Arsenal vs. Norwich City: Match Preview and Team News

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IINovember 17, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  Robin van Persie of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at Emirates Stadium on November 5, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The international break is finally over and Arsenal will look to maintain their run of success against Norwich City this weekend.  This will be the first time the Gunners will be visiting Carrow Road since 2004 when they won 4-1.

Since their horrific start to the season, Arsenal have climbed up to seventh in the table and are level on points with Liverpool, who play Chelsea this weekend.  Arsene Wenger's side has stepped it up and are back in contention for a top four start. 

A lot of the credit must go to Robin Van Persie.  The Arsenal captain has looked unstoppable this season; he has scored eleven goals in the league and is getting praises from all over Europe. 

Norwich, meanwhile, are ninth in the league and have shocked many with their performances this season.  Even while going through a rough patch, Norwich manager Paul Lambert was pleased by his squad's latest display, as they seem to have started coming back from their slump.

However, this struggling Norwich defense will have their hands full when they go up against Van Persie.  Van Persie has scored 29 goals in his last 28 games and shows no signs off slowing down.

Norwich's chances of winning this game all come down to whether they can stop the Dutch striker.

Team News: Arsene Wenger will be very relieved as all of his players return back safely from the international break. But, there was some dissatisfying news as Kieran Gibbs had to undergo a hernia surgery.

Wenger will also have difficulty dealing with who is going to be his two starting center backs for this contest.  Surely, Vermaelen will get the nod, but Wenger will face a tough task whether to start Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker.

Norwich will still be without the services of Elliot Ward, Zak Whitbread, ex-Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala and James Vaughan. Other than that, everyone else is available for Paul Lambert.

Predicted Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos; Song, Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

Norwich City Predicted Starting XI: Ruddy, Barnett, Martin, Tierney, Naughton; Johnson, Fox, Hoolahan, Pilkington; Morison, Bennett

Prediction: Norwich City 1-3 Arsenal. Arsenal will be looking to win their fifth consecutive game in the league.  It will be a tough task for Arsene Wenger's side to come into Carrow Road and pull out a victory.  However, I do not see Arsenal losing any of their momentum, and they should squeeze out a victory here as they continue their march up the premiere league table.