsson

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    It's no coincidence that Norwich City have looked far more of attacking force since the inclusion of Martin Olsson at left-back, with the Swedish International offering a constant over-lapping option that Javier Garrido regularly fails to provide.

    25-year-old Olsson has been a breath of fresh air and will need to be at it again on Saturday in order to push the Canaries higher up the pitch.

    With Bacary Sagna likely to be missing again for the hosts, Norwich will see the relatively inexperienced Carl Jenkinson as a potential area of weakness, and Olsson will be pivotal in trying to keep the young full-back occupied. 

RM: Robert Snodgrass

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    It's been a dream few days for Canaries winger Robert Snodgrass, with the 26-year-old following up the the birth of his new baby daughter with the opening goal in Scotland's superb midweek win over Croatia. 

    As a result, Snodgrass should be flowing with confidence for the visit to Arsenal and his set-piece delivery is likely to be Norwich's most potent attacking weapon. 

    After a poor start to the campaign, including a costly penalty miss against Aston Villa, the former Leeds United man appears to getting back to his best and is almost certain to retain his place in Chris Hughton's line-up for Saturday's clash.

CM: Alex Tettey

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    Few Norwich City fans could deny that the potential injury absence of the brilliant Mesut Özil for Saturday's clash would have been a major boost, but with the German superstar now looking set to be passed fit, Alex Tettey is likely to be a key figure in trying to prevent the maestro from playing. 

    The central trio of Tettey, Leroy Fer and the more advanced Jonny Howson have struck a nice balance in the heart of the Canaries midfield and Tettey's defensive willingness has allowed his more gifted team-mates the opportunity to thrive.

    The Norwegian will again be asked to put in another typically unselfish display against Arsenal, and if he is able to grab any sort of control in the middle of the park, Chris Hughton's men will have a far better chance of getting a positive result. 

CM: Leroy Fer

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    Leroy Fer will quite rightly be one of the first names on Chris Hughton's team sheet for Saturday, and the way in which the 23-year-old has adjusted to new surroundings completely justifies that stance.

    The powerful midfielder has all the attributes to become a really top player, and the Canaries have found a gem after prizing him away from FC Twente

    Fer will once again be a key man in both defence and attack against Arsenal's wealth of options in midfield, and once again, you would expect him to come through the challenge with flying colours. 

LM: Nathan Redmond

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    With fellow winger Anthony Pilkington a doubt for the showdown with Arsenal courtesy of an injury picked up whilst on international duty, Nathan Redmond would be the obvious man to deputise on the left flank.

    Despite playing in only his first season at Premier League level, the exciting Redmond has been one of the Canaries stand-out performers so far and has added genuine pace to Norwich's attacking armoury. 

    If the 19-year-old can be provided with enough of the ball, Redmond has the trickery to make it a very tough afternoon for whoever Arsene Wenger chooses to play at right back.

    However, if Pilkington's injury turns out to not be as bad as first feared, it would be very harsh to leave him out after his goal-scoring display against Chelsea. 

CAM: Jonny Howson

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    Playing in his favoured position just off the striker, Jonny Howson has emerged as a key man for Norwich City. His ability to create will be critical to how effective Norwich are as an attacking force in North London.

    Howson was superb in City's last encounter with Chelsea and the 25-year-old showed against Stoke City just how dangerous he can be when striking from range. 

    If Howson can continue his rich vein of form then Norwich do have the capabilities to threaten Arsenal, but if he is unable to get a foothold in the game then both he and Chris Hughton's choice of lone striker could be set for a frustrating encounter. 

ST: Ricky Van Wolfswinkel

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    Ricky van Wolfswinkel has found the transition to English football a tough nut to crack since joining from Sporting Lisbon.

    The pressure of a club record price tag, a more physical style of play and a lack of service could have all contributed to the Dutchman's disappointing start to life at Carrow Road, but there have been signs in recent weeks that Van Wolfswinkel is beginning to adjust.

    Having not scored since the opening day of the season, a goal would clearly do wonders for the 24-year-old's confidence and you would back him to kick on from then on.

    Despite this, goalscoring chances are once again likely to come at a premium for Van Wolfswinkel at the Emirates, and if I was manager, I would be tempted to give Gary Hooper a start instead.

    However, I am not Norwich City manager, and I would expect Chris Hughton to keep faith with a striker that cost a reported £8.5 million to lure to Norfolk in the summer.

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