With the international break finally over, attention switches back to league action this weekend and the stakes could not be higher. This is a watershed moment for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team. He’s had a full pre-season, he’s been able to bring in his team, there are no more excuses. In reality very few people expected us to take anything from the last two games but the manner of the defeats, particularly at the Etihad are a big cause for concern. Along with the fact we’ve conceded nine and scored exactly none. Arsenal need to turn it around and fast.
There is some positive news coming out of the camp this morning in that Ben White, Partey and Gabriel all available for the weekend. Xhaka is of course suspended after his moment of madness a couple of weeks ago but aside from that there are no concerns over selection meaning that Arteta has all options at his disposal. The only unknown is Tomiyasu. The new right back but having played the full 90 against China the other day I doubt he’ll be ready to play. Quite what that will mean for right back remains to be seen but ahead of the defence, Arteta has essentially a full strength side to pick from. It has long been leveled at him that he doesn’t know his best team, that surely cannot be the case now. He’s out of excuses and very nearly out of time.
As for Norwich, they sit one place above us by virtue of the fact that they’ve found the net once this season. Aside from that they also have zero points and have been shipping goals for fun. They like to play free flowing football and will not fear an Arsenal side as fragile as this one, this does mean though that there will be gaps for us to exploit. We have the pace and quality to do that as we saw against a very inexperienced West Brom the other week. But for a club in their position, every point counts and a draw for them would be a satisfying result which means that they may change tactics if we enter the latter stages of the game level.
My biggest fear on Saturday is that we concede first and the crowd turn. Sometimes with the crowd whipped up teams rise to challenge but I can only see this Arsenal team shrinking. We, as home fans, will have to be patient and lend the boys our full support even if things don’t go to plan initially. The match will be long and difficult as they need these points as much as we do so expect a scrap.
The Bottom Line
For Mikel Arteta, this is as must win as they come. The time to deliver is now, there can be no excuses anymore, if he fails to get this team singing then the pressure will become even more intense.
It’s Saturday, it’s 3pm and the team are at rock bottom. Every home fan has the duty to sing loud and proud on Saturday and let’s send the Canaries home empty handed. I’ll see you there.