Predicted Arsenal lineup against Norwich: Lacazette, Martinelli upfront; Smith Rowe on the bench – The Hard Tackle


Mikel Arteta will likely retain the same lineup that thrashed Leeds United, with Emile Smith Rowe continuing on the bench against Norwich City.

For the first time in two years, Mikel Arteta might name the same set of players for five consecutive league games. The Arsenal players have been impressive of late, securing crucial wins over Southampton, West Ham United and Leeds United. The Gunners will now sense an opportunity for another victory when they face bottom-placed Norwich City on Sunday.

Sead Kolasinac is the only fitness casualty for Arsenal. However, three other players will miss out due to COVID-19 related reasons. Calum Chambers was the latest to test positive for the virus, and he joins Pablo Mari and Albert Sambi Lokonga on the sidelines.

Arteta is otherwise expected to make a host of changes from the midweek Carabao Cup clash with Sunderland. As his Premier League lineup has been yielding goals consistently in the last three games, there is no reason for the Arsenal manager to change his personnel against Norwich.

Aaron Ramsdale will start in goal and the same back four that played against Leeds United last weekend will return. Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu will be assessed before the game after he was taken off with a knock in the previous fixture. However, the Gunners have not cited him as a doubt, meaning the Japanese international is expected to start.

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Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney are expected to keep their places against Norwich City. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka will likely keep their partnership going in midfield, as they have been effective in recent games barring the clash against Everton.

In his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked about the situation of many players, including Nicolas Pepe. Despite performing brightly against Sunderland, Pepe has been left on the bench in Premier League games. The Ivorian is again expected to be a substitute, although he could be an option in the second half.

Arteta said, “A player that doesn’t play, if he’s happy you have a big problem and Nico has not been happy, he’s been trying to challenge us and asking us for more minutes because this is what he wants to do and rightly so and this is the attitude that we want from our players.”

Meanwhile, Arteta will see no need to change his options in the final third. The in-form Gabriel Martinelli will keep his place on the left-hand side, with Martin Odegaard lining up beside him in an no. 10 role, meaning Emile Smith Rowe will once again be an option on the bench.

Bukayo Saka will continue on the right flank. At the same time, Alexandre Lacazette will be preferred to wear the captain’s armband and lead the line for the Gunners in the prolonged absence of Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang. Smith Rowe, Pepe and Eddie Nketiah will be the backup offensive options for Arsenal.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette

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