Pre-Match Report

Norwich City v Arsenal - Preview

13/14: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich City - Mesut Ozil

“We go there to try to win the game. We want to finish on a high, we want to get 79 points and make it as tight as possible at the top.

“If you get to that level it shows you're ready to fight for the title again. From that basis we want to build on for next season and get over 80.

“Also, in preparing for the FA Cup final, it's important to feel that you play well in the game before.”

There is more than pride at stake for Arsenal on Sunday at Norwich.

Barring a mathematical miracle the home side are down and the visitors will finish fourth.

Yet for Arsène Wenger the 80-point milestone is hugely significant. Therefore achieving one point less would offer significant solace given the competitiveness of the leading quartet this season.

Team News

Arsenal: Gibbs (doubt – hamstring), Wilshere (doubt – foot), Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), Walcott (knee), Gnabry (knee)

Norwich City: Fox (knee), Pilkington (hip), Yobo (calf)

“If you look at the teams who are out of the top four you realise how difficult it is to be in there,” he said. “The [quality] has been outstanding. You have clubs like Man United, Tottenham and Everton who have very good squads.

“But this season in particular you could see that the offensiveness was very impressive. To get close to 100 goals for Liverpool and over 100 goals for Man City is outstanding. That shows, absolutely, the quality in the top four at the moment.”

Of course, those two sides are still battling it out for the title - albeit Manuel Pellegrini’s men have their fate firmly in their own hands. They only need a draw at home to West Ham United. Liverpool must win and hope.

“It will be an exciting last day but nobody is today convinced that it will be exciting for 90 minutes,” said Wenger. “The suspense will certainly go early. You wouldn't expect Man City to lose the game because even a draw is good enough for them. I think they made the main step at Everton a few weeks ago.”

While the ambitions were always much higher than fourth, it is satisfying for Arsenal to have secured their place in the top four without the last-day tension of the previous two seasons. With the FA Cup final looming and the fate of Norwich all but assured that does leave Wenger's team selection at Carrow Road open to speculation - especially as Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs all may be available again having returned from injury.

Norwich lost form at just the wrong time. In their last six games they have taken one point; meanwhile Sunderland soared above them.

“That's linked with a lack of confidence,” said Wenger. “You look at the top, it's very tight; you look at the bottom, it's very tight. They could go down on goal difference.

"If you look at the teams who are out of the top four you realise how difficult it is to be in there"

“When you know the kind of effort and energy involved, it's absolutely terrible to fight the whole season and go down on goal difference.

“But they have a good squad, they have these parachute payments that allow you to at least live comfortably in The Championship so they have the chance to come up.

“I like Norwich because they always play good football and play with a good spirit. They are a team who deserves to be in the Premier League.”

Arsenal, meanwhile, fully merit their top-four spot having led the table for more than four months. There is a sense it could have been more of course but victory on Sunday will mean they finish a maximum of seven points off the champions, the closest margin in six seasons.

A fine finale will be useful but now, having once again having achieved their “minimum target”, the real success of Arsenal’s season rests not on Sunday but next Saturday.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info