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Arsenal strong favourites for visit to Carrow Road on Boxing Day

Norwich City vs Arsenal highlights: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores twice to salvage draw - football.london

Welcome to the new feelgood Arsenal! Yes, it has taken but a few short weeks since the awful performance from a winning position at Goodison Park to turn the concerned frowns and looks of bemusement on the faces of the fanbase to a collective perpetual grin.

Emphatic wins home wins accompanied by clean sheets over Southampton and West Ham saw a revived Gunners, leapfrog the Hammers into the Champion League places. Whilst we may not have considered our East London neighbours as a rival until recently this was a victory, for the first time this season over a team consistently above us, therefore important. This was followed by a win away at Leeds. This in itself was another phycological barrier knocked down, with the team proving to themselves and the watching football community that they could win well away from North London.

The thrashing of Leeds reinforced 4th position and opened a four-point gap. Of course, due to the pandemic many teams, not able to fulfil fixtures and have matches in hand but I am sure Arsenal and we supporters are happy with the points on the board. Particularly as the likes of West Ham, and Man United will not only have Premier League fixtures to fit in but also still have European commitments.

Saka-and-ESR

Confidence in attack

No, there can be no doubt that despite the off the field headlines and upheaval surrounding Aubameyang the Arsenal squad are behind the manager and playing with a swagger again. With Martinelli flying, Odegaard, Smith Rowe and Saka vying for the creative roles, Xhaka’s return aiding Partey and the strong and steady back four in front of the revelation of Ramsdale, there is no doubt that Arteta has his team very much looking upwards and not backwards.

Covid rules permitting, the Gunners now had 2 very winnable matches over Christmas to strengthen their grip on their Champion’s League position. They face Wolves at home on the 28th but first taken on the bottom team Norwich, who despite a change in management are still struggling for form or indeed the confidence to show any. According to the odds from SportsBettingDime.com, Arsenal enter as 5/12 favourites to win at Carrow Road, with the Canaries as distant as 6-1.

Takehiro-Tomiyasu-2021-norwich-debut

Should return

Sadly, for Norwich, Arsenal appear to be at full strength with Takehiro Tomiyasu expected to return at right back, whilst the home team are facing a defensives crisis, with Dean Smith sweating on the fitness of three central defenders in Ben Gibson, Andrew Omobamidele and Christoph Zimmermann. It is hard to envisage a full-strength Norwich coping with the current free flowing attacking confidence of Arsenal, so the bookies seem correct in their outlook. Difficult also to see an attack that has only managed 8 goals all season to outscore the Gunners.

History of course, is also well against Norwich with only three sides who have been bottom at Christmas avoiding relegation. 5/12 looks a fine bet for Arsenal to bang a further nail into Norwich’s Premier League coffin.

Prediction – Norwich 0 – Arsenal 4

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