Wouldn’t it be wonderfully typical of Norwich City to beat Arsenal in front on the TV cameras on Sunday? Well at least that’s what I’m hoping.
It presents the first opportunity for Alex Neil’s side to take on one of the so called ‘big clubs’ at Carrow Road this season and it will be interesting how our very own ‘tinkerman’ approaches the game.
A couple of weeks ago I would have played down our chances, but Arsenal losing at West Brom last weekend, and perhaps more importantly losing Francis Coquelin to injury, there’s an opportunity to get at them.
I’d play a combative three in central midfield, Alex Tettey, Youssouf Mulumbu and Gary O’Neil and attempt to dominate in the absence of Arsenal’s enforcer.
James McClean was really able to hurt Arsenal, and that tight midfield would allow for the natural wide players, Nathan Redmond and Robbie Brady, to hit the Gunners on the counter.
I say the counter because Arsenal, with the quality in their ranks, are going to dominate possession, but City are unbeaten at home in matches that they’ve had less of the ball and have lost every game in which they’ve had more of it.
I would also like to bring to attention Norwich City’s November record. Stretching back to 2011, the Canaries have won their last six home Premier League matches in the month, the last defeat a 2-1 reverse against, you guessed it, Arsenal - City’s goal coming courtesy of Steve Morison in a match also televised.
And if you go even further back to 2004/05, City recorded their first win of the season in November against Southampton, thanks to two goals from Damien Francis: meaning seven wins, one draw and one defeat from the last nine home top-flight November matches.
I may well have talked up a defeat and let’s be clear, there’s never a good time to face Arsenal, but it’s always a great occasion when one of the big boys come to town, so let’s show a global audience what we are about.