Norwich v Arsenal: Gunners have too much power for Canaries

Andrew Atherley says Arsenal can score a clear-cut win at Carrow Road...

Tough task for Norwich

Norwich looked a lost cause under Daniel Farke when they took just two points from their opening 10 matches but there is more hope following Dean Smith's arrival as manager.

The Canaries are still bottom with a meagre 10 points but a safe spot in the table is only three points away.

This is a tough match, but after this Smith's side will not face another current top-eight side until mid-February, which makes this a crucial period for them if the Premier League programme continues to go ahead.

There are Covid cases in both camps, with Norwich's Pierre Lees-Melou, Lukas Rupp, Josh Sargent and Christos Tzolis reported to have tested positive.

Mathias Normann and Ozan Kabak could be ready to return after injury.

Gunners firing

Arsenal are up to fourth and come here on a four-match winning streak, the latest victory being 5-1 against Sunderland of League One in the League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night.

Before that Mikel Arteta's side had won 3-0 against Southampton and 2-0 against West Ham (both at home), followed by a 4-1 away win at Leeds.

Calum Chambers, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari are the reported positive cases of Covid, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been unavailable for the last two games due to a non-Covid illness.

Arteta changed all but one of his last Premier League starting XI against Sunderland on Tuesday and is likely to revert back this time.

The biggest doubt is Takehiro Tomiyasu, who went off against Leeds. Cedric is on standby.

Class gap likely to show

The Smith bounce may be over for Norwich, who had a win and two draws in his first three games but have since lost three in a row (all without scoring).
The key factor is probably a change in the level of opposition. Two of Smith's first three games were against teams currently in the bottom six, whereas the last three have been against top-half sides.

Four of Smith's first six games have been against top-half teams and, although Norwich managed a point in a goalless draw at home to Wolves, that means they have failed to score in any of those matches.

That does not bode well against Arsenal, who have scored in 12 of their last 13 games in all competitions (the exception being the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool).
The Gunners have scored at least twice in 10 games during that run, which makes it hard to see how Norwich can live with them.

Arsenal have a W6 D2 L2 record against bottom-half teams, which is not outstanding, but it is worth noting that four of those wins have come in their last five matches in that category.

With their form accelerating fast and their attack firing, Arsenal look set for a comfortable win. Take them off -1.5 on the Asian handicap at 2.2.

Arsenal goals on the rise

Both teams are about 50-50 for over/under 2.5 goals but there are some variables with the visitors' goals stats.

Eight of Arsenal's 13 games since finding their form in late September have had over 2.5 goals (62%) and their last four away have all gone over that mark.

Opta Stat

Norwich have failed to score in a league-high 11 different Premier League games this season. Meanwhile, in top-flight history, no side has ever scored fewer goals before Christmas than the eight the Canaries have netted this term. Arsenal to win to nil is 5/4 with Betfair Sportsbook.

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