The international break is usually met with audible groans. Even if the period just passed came at a perfect time for Arsenal it equally succeeded in making the past two weeks feel like an anxious eternity.
Despite a record-breaking start – of the bad ilk – everyone is just itching to watch Arsenal again. It’s been a long 14 days and even if it’s refreshing to not have one’s weekend ruined for a change, all we pine for is the next game.
When the disappointment and anger turns to apathy you know it’s time something significant happens. That stage may have been reached for some, but for others there is still scope for change. Norwich would be a decent enough place to start.
This is the chance to build towards a run of fixtures that will see Arsenal slowly climb up the table. A win on Saturday will not be rewarded with a pat on the back. It’s the absolute bare minimum.
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Arsenal vs Norwich: 4 things we’d like to see from Mikel Arteta’s side in Saturday’s Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium
Likewise, if Arsenal draw or lose then Mikel Arteta’s job goes one step closer to becoming untenable. For many, if not most, it already is.
Thus from that point of view, Arteta can’t win.
But Arsenal can. And they need to show a lot more bottle, fight and ultimately quality if they are to come away from this one with smiles on their faces.
The last three Premier League fixtures have been diabolical and if traits seen dotted throughout those performances are on show against the Canaries then the home supporters might as well cancel their trains into north London. Save themselves the effort.
Here are 4 things we’d like to see against Norwich.
1. A Fast-Paced Start From Arteta’s Men
Arsenal play better when they’re on the front foot. They’re not a recovery team.
This is gloriously exemplified by one of the more damning statistics to have emerged throughout Arteta’s tenure: in the 18 matches Arsenal have been trailing at half-time, they’ve won none of them (D3 L15), while last season Arsenal were leading at half-time in 11 league matches, going on to win all of them.
In a nutshell, it helps scoring the first goal.
Rightly called out for having a weak underbelly or being so overly pragmatic with the style and desire to score the perfect goal, the Gunners are embarrassingly futile when it comes to clawing their way back into matches.
So don’t let it happen. And not just because it’s statistically an anomaly to recover from it, but also to create a buzz; get the blood pumping and the decibels rising around the stadium.
Coming out of the traps and setting a marker early doors, whether that’s a quick ball into a forward’s feet and a direct shot or a crunching tackle (to win possession, of course), there has to be an early tripwire to set the tone for what is hoped to be a comfortable afternoon.
Despite it being the players on the pitch, it’s the manager who has to get them fired up for this one.