Norwich City vs. Arsenal
English Premier League
Saturday, October 20th, 12:30 PM EDT
Carrow Road, Norwich, England
Form: Norwich: DDDLLL | Arsenal DWWDLW
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
We've done it, folks. We've survived yet another Interlull. Arsenal managed to only lose Theo Walcott to a back-alley judo fight for a couple weeks and it turned out Laurent Koscielny's knee ligaments weren't mangled into finely-shredded slices. If you're reading this, congratulations on making it through yourself. While allowing a bit of time to dive into my personal life, I somehow made it through the Interlull as well. About three hours prior to the West Ham-Arsenal kickoff, my wife went into labor with our second child. Thankfully, the baby was considerate enough to wait until well past the end of the match to make his entrance into this crazy little world we live in. Hence, that's been a big part of the reason why I've been nearly absent from the site for the past couple weeks. There have been times where it felt like the last couple weeks have flown by, like he was born just a day or two ago. Then I remember all the dark and forbidding black holes and empty spaces in my life that's comprised my daily routine without Arsenal playing in any meaningful competition and it suddenly feels like a lifetime ago that he was born. The evil powers of the Interlull. Anyway, I'm glad to be back to my normal routine, or as close to my normal routine, and I can't wait until tomorrow when my life completely gets back to where it once was.
OK, so moving on. Quite simply, this is a match that Arsenal must take three points from. Norwich come into tomorrow's encounter sitting 19th in the table, tied for the worst overall goals scored in the EPL (5), 2nd worst goals allowed in the EPL (17) and the worst goal differential in the league (-12). Last season's goal-scoring machine brute Grant Holt has seemingly cooled off from last year's form, but still accounts for 40% of their goal tally this season. To say that he's the straw that stirs their attacking drink would be an understatement. So, injuries aside, there shouldn't be any reason why Arsenal struggle to gain all three points; the fixture list give them one more winnable match (home versus Queens Park Rangers) before we go back up to Manchester to say "Hello" to our old friend Robin van Persie in two weeks.
As Thomas noted earlier, the surprise squad announcement made today was the inclusion of Jack Wilshere. Whether he starts is another question, but that he's travelling with the first team for a league match is great news for everyone involved. Here's hoping for nothing but prolonged fitness and success for a player that showed so much promise two seasons ago. A possible lineup for tomorrow could look something like this:
Beer of the Week: Sorry, everyone, but I haven't had time to even drink a beer the last couple weeks. I was going to find Molson Ice so I can make Learn2Leaf proud by drinking Canada's favorite elixir, but then I realized I like my taste buds and prefer to not drinking a beer that makes the consumer feel like they're drinking a wildfire. Also, all the liquor stores around me are fairly intelligent and thus don't carry such swill. Sorry, L2L. In place of a beer, I give you a database where you can search for all the medal winners at last week's Great American Beer Festival that was held in Denver, CO. One day, I will make it here to this event, but I should probably start to figure out how to grow a bitchin' beard first.
Prediction: Arsenal 5, Norwich 0