After the much needed midweek win against Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal resume their Premier League campaign against Norwich City today. The Gunners were defeated by West Brom in our last outing, which caused us to drop from 2nd to 4th in the Premier League table. However, we have a string of relatively easy fixtures coming up and a victory today will set the tone for what should (hopefully) be a successful December for the team.
On the injury front, Aaron Ramsey is widely expected to return to the first XI today, while the rest of the injury list remains constant. The loss of Francis Coquelin will be more acutely felt in the Premier League, and the performance of his replacement tonight will give us a good idea of what we can expect going forward for the next couple of months. Here is our predicted lineup for today:
Petr Cech will start in goal.
Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal will retain their places on the flanks. Our full backs have been vital for our successes so far this season, and both Monreal and Bellerin contributed decisively in our victory against Zagreb.
In the centre of defence, the manager is likely to pair up Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, who he seems to prefer whenever both are available. However, Mertesacker has shown his vulnerability to route one football, and Norwich are certain to try that against us. Today’s game would be a great time to let Gabriel start in his stead.
Mathieu Flamini is the most likely contender for Coquelin’s vacant spot, and the manager certainly preferred him against Dinamo. However, Flamini can get carried away sometimes and ends up in the box too frequently for a proper defensive midfielder.
Santi Cazorla will be the other starter in the central midfield; the Spaniard made up for his howlers against West Brom with a commanding performance in the Champions League. Hopefully, he can pick up from where he left off midweek.
Mesut Ozil will start as No. 10. The German is our most in-form player and is involved in every goal that we score these days. He is likely to be among the assists against the Canaries as well.
Alexis Sanchez on the left. The Chilean found his shooting boots against Zagreb and picked up two goals for himself, despite being tired and on the verge of injury. That performance only goes to show how much we need him in the side and it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger will rest him in today’s game.
Olivier Giroud will start as striker. The Frenchman has had a series of solid performances over the past month, and the absence of Theo Walcott gives him time to cement his position in the side.
On the right, Aaron Ramsey should reclaim his starting spot. The Welshman adds some solidity to our midfield whenever he drifts inside, and it is all the more vital we have bodies in the centre now that Coquelin has been sidelined. Hopefully, Ramsey is fully recovered and fit to play.