Saturday, January 21, 2017

Prediction: Arsenal vs Norwich

Verdict: Arsenal to win to nil

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: bet365

This wouldn’t normally be an appealing Premier League fixture, but with Arsenal desperate to hold on to a top 4 berth and Norwich fighting for their lives, the clash at the Emirates has the potential to determined the outcome of the current season for both sides, meaning a nervy affair could be on the cards.

Arsenal

No matter how this season ends, Arsenal will have no reason to celebrate, having yet again failed to live up to the expectations. The Gunners failed to win a major trophy, while dropping out of the Premier League title chase, with their top 4 berth now in danger as well. As the fans and media debate on the best possible successor to Arsene Wenger, the club chiefs do not seem to have plans to sack the long-serving manager, meaning he is almost certain to see out his contract that runs until June 2017. Meanwhile, his side face three important fixtures in an attempt to avoid missing out on Champions League qualification, while they also have a chance to secure an automatic berth if they pip Man City to the third position in the standings. The clash at Etihad Stadium on 8 May will probably decide who finishes in third place, but Arsenal first need to defeat relegation-threatened Norwich to keep fifth-placed Manchester United at a safe distance. The Gunners recorded their third draw in last four matches as they failed to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, but even though they are not exactly on top of their game at the moment, they should have enough quality to see off the Canaries.

Team News

Jack Wilshere looked sharp in his first ever appearance of the season and he is expected to play a part against Norwich as well.

Meanwhile, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have resumed full training, but they are unlikely to be risked this weekend.

Norwich

With four games to go, Norwich sit in the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference alone and they go neck and neck into the final straight. The Canaries improved their survival hopes with back to back wins over West Bromwich and Newcastle United, but then missed two very good opportunities in defeats to Crystal Palace and Sunderland, meaning they are in for a nervous season finale. Alex Neil’s side will be a bit rusty going into the Arsenal clash, not only due to the 3-0 loss to the relegation rivals, but also because they will not have played for two weeks. That could prove to be a problem now that things are not going well, while team’s disappointing away record is another major cause for concern. Norwich have won two of last thirteen away games, defeating Manchester United and West Bromwich, but lost the remaining 11, failing to score in eight of last eleven fixtures on the road. With that in mind, the Canaries don’t exactly have much to hope for ahead of the trip to North London.

Team News

Central defender Timm Klose is not yet ready to return from injury, while coach Alex Neil is expected to switch back to a three-man defence.

Martin Olsson, Nathan Redmond and Ivo Pinto are all pushing for starts, but Alexander Tettey misses out through injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Arsenal won six of last nine matches vs Norwich (D2 L1)
  • Both teams scored in each of their four meetings at the Emirates
  • Arsenal won just three of last seven home games
  • Norwich lost 11 of last 13 fixtures on the road (W2)
  • The Canaries failed to score in eight of last eleven away games

Conclusion

Arsenal have not been on fire of late, but they have enough quality and experience to defeat out-of-sorts Norwich and they will probably do so without conceding. The Canaries have been utterly disappointing on the road, usually returning home empty handed and without getting on the scoresheet, and we fully expect the trend to continue.

Verdict: Arsenal to win to nil

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: bet365

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