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ARSENAL PREVIEW

PUBLISHED

11:30 12th April 2013

by Ben Mouncer

A look ahead to this weekend's trip to north London

ARSENAL v NORWICH CITY
Barclays Premier League
3pm kick-off
Emirates Stadium
Saturday, April 13, 2013

NORWICH CITY can call on some happy memories from their recent meetings against Arsenal as they face up to the unenviable task of trying to come away from the Emirates Stadium with a positive result on Saturday afternoon.

Few can forget last year’s visit as City earned a superb point in a thrilling 3-3 draw thanks to goals from Wes Hoolahan, Grant Holt and Steve Morison.

They carried that momentum into their next clash with the Gunners earlier this campaign, launching themselves into their ten-game unbeaten sequence with Holt scoring again in a 1-0 victory.

Arsenal are in fine fettle ahead of this one, having won six of their last seven Premier League games, and another three points would see them rise above north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur into the much-coveted fourth spot.

While boss Chris Hughton has continually emphasised the need to make the most of home matches, a point or even three from this one could be provide the springboard to securing a third year of Premier League football for the Canaries.

TEAM NEWS…
City’s misfortune with goalkeepers carried on last weekend as Mark Bunn limped off early in the 2-2 draw with Swansea City, but Hughton hasn’t ruled him out of contention for tomorrow’s game.

The 28-year-old’s groin injury will be assessed before a decision is made, with Lee Camp likely to deputise if he isn’t passed fit. John Ruddy is set to play in the Under-21s match versus Bolton Wanderers on Monday night as he continues his recuperation from his own thigh problem.

Anthony Pilkington is available again after a month out with a hamstring injury, but Andrew Surman (knee) is sidelined until the end of the season.

Arsenal are set to welcome back Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Theo Walcott (thigh), with their returns timely as last week’s match-winner Tomas Rosicky is touch-and-go with a hamstring issue.

Club captain Thomas Vermaelen is likely to replace the suspended Per Mertesacker in central defence after the German international’s red card in the 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion.

MOST RECENT MEETINGS…
NORWICH CITY 1-0 Arsenal 20/10/2012 – Premier League
Arsenal 3-3 NORWICH CITY 05/05/2012 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 1-2 Arsenal 19/11/2011 – Premier League
Arsenal 4-1 NORWICH CITY 02/04/2005 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 1-4 Arsenal 28/08/2004 – Premier League

LAST TIME AROUND… NORWICH CITY 1-0 ARSENAL 20/10/2013 (Premier League)
The Canaries broke their Premier League duck and began a run of ten games without defeat after a memorable 1-0 win against Arsenal at Carrow Road in October.

Grant Holt pounced on Alex Tettey’s parried shot midway through the first-half to net his third goal in as many matches and lift City out the relegation places.

“This has been a long time coming, and a result our performances have warranted. However, this league is unforgiving,” said manager Hughton afterwards.

“I am delighted for the team, because the work-rate was outstanding and there is no coincidence in the result.

“We have deserved this by our play this season so far, so it is a very good feeling to get the win here at Carrow Road for the supporters.”

GUNNERS FORM…
W – 2-1 v West Bromwich Albion (A) 06/04/2013 – Premier League
W – 4-1 v Reading (H) 30/03/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-0 v Swansea City (A) 16/03/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-0 v Bayern Munich (A) 13/03/2013 – Champions League
L – 1-2 v Tottenham Hotspur (A) 03/03/2013 – Premier League

CANARIES FORM…
D – 2-2 v Swansea City (H) 06/04/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v Wigan Athletic (A) 30/03/2013 – Premier League
D – 1-1 v Sunderland (A) 17/03/2013 – Premier League
D – 0-0 v Southampton (H) 09/03/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-4 v Manchester United (A) 02/03/2013 – Premier League

LAST ARSENAL XI (4-3-2-1 v West Bromwich Albion)…
Lukasz Fabianski; Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal; Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta (c), Aaron Ramsey; Santi Cazorla, Gervinho; Olivier Giroud.

LAST NORWICH CITY XI (4-4-1-1 v Swansea City)…
Mark Bunn; Russell Martin (c), Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Elliott Bennett, Bradley Johnson, Jonathan Howson, Robert Snodgrass; Wes Hoolahan; Kei Kamara.

REFEREE - MIKE JONES…
Chester official Jones will be making his third trip to the Emirates Stadium this season.

Those two matches resulted in wins for Arsene Wenger’s men, initially 6-1 in the League Cup against Coventry City and then 2-0 in the top flight against West Bromwich Albion.

He has refereed three City games this year, two of which produced seven goals – firstly the 5-2 home defeat to Liverpool and then, more recently, the thrilling match against Manchester City at Carrow Road, which ended up 4-3 to the Premier League champions, even after Jones had dismissed Blues midfielder Samir Nasri.

He was also in charge when Sebastien Bassong nicked a point for the Canaries with a late goal to force a 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park in November.

He has given out 80 yellow cards and three red cards this season.

ELSEWHERE…
Aston Villa v Fulham
Everton v Queens Park Rangers
Reading v Liverpool
Southampton v West Ham United
Newcastle United v Sunderland (Sunday, 12:00)
Stoke City v Manchester United (Sunday, 14:05)


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