I had typed out a nice little preview for Norwich City vs. Arsenal, only—for some unforeseen act of God (and an involuntary tap on the “back” button)—to see it snatched away. So here I go again, using trusty old Microsoft Word.
It is natural and normal for every fan of club football to truly abhor the periodic international breaks that are thrust upon us. They break a team’s momentum, take players away and send them back maimed and crippled, disrupt the fans’ normal routines, leave our weekends wide open with nothing to do and put a complete damper on all forms of conversation on Fridays and Mondays (and Tuesdays, for those of us who have a lot to say).
And as a diehard fan of a club who had six wins and a draw in the seven games heading into the aforementioned international break, I can quite justifiably be miffed at this latest diversion for all of those reasons—and more.
But I’m not. Given that the last two international windows came as divine intervention after 2-8 at Old Trafford and 1-2 at White Hart Lane, I’ll allow FIFA this one in return, and let them continue unhindered with their splendid initiatives to counter racism.
And while we’re on the subject of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, you ARE a complete moron!!
Anyway, apologies for that brief distraction, but the truth must be told, mustn’t it?
Back to the business on hand, now. Arsenal travel to Carrow Road in East Anglia to face newly-promoted Norwich City. The Canaries have enjoyed a somewhat patchy return to the top flight, with three wins, four draws and four losses in their 11 games thus far, but still find themselves at ninth place in the league table—just two spots and six points below the resurgent Gunners.
In the Scotsman Paul Lambert, Norwich have an astute tactician who has moulded his team into a well-organized and highly-spirited bunch.
Results may not have gone their way this season, but this is a team that has drawn at Anfield and has been on level terms with the resident opposition at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge after 68 and 82 minutes, respectively.
This is also a team that recently scored twice in the last nine minutes against Blackburn to force a 3-3 draw.
No pushovers, by any stretch of the imagination.
Arsenal, as briefly alluded to earlier, are on a sequence of impressive results. Nine wins in the last eleven games is great going by any standards, and as Arsene Wenger’s deadline-day signings continue to settle in, the team will get stronger, both defensively and as an attacking unit.
Having summarily dispatched Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge (remember, the game when John Terry fell flat on his face?), Arsenal find themselves in the midst of a spell of somewhat easier games. They started well, overwhelming West Brom 3-0 at the Emirates.
As they head to East Anglia, the Gunners need to come together, produce yet another strong performance and take care of business.
Will they have what it takes? Read on for my prediction of the result and much much more.