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Are Arsenal a Home Banker This Week? - Predictions from 9,000 Players

Posted on Oct 19th, 2013 by Jim Walker

Arsenal are one of 4 in form sides who are heavy favourites to win this week, but is the home game against Norwich a potential banana skin? 67% of our Pundits are predicting that Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Everton will slip up this weekend, but is it likely to be The Gunners?

Arsenal's Blip
Arsenal's 5 game winning streak was ended at West Brom last time out but this should be a minor blip for The Gunners. West Brom have been steadily improving as the season has gone on. Having beaten Sunderland 3-0 and them come away from Old Trafford with all 3 points, snatching a point from Arsenal at The Hawthorns is hardly the poor result for Arsenal that it might have looked on paper.

The big question is how Wenger will handle his selection problems. Giroud remains on form but the return of Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosciky and Arteta in midfield gives an Arsenal side who have coped admirably with multiple injuries since the start of the season, a problem they might not be used to having. A major part of Arsenal's excellent start has been the form of Aaron Ramsey when deployed in the more advanced midfield positions. With Cazorla now fully fit and Ozil likely to have recovered from his knock in midweek playing for Germany, Wenger will have to make some tough calls which will influence Arsenal's fluidity and balance in this game. Dropping his in form players for bigger names might not work in his favour.

The only real worry for Arsenal is the fact that they have kept just one clean sheet all season, so even a Norwich side seriously short of goals might fancy nicking one at some stage and that could give Arsenal a slightly bigger task than they might be anticipating if they lose concentration and fail to bank their 2nd clean sheet of the season.

Any Chance for Norwich
Last season Norwich's successes were built largely on a solid defence. Whilst they have managed two clean sheets this season they have leaked a total of 9 goals in the other 5 matches they've played and 3 teams have scored past them more than once so the defence is not as imposing as it was and Arsenal will fancy themselves for more than one.

The main issue though has been that the arrivals of several attacking players are yet to produce any fruit. Norwich have found the net just 3 times in their last 6 matches.

Our Prediction
The potential absence of Ozil is a real concern for Arsenal. The German has set up 4 of the 9 goals Arsenal have scored since he made his debut and he has been heavily involved in most of their good play, but with Cazorla and a number of others returning from injury there should be good cover but if he is missing Arsenal will need to be clinical if they don't want to make a mountain out of what should be a mole hill.

Norwich have severely lacked goals this season whilst looking more vulnerable at the back than they did last season. That is a bad combination of factors to take in to a game at The Emirates so our prediction is an Arsenal win and a clean sheet, even though it would only be their second this season.


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