The objective for today is simple. Win our home match and pick up our 5th consecutive wins in all competitions. 9 spots separates us from our opponent for today, in Norwich. However, that doesn’t make the task any easier and one look at the Premier League table will explain why that is so.
Norwich sit precariously only 4 points away from the team in 18th place in the table. Which means that they are not safe from relegation yet and any team fighting for their survival will try just that little bit harder. Just like a human instinct, the will to survive kicks in.
We remember how well Chris Hughton set his team up at Carrow Road when they beat us 1-0 in the reverse fixture, earlier in the season. Yes, we were exceptionally poor in that game but Norwich had a plan to stifle us and it worked. For today, we’ll have to find a way around that because one suspects the same tactics will be employed and he will have almost the full complement of his squad to achieve this.
For Hughton’s men, they will set up to be tight and not allow us time on the ball to pick our passes. They might sit deep and probably might not have any intention to win. They would have looked at their remaining fixtures and sees this match as one where a point is enough as 3 points can be gained elsewhere when they face Reading, Stoke, Aston Villa and WBA.
The big plus for our side are the return of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. Yet, I find this situation remarkably similar to the one involving Wojciech Szczesny and Thomas Vermaelen. The players who have come in, have done a tremendous job for us. Tremendous in the sense that they have kept the winning run going and as such does not deserve to be drop just because the star players have returned.
In my opinion, except for the forced change of Vermaelen for Per Mertesacker, the same starting line-up that played WBA should be retained. If they are not forced off by new injuries themselves. Tomas Rosicky is facing that risk with a hamstring concern. Something about unchanged starting line-ups that spells consistency. After all, managers are less likely to tinker with a working unit.
Should that happen, it will mean that we will have a rather strong bench that we can call upon if required. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski to add to the returning duo and we have some serious fire power sitting on the bench. That gives a lot of confidence to the fans to see as well as providing the right pressure on the players who start, to deliver or risk being taken off.
It’s a shame Sp*rs lost to Basel as I wanted to see them advance to the semifinal and losing there. Which would give them more matches to think about. They have been rattled with the loss of Bale and we can add to that misery today. It would create even more pressure for them to see us above them in the league table. Something which can be done if we beat Norwich.
So, let’s set out and do just that. Up The Arsenal!