How Arsenal Will Line Up Against Norwich
With the international break over, Arsenal return to Premier League action Saturday looking to cement their position at the top of the league with victory over Norwich.
After dropping points against West Bromwich Albion in their last outing before the break for international fixtures, three points at home to a side that occupies a position in the relegation zone of the table looks a formality.
Carry on reading to find out how Arsenal could line up against their opponents this weekend, as well as who are the key threats of the Canaries.
Norwich's Key Men and Form
Even though they occupy a spot in the relegation zone, Norwich are a side filled with talent and star potential. They will carry a threat this weekend—make no mistake about it.
It is in attack where they carry a big threat. Norwich have spent big this summer on the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, and although they only have one goal between them in the Premier League campaign, things will surely click for them at some point.
Norwich's midfield also packs a punch. Leroy Fer was another big signing from Twente in the summer and big things are expected of the youngster, who had been courted by some of Europe's biggest clubs. Another new signing who has impressed is Nathan Redmond, who will threaten the Gunners' full-backs with his blistering pace.
Although they sit 18th in the table, the Canaries' away form ranks slightly better than their actual position. They have won one game and lost two on their travels, with that victory coming in their last away outing against Stoke City.
One suggestion that Norwich may be in a false position this season is that they have played more games against top-half teams than anyone else. Six of their seven games have come against teams in the top 10.
All stats according to Football365.
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It's been a busy week regarding Arsenal team news.
The big story is Mesut Ozil, with Arsenal's record signing having to limp off whilst representing Germany on Tuesday night. Thankfully, it appears as if the knee injury is not as bad as first feared, but he may not be risked with some big fixtures coming up.
Thankfully, the doubts over Ozil have been combated with a duo of key attacking players that look set to return this weekend.
Bacary Sagna, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are amongst the first-team members who will not be back this weekend.
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GK: Wojciech Szczesny
Arsenal's No. 1 is expected to be fit to take his place between the sticks despite a nasty collision with England's Danny Welbeck whilst representing Poland on Tuesday night.
Szczesny looked to be in some discomfort after the collision, sparking fears he could have missed this weekend's clash against Norwich. Those fears were quickly dismissed after the game though, and Szczesny went on to play the full 90 minutes of the 2-0 defeat that secured England's qualification to the World Cup next year.
Question marks hung over the future of Szczesny at the start of the season, and he will be hoping to keep only his second clean sheet of the league campaign on Saturday. His only other shutout came during the 1-0 victory over rivals Tottenham Hotspur on September 1.
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FB: Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs
With Bacary Sagna injured against Napoli in the last round of Champions League games, Carl Jenkinson stepped in at right-back for the clash against West Brom.
Expect that trend to continue against Norwich at the weekend, with Sagna highly unlikely to be risked ahead of such a crucial European clash against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
At left-back, Kieran Gibbs will no doubt continue in the role he has performed excellently in so far. It seems Nacho Monreal will have to wait for a chance.
CB: Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal's highly reliable pair of defensive stalwarts will continue in their roles this weekend. Mertesacker and Koscielny have formed an incredibly solid partnership at the back despite last season, and Wenger will have no real reason to break them up ahead of a huge run of games over the next month.
Despite the likes of Thomas Vermaelen providing healthy competition from the bench, expect to see no changes from Arsenal's back four against West Brom before the international break.
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CM: Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta
With a vast range of midfield options available to him this weekend, Wenger is spoilt for choice when it comes to picking an attacking trio to sit behind the lone striker.
Further back in the midfield, though, his options are relatively straightforward.
Mathieu Flamini has been lauded as a brilliant signing by Wenger since bringing the Frenchman back to the Emirates Stadium, and he has provided the midfield with a real steel this season.
Alongside him, Mikel Arteta is gradually getting back to full fitness and put in a solid performance against West Brom.
With Flamini and Arteta in the middle of the park, it gives a freedom for the rest of the midfield to go forward and attack with flair.
AM: Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere
What, no Mesut Ozil? Bear with me. With such a huge game against European powerhouses Dortmund coming up, this may be the opportunity for Ozil to sit one out.
He's been under a huge amount of pressure to make things happen for the Gunners—a job he has done very well. However, he picked up a knock whilst playing with Germany last Tuesday, and there may be a chance Wenger could not risk his key man.
That could spring up the opportunity for a return for Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in the win over Tottenham in September and could feature this weekend.
Theo Walcott will be knocking on the door too, but the two remaining midfield spots will go to Ramsey and Wilshere. The decision to play Ramsey is a simple one. He comes in fresh off the back of another goal, this time for Wales against Belgium on Tuesday night.
Expect Wilshere to take the final role in midfield, after his goal for Arsenal last time out rescued a point against West Brom.
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ST: Olivier Giroud
Naturally, Olivier Giroud will spearhead Arsenal's attack on Norwich on Saturday afternoon.
He has had an excellent week at international level, scoring two for France in their 6-0 demolition of Australia on Friday. He then backed that up with a good performance during Les Bleus' 3-0 victory over Finland that secured them a play-off place in World Cup qualifying.
With Lukas Podolski still on the sidelines, there is really only the returning Walcott that could push Giroud for a starting spot at this moment. Even Nicklas Bendtner is probably too far out of contention to get close to the excellent Giroud.
With four goals in seven games this EPL season, Giroud is indeed a man in form.