Buoyed by a decent display in midweek that kept their Champions League hopes alive, Arsenal now have a chance to put things right domestically when travelling to face Norwich City. 

The Gunners head to Carrow Road on the back of a disappointing defeat last time out in the Premier League, which cost them the chance to climb to the top of the congested division. 


Arsenal

Arsenal supporters can very much be forgiven for thinking this campaign represents a snapshot of the last trophy-shy decade of football under Arsene Wenger, with the club moving from one extreme to the other. 

A slow start to the season, in which the Gunners collected just four points from a possible nine, was then followed up by eight wins from nine to put them right back in the title chase. 

Yet since a professional 2-1 win against Everton at the end of October, the frailties have perhaps started to show once more as mixed results have quickly followed. 

There was the resounding defeat to Sheffield Wednesday to see their League Cup campaign come to an end while, more disappointingly, points have been dropped against Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion in recent weeks. 

Throw into the mix a real humiliating defeat at the home of Bayern Munich, shipping five goals in their joint-heaviest European loss, and all the hallmarks are there for another season of 'what-ifs'. It also explains why so many fans opted to stay away from the Emirates Stadium in midweek for the 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb, which kept the Gunners' Champions League hopes alive but still left them with a big task to pull off in Athens next month. 

That win may just have sparked Arsenal back into life, though, particularly when taking into account the fantastic displays of star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. 

The Germany international has 11 league assists this term - the highest in the division - seven of which have come in his last seven outings. Sticking with the deja vu theme running through the North London outfit's campaign, injury problems are yet again proving to be a real concern, having lost as many as eight first-team players for the win over Zagreb. 

Aaron Ramsey is the first of those key players to return to fitness, putting him in contention to start this weekend's match, but the questions surrounding Wenger's surprise lack of spending have surfaced even earlier this time around. 

All the Frenchman can do is guide his side back to a strong run of form, something which Arsenal are certainly capable of as we have seen countless times in the past, knowing that they could very well be sitting at the summit come the end of play on Sunday. 

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWDL

Recent form (all competitions): LWLDLW

Norwich


The pressure had just been beginning to mount on miracle worker Alex Neil, who was given more than a little respite thanks to a huge 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Swansea City prior to the recent two-week break. 

That victory over the Swans - only their third of the campaign to date - ended a run of four defeats on the bounce at just the right time, but the Canaries then came up against an improved Chelsea side last weekend. 

City remained defensively resilient for large parts of that tight contest at Stamford Bridge, yet it was a real lapse of concentration from a quick Cesc Fabregas free kick which ultimately cost them a share of the spoils in the end. 

Despite the barren run of form, and a tough run of fixtures to come against the likes of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and of course Arsenal, the mood still remains relatively high inside the dressing room. 

Those confidence levels could prove key in the club's survival hopes, having shown plenty of character in the second half of last season to get their season firmly back on track and gain promotion back to the top flight under their Scottish head coach. 

While Norwich have indeed run many of the big sides close this season, a high number of goals being shipped has to be a concern for the Canaries, who have kept a league-low one clean sheet and conceded a total of 24 goals in all so far. 

Neil claimed in his pre-match press conference ahead of this one that his side are exactly where they would want to be at this stage of the campaign, but the East Anglian outfit must now start putting some points on the board if they are not to be sucked into the bottom three.

Recent form in Premier League: LLLLWL 
Recent form (all competitions): LLLLWL 

Team News

Ramsey made a decent return to action in the midweek Champions League triumph, completing 23 of his 24 passes after being introduced. 

The obvious man to take off would have been Joel Campbell, but the Costa Rica international turned in one of his most impressive performances - the highlight being his defence-splitting pass for the third goal - to see Ramsey instead shoved out on the left. 

Wenger must therefore decide whether to reshuffle his pack for the trip to Carrow Road, or instead give Ramsey - a scorer in both of his meetings with the Canaries - a chance to slowly make his return to league action from the bench. 

Sanchez is in need of a rest, yet the Chilean remains a key cog in this Arsenal side and will therefore start once more in East Anglia, despite tweaking his hamstring last time out. 

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky are all still missing, though Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in contention to feature in the matchday squad. 

The hosts are still without Alex Tettey, meanwhile, but they are boosted by the return of skipper Russell Martin following his late withdrawal against Chelsea last Saturday. Matt Jarvis is another of the fitness concerns who is unlikely to play a part, while out-of-favour Kyle Lafferty is expected to be among the substitutes after shaking off a groin injury picked up for the Under-21s side. 

The only other big decision for Neil comes up top, where Dieumerci Mbokani - involved in three of City's last five goals - is vying it out with Cameron Jerome for a starting berth against the title hopefuls. 
 

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28/11/15

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