Venue: Carrow Road
Date: Nov 29 (Sunday)
I begin this weeks post by stating that from now till Coquelin or some other defensive midfielder is playing on the starting eleven, I will be only picking Arsenal to tie or lose any games they are apart of. My reasoning for this will be explained in the first thing you need to watch for.
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As for this weekend’s game against Norwich, I can’t see Norwich seriously threatening any defense yet the same applies for Arsenal’s attack against a strict, stingy Norwich defense. Norwich is most likely going to sit back and look for opportunities to hit Arsenal on the counter.
Prediction: Norwich 1-1 Arsenal
1) Ramsey is back but he doesn’t help the back
Let me first state that I am super excited that Ramsey is back and that he might play in the middle of the pitch, an area he belongs in. Let me also state that although Ramsey will be back on the pitch, he will do nothing to fill Coquelin’s ability to cover the back line.
Ramsey is an amazing attacking, box to box type of player. His running ability from the back to the opponents box is something that aids Arsenal’s pretty style of football. However, in nine appearances, Squawka.com shows that Ramsey has only averaged two defensive plays per game, while only winning roughly 45% of duels. As a quick comparison, Coquelin averages four defensive plays a game while winning over 60% of his duels. It may be unfair to compare the two players statistics, as they play vastly different positions, but I am sure we all remember what happened before Coquelin’s emergence about a year ago.
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Ramsey is a great player and deserves to be on the pitch, but he is not disciplined enough to help break up plays just in front of the front four.
2) Ozil has a Master Key
It will be foolish of me to bet against Arsenal scoring in this game. Yes Norwich plays deep and presses the ball quite effectively. However, Ozil has taken five steps forward, while taking none back so far this year. Ozil is becoming more aggressive attacking opponents and that is the best thing that could happen to the German play maker.
Ozil is approaching a level of play where he has a chance of creating Bergkamp like plays every time he touches the ball. With that in mind, I just think it is foolish to bet against Arsenal’s skill and precision.
3) Wenger will Surprise us if not Shock us
I’m calling it now, Wenger will start Ramsey on the right hand side, while starting Flamini in front of a back four that has Mr. Per. We all expect Ramsey to start, most likely in the middle, but Wenger will not do that. We all expect Campbell to start on the right as he has improved every game he has played so far, but Wenger will not do that. We expect Paulista to start due to Coquelin’s absence and limited athleticism in the midfield, but Wenger will not do that either.
Wenger is one of the greatest coaches in the world, I don’t think that is a topic we need to discuss. But Wenger’s reluctance to change, his reluctance to switch things up is definitely one of his few downfalls. The fact that despite the multitude of injures Wenger still uses the same tactics is the reason why Arsenal doesn’t cope well with injuries. It is one of the reasons why one or two injuries can significantly hurt Arsenal’s ability to continue performing at a high level.