A new era begins for Arsenal, as Freddie Ljungberg takes charge of his first game as the interim manager against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday.
Four matches will be on show in the Premier League on Sunday, as Gameweek 14 of the 2019-20 season comes to a close. To begin with, all eyes will be on the first game on the day, as Arsenal pay Norwich City a visit at Carrow Road, in what will be their first game since sacking Unai Emery.
Norwich City impressed in the early stages of the season with their bold approach to games, having also beaten Manchester City back in September. But, following that shock win, the Canaries failed to win seven successive games before finally ending the winless run with a 2-0 win over Everton last week. Even so, Daniel Farke & co. remain in the drop zone, four points from safety.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have been displaying the kind of form that mid-table and relegation battling sides struggle with. The Gunners have not won a game in over a month, with the latest setback coming in the form of a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
The loss on Friday, a seventh successive winless turned out to be the last straw, as Unai Emery was shown the door by Arsenal after a number of dismal performances. The North Londoners are now beginning their search for a replacement, with club legend Freddie Ljungberg taking temporary charge of the first-team in the time being.
Arsenal and Norwich shared the spoils the last time they locked horns in a Premier League game at Carrow Road, with Mesut Ozil and Lewis Grabban scoring a goal each in a 1-1 draw. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Daniel Farke had been sweating over the fitness of Todd Cantwell ahead of the visit of Arsenal. Fortunately for the Norwich City boss, the young winger has been declared fit to face the Gunners. Jamal Lewis (knee) has also recovered from his fitness troubles and is in contention to feature.
The hosts, though, are still missing the services of Grant Hanley (groin), Timm Klose (knee) and Josip Drmic (hamstring) due to their respective injuries, while Alex Tettey is unavailable due to personal reasons.
If Lewis is unable to prove his fitness on time, Sam Byram could start as a makeshift left-back once again, with Max Aarons being a certain starter on the right flank. At the heart of the Norwich defence, Christoph Zimmermann will have Ben Godfrey as his partner, with the duo providing cover to Tim Krul.
Tettey’s absence means Tom Trybull ought to have Kenny McLean for company in the midfield double pivot, with the latter charged with transitioning smoothly from defence to attack. Cantwell is fit enough to start, meaning he will feature on the left side of the Norwich attack from the off.
Emiliano Buendia will be providing the bulk of the creative outlet, starting on the right flank, with Marco Stiepermann being given a free role behind the striker. Teemu Pukki, as always, will be leading the line for Norwich when Arsenal come visiting.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram; McLean, Trybull; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki
Freddie Ljungberg will take charge of Arsenal for the first time on Sunday against Norwich. But, the newly appointed interim head coach has a few pressing injury concerns to deal with ahead of the Gunners’ latest Premier League fixture.
The major issues lie in defence, an area that is already blighted with inconsistencies. David Luiz (bruised ribs), Shkodran Mustafi (ankle), Rob Holding (knee), Sead Kolasinac (thigh) and Hector Bellerin (hamstring) are all facing a race against time to prove their fitness to take on Norwich.
The spate of injury doubts means that Calum Chambers and Sokratis could combine at the heart of the Arsenal defence, while Bellerin could be risked on the right flank. Kieran Tierney, who featured in the 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, should keep his place as the left-back.
Ljungberg is expected to line his side up in the 4-2-3-1 formation. In the midfield double pivot, Lucas Torreira ought to feature as the holding midfielder, with Matteo Guendouzi likely to pip Granit Xhaka to the second spot in the middle of the park.
Mesut Ozil is expected to be given the free role in the hole, from where he can pull the strings. The so-called ‘fab four’ should start together for the very first time, with Ljungberg expected to keep things simple. Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will, therefore, be the two wide men, with Alexandre Lacazette being the central striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Chambers, Sokratis, Tierney; Guendouzi, Torreira; Pepe, Ozil, Aubemayang; Lacazette
- After beating Arsenal 4-2 at Highbury on the first ever day of Premier League action in August 1992, Norwich have won just one of their last 15 outings against the Gunners in the competition (D6 L8).
- Since beating Manchester City 3-2 in September, Norwich have lost their last three home league games by an aggregate score of 2-10 (1-5, 1-3 and 0-2). Only once before have they lost four consecutive Premier League games at Carrow Road (April 2014-August 2015).
- Arsenal are winless in their last five Premier League games (D3 L2). The North Londoners last went six without a victory in the competition between April-August 2011, while they last failed to win six in a row in the same season back in October-December 1994.
- Arsenal have lost their last two away league games against promoted sides (vs Wolves and Sheffield United), last losing three such games on the bounce between October 1983-November 1984 (vs QPR, Leicester and Sheffield Wednesday).
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 80% of Arsenal’s away goals in the Premier League this season (4/5). The Gabonese striker has also netted eight goals in his 10 appearances against promoted sides for the Gunners.
Player to Watch
There was a lot of excitement when Arsenal secured the services of Kieran Tierney in the summer. However, after arriving at the Emirates with an injury, it has been a slow start to life as an Arsenal player. The Scottish defender’s struggles were visible against Eintracht Frankfurt as well, as he failed to make much of an impact.
With a new era set to begin at Arsenal, it is now time for Tierney to press the reset button and show Freddie Ljungberg that he can be an asset. Tierney needs to particularly deliver on the defensive front, and a solid showing could go a long way in rebuilding his confidence, which should also translate in a positive output in the final third.
Norwich City 2-3 Arsenal
Before Friday, you would not have been blamed if you rated Norwich City as the favourites for this fixture, particularly following a stirring win over Everton last week. However, with Unai Emery now no longer at the helm at Arsenal, things are different.
With new management set to take charge, players will have a point to prove, which often brings the best out of them. With that in mind, Arsenal seem to be holding the edge for now, even if slightly so, although Norwich should make it difficult for the Gunners to run away with a win. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-2 win for Arsenal at the end of a keenly contested affair.