Saturday, 30 April 2016

Arsenal v Norwich Preview And Confirmed Arsenal Line Up

I was reading Arsene Wenger's comments from Friday and his views on our results this season struck me as more than odd. He says we're champions away from home, but we have only won once away from home against the other teams in the top half of the table. That win might have come away to champions elect Leicester, but beating the champions does not make us champions even if we did it both home and away.

He also suggested that our home form against the teams from the lower reaches of the table has cost us the league, but that's only been in the last few games. Before the dropped points against Swansea and Palace we had a perfect record at home to the teams in the bottom half of the table and we led both of those games. The fact that we didn't see out either of those games was down to poor finishing and lack of concentration on our part and it can hardly be laid at the feet of the home fans.

Despite all of our shortcomings in the transfer market last summer I firmly believe we would have won the league if we had signed a striker worthy of the name. With all of the other so called big clubs have indifferent seasons it was there for the taking when we sat on top of the table in early January. Our record since then at home and away has been abysmal and that was down to poor finishing on so many occasions.

The suggestion we have been champions away from home is not backed up by the facts. In our last nine games on the road we have only won twice and that is most certainly not the form of champions. If Arsenal win their last two home games against Norwich and Villa we will finish with 12 home wins and that's going to be a lot closer to the home record of the league winners than our away record.

That brings me nicely to today's game with Norwich and the events surrounding it. It seems the voices of dissent are growing all the time and we will see how much support there is for the protests planned at the game today. It's hardly ideal for the players to see their own fans protesting, but the fans voices are not being heard by those running the club.

I include the manager in that and the owner too. From those I have spoken to the majority are certainly in favour of a change of manager, but the owner has no interest in that. He seems content to build for the future, but to us fans it seems that future is a point which will never arrive under the current regime.

For once the manager has a full squad to pick from today with nobody in the treatment room. Bizarrely with so many players to choose from he has decided not to make any changes to the team which drew 0-0 at Sunderland last week. Olivier Giroud plays as the central striker again despite not scoring a league goal in almost four months while Danny Welbeck warms the bench again.

What can you say about the team selection, I certainly don't know and I only hope they can show an awful lot more urgency than they did last week. They should be far too good for a team struggling to beat the drop, but the results against Swansea and Palace suggest it could be different.

I'll be watching the game of course as I always do, but it's difficult to get too excited about any game Arsenal play at the moment. They need the points to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the race for the top four in a season which should have delivered so much more. Anything other than a win will be a disaster considering they travel to City next week, but I don't think Norwich will get anything off us today.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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