Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side take on Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
Norwich City may be only two places above the relegation zone and won just one of their last eight games, but recent narrow one-goal defeats away to Manchester City and Chelsea suggest they make it tough for the big boys.
Alex Neil has created a solid, structured side with good organisation and an ability to counter quickly down the flanks. Arsenal should enjoy the majority of possession this weekend, but will have to be wary of direct Norwich attacks.
"The Gunners must also defend dead-ball situations well"
John Ruddy is protected by a settled back four boasting Ryan Bennett and Sebastian Bassong in the centre - the latter is particularly commanding in the air. Russell Martin, Andre Wisdom and Steven Whitaker have all played on the right with Martin Olsson at left-back - they tuck in, and minimise the space on the outside of the centre backs, showing the opposition wide.
In midfield, Neil has played a number of different systems and combinations, but is most likely to play a 4-4-1-1. The tough-tackling Alex Tettey is a slight injury doubt but should be fit to anchor the midfield, with Jonny Howson set to play more of a box-to-box role, and pop up on the edge of the box unnoticed. He performed excellently in a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates two years ago, scoring a fine goal from the edge of the area.
Out wide, Robbie Brady offers plenty of stamina and decent crosses, but the greater threat comes from right-sided Nathan Redmond, who has managed four goals this season despite starting just eight league games. That’s a particularly helpful return considering neither of the options for the lone striker role, Cameron Jerome or Dieumerci Mbokani, are prolific, although both hold up the ball effectively.
Norwich’s key man, though, will be central playmaker Wes Hoolahan. Only Mesut Ozil and Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez have provided more Premier League assists this season, and in the absence of the injured Francis Coquelin, Arsenal will have to ensure they don’t leave space between the lines.
The Gunners must also defend dead-ball situations well - only Tottenham have managed more set-piece goals than Norwich this season.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.