After three Premier League matches, Arsenal sit 20th in the table. Today, they play host to Norwich City who sit 19th. Today’s match at the Emirates seems like the one where the Gunners’ worst start in 67 years begins to turn around. To manage that, Arsenal would need to score a goal. Call me bold, but I think they’ll find the back of the net today. Three points are a must, and I think the Gunners will manage them.
Norwich have also had a tough start to the season. They’ve lost 3-0 to Liverpool, 5-0 to Manchester City, and 2-1 to Leicester City. They are in 19th to Arsenal’s 20th by virtue of having actually scored a goal. But I think goals may be hard for the Canaries to come by this season — their big move this summer was selling Emi Buendia to Aston Villa. They spent the money to (hopefully, for them) upgrade several spots on the roster, but they haven’t replaced his star-power or offensive contribution. I’m leery of picking quantity over quality when replacing a top player.
For Arsenal, the storyline is simple. They’ve had atrocious luck to start the season between COVID, injuries, and two really tough fixtures against the two clubs most likely to fight for the Premier League title this year in Chelsea and Manchester City. The international break couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s given Mikel Arteta’s men a chance to get healthy, to work on ironing out the kinks, and integrating new players into the side.
Speaking of new players, Takehiro Tomiyasu’s work visa was a bit slow in arriving, which limited him to just two training sessions with his new teammates. The permit has come through and he’s available for selection today, but I’m not sure whether Arteta will pick him for the starting lineup.
Mohamed Elneny is the only player definitively out for the Gunners. He strained his hamstring on international duty and will miss a couple of weeks. Emile Smith Rowe left the England U21’s with non-COVID-related illness and is questionable for today’s match. Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah are both available for selection following their ankle injuries. Gabriel Magalhaes’ knee is good to go, and I expect to see him partner Ben White, who has recovered from COVID, in the center of the defense. Granit Xhaka will serve the first of his three match red card suspension today.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Sambi, Maitland-Niles, Pépé, Saka, Ødegaard, Aubameyang
Norwich City - Krul, Williams, Omobamidele, Hanley, Aarons, Rupp, McLean, Lees-Melou, Tzolis, Dowell, Pukki
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Norwich City
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Saturday, September 11th 7 am PT | 10 am ET | 3 pm BST
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on Peacock ($$$).
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