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Saturday October 19, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday October 19, 2013 MYT 10:27:28 AM
by hariati azizan
Arsenal should prove too strong for the visit of Norwich at the Emirates on Saturday. - AFP/ Glyn Kirk.
CAN you hear the sigh of relief heaving from the Emirates?
Arsenal MVP Mesut Ozil is expected to be fit to welcome Norwich to North London on Saturday after he limped off Germany’s final World Cup qualifying match in Sweden on Tuesday.
“We’ll see at Christmas,” nay-sayers and Spuds have been saying to keep over-excited (ok, cocky) Gooners down. At this point, no Gooner wants Christmas to come this early to Arsenal.
Ozil has been key in the Gunners’ brilliant streak before the international break, which saw them move to the top of the EPL, and he will be even more vital from now till Christmas when the fixtures build up.
The crunch time for Arsenal starts with Borussia Dortmund dropping in next week for the Champions League after tonight’s game against the Canaries, followed by Chelsea in the League Cup.
Then, it’s a home game in the Premier League against Liverpool, the return clash against Dortmund and a visit to champions Man United.
Not that it’s a real disaster if Ozil is crocked: fellow playmaker Santi Cazorla returns today since his ankle injury in Arsenal’s win over Tottenham in September while England forward Theo Walcott, who has been sidelined after a minor abdominal operation, could also come back into the fold.
But the tough run will be the litmus test of whether Arsenal can go the long haul.
German international Ozil’s likely recovery will definitely disappoint the Canary camp but as West Brom proved in their last match, the maestro can be stopped.
Even if Chris Hughton’s men are currently stuck in the bottom three, their performance against Chelsea in the previous match showed they could be dangerous.
With Arsenal likely to keep pace and possession, Norwich will need to pack the centre to stop them.
Norwich’s central force, especially Alex Tettey, will be key in trying to prevent the Gunners from playing.
A weakness that the Canaries can exploit is the wide areas; Arsenal have a tendency of going narrow and exposing the flanks, especially the left.
With Bacary Sagna likely to be missing again, Norwich’s left-back Martin Olsson can use his own rapid, over-lapping runs to have a go at the Gunners.
Still, this is Arsenal on the rise, and I do think the eighth time will be the charm in their race for silverware.
Hariati Azizan is predicting a 3-1 Arsenal win.
Tags / Keywords:
Arsenal, Norwich, The Emirates, football, Premier League
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