The Gunners play host to Norwich City in an early relegation battle as both sides find themselves at the bottom of the table with no point after 3 league games of the season. The Gunners were recently reaped apart by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side in their last fixture before the international break, a game which ended in a humiliating 5-0 defeat to the Gunners, after being forced to play most of the match with 10-men due to the sending-off of Granite Xhaka early in the first half. The Gunners are still yet to find the net this season after 3 games, suffering 2-0 losses to both Brentford and Chelsea in their previous encounters.
Norwich City on their own part are also without a point after 3 games of the season, suffering a 2-1 defeat at home to Leicester City before the international break, amidst previous losses to both Liverpool and Manchester City, where they were also thrashed 5-0 by Guardiola’s men.
In a similar fashion, both teams thrashed their EFL counterparts 6-0 before the international break, which makes this fixture somewhat of a very interesting one.
The Gunners would be boosted by the return of Thomas Partey to training. The Ghanaian has missed all the games this season due to an injury picked up in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea. Hopefully, he brings back the morale to the team. They also have Ben White and Gabriel Maghales back to training after they both featured in a close friendly game against Brentford during the international break. Nicholas Pepe might likely slot in for Smith Rowe after the young lad was diagnosed with an illness. Martin Odegaard should likely start in this one while the enigmatic Lokonga should be a pairing with Thomas Partey.
Skipper, Aubameyang should lead the line alongside Bukayo Saka.
Possible Line-up: (4-2-3-1);
Leno, Maitland Niles, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Partey, Odegaard, Pepe, Saka, Aubameyang
Norwich City should be without Bali Mumba who dislocated his knee before the international break while Christos Tzolis’s calf issue may keep him out of this clash. New signing Dimitrios Giannoulis might remain on the bench while Brandon Williams, who was loaned from Manchester United should slot in at Left back, as Milot Rashica and Todd Cantwell continue to partner the ever-resilient Timu Pukki in the attack.
Possible Line-up: (4-3-3);
Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, Gilmour, McLean, Lees-Melou, Cantwell, Pukki, Rashica.
The two sides last met in the premier league back in July 2020 after the Covid lockdown, a game that ended 4-0 in favor of the Gunners. The reverse fixture back in December 2019 ended in a 2-2 draw. The last time Norwich City defeated the Gunners was in 2012, a game that ended 1-0 and the last time they beat the Gunners away was back in 1992 at Highbury, a game which ended in 4-2.
Despite their poor start to the season, the Gunners should be able to come out with all 3 points in this one. They need to win to ease the mounting pressure on Mikel Arteta, whose position is under fire after seeing the Gunners to their worst possible start in over 20 years.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Norwich City
Match Preview by Patrick Alexander