Arsenal travel to Carrow Road this weekend to take on Chris Hughton’s Norwich side. The game kicks off at 5:30pm in the UK and will be broadcast on ESPN.
The big news going into this one has been confirmed by Jack Wilshere’s agent on Twitter, stating that he is in the squad for tomorrow’s game. When a player has been out for 17 months, the fact he is in a matchday squad is promising. I would imagine Wilshere will be on the bench and would only really come on if the game was comfortable. Arsene Wenger has said that Reading away in the Capital One Cup is a realistic target for Wilshere’s full return and that he will be cautious with him. The Frenchman also said that he needs one more full game in the reserves before his return.
Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny both picked up injuries whilst away on international duty and they will miss Saturday’s match. A partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker is expected this weekend. Of course last season this was a place where a Mertesacker error lead to Norwich scoring. The German appears to be more solid this season and will be boosted by scoring for Germany in midweek too. Kieran Gibbs has not recovered from the injury he suffered against West Ham, so Andre Santos is expected to start for Arsenal.
Vito Mannone is expected to continue in goal with Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny still out injured. Fabianski suffered a further setback in training and could be out for at least three months. As for Szczesny, he should be back in two weeks. Both Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby remain sidelined with their injuries.
Hosts Norwich are hoping that Robert Snodgrass can overcome an ankle injury that he suffered whilst playing for Scotland. Fellow Scot Steven Whittaker also has an ankle injury, which he isn’t ready to return from yet.
Arsenal haven’t lost at Carrow Road since Boxing Day in 1984. Norwich haven’t beaten Arsenal since a 4-2 win at Highbury on the first day of the Premier League in August 1992.
Norwich have yet to win the the Premier League this season, with only three points to their name after draws against QPR, Tottenham and West Ham. They have had success in the League Cup, beating both Scunthorpe and Doncaster at home.
Chris Hughton’s last win as a Premier League manager came back in November 2010, when he was manager of Newcastle. It was at the Emirates against Arsenal as Andy Carroll headed in to give Hughton’s side a 1-0 win. Hughton has yet to record a league win as Norwich manager.