Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side face Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday so, to find out more, we also asked local journalist David Cuffley for his analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Norwich and their manager Paul Lambert have had a wonderful season back in the Premier League but of all the teams in the top flight they are the hardest to analyse because Lambert has consistently changed both the personnel and team shape from game to game.

"Against Arsenal earlier in the season they were outplayed in midfield, failed to cope with Arsenal’s pace in wide areas and didn’t have enough possession to pose much of a threat. They were also comprehensively beaten at home by Manchester City and Liverpool but I did see them beat Bolton at home when their speed of passing, tactical understanding and work rate impressed.

"Defensively there have been a lot of changes which reduced their understanding and consistency but, in John Ruddy, Norwich have an excellent goalkeeper, whether he is shot-stopping or coming for crosses.

"Norwich might be on their worst run of the season but Arsenal must be aware that they have demonstrated a great deal of hunger, determination and skill this year and fully deserve the plaudits they have received."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"The problem with Paul Lambert is that it is difficult to tell what his formation might be, it seems to change all the time. This season he has used a diamond, 4-4-2, five in midfield which they tried against Liverpool last week and sometimes 4-4-1-1. It is very difficult to gauge from one game to the next.

"When they went to Tottenham on Easter Monday they went with a more traditional 4-4-2 but whether that is a clue or not I'm not sure. The manager changes his personnel and formation on a match-to-match basis.

"It has worked well for Lambert this season though. It has certainly kept teams guessing I think and he has managed to ease players in and out to give them a break from time to time. It has all gone fairly well to be honest until the last three games where they have had a bit of a rough time.

"Grant Holt is their top goalscorer with 15 in all competitions and 13 of those have come in the Premier League. For a player who was playing in the League Two play-off final for Shrewsbury three seasons ago, it has been quite a dramatic rise. He has certainly had a very good season and has been Norwich's Player of the Year for the last two years.

"Elsewhere, Anthony Pilkington has come back into the side after an injury spell and has looked quite lively playing wide left. He scored in the win at Tottenham and is playing quite well at the moment.

"Norwich have generally used their wide players to quite good effect this season. Elliott Bennett is playing on the right-hand side at the moment and Pilkington tends to play on the left although they have other players who can play there. Andrew Surman has also played in that role, so Lambert has quite a few options.

"I think Norwich will go out to attack because, if you look at their defensive record in the last few games, it has not been too clever. I don't think it is their strength to sit back and put people across their own penalty area. Lambert always says he is going out to win every game and not to draw.

"I would love to see them repeat what they did at Spurs but on current form I will have to say 3-1 to Arsenal for this one." 

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    3 May 2012