With one win in eight league matches, Norwich are in danger of being sucked into the relegation places before Christmas, but the narrow 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge will have given Alex Neil and his team confidence that they can cause an upset against Arsenal this weekend.
As injuries ravage the Gunners' squad, it's two of their forced replacements – Joel Campbell and Mathieu Flamini – who could be the difference at either end of the pitch.
Francis Coquelin’s injury is a huge blow to Arsenal’s title hopes. Last season they averaged 1.4 points per match without Coquelin and 2.35 with him; this season, they have accrued just three points from the three matches in which Coquelin has played 45 minutes or less, and 23 points from the 10 games in which he has played for more than half the match. It came as no surprise to see West Brom win at The Hawthorns after the Frenchman limped off.
Flamini averages just 1.6 interceptions per 90 minutes, and can often be accused of poor decision-making by leaving his protective post in front of the back four. This weekend is a good opportunity for Nathan Redmond, playing in the No.10 role, to rediscover his early season form.
Redmond’s speed, dribbling skills and vision could be decisive in the central pockets of space that inevitably open up when Flamini is asked to protect the back four.
At the other end, the key area could be on Costa Rican Campbell’s side, where left-back Martin Olsson is struggling for form. Olsson failed to make a single tackle or interception against Chelsea, failed to clear properly three times and fouled Willian twice; a repeat of this against Campbell, and Arsenal will surely canter to victory. Campbell looks brighter with each match, and the directness of his dribbling against Zagreb was an example of the sort of piercing movement Arsenal require against deep-lying opponents.
Norwich City vs Arsenal LIVE ANALYSIS with Stats Zone
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.