NORWICH (Sporting Alert) — Arsenal delivered an impressive performance when dismissing West Ham United in its last Premier League match before the international break, and Arsene Wenger’s side is expected to pick back up that form against the struggling Norwich on Saturday.
The Gunners, which defeated West Ham 3-1 in the last fixture at Upton Park, will travel to face Norwich at Carrow Road.
Norwich were battered 4-1 by leaders Chelsea and will look for some home comfort in an attempt to stop the slide in the Premier League.
But Chris Hughton’s men will have their hands full against an Arsenal team which has won four of the last five meetings between the two sides, while scoring 18 goals during that period.
GOOD NEWS FOR ARSENAL FANS
England midfielder Jack Wilshere featured in two Arsenal reserves games in recent weeks and looks to be on his way back from his long-term injury.
He, however, is not expected to feature on Saturday, with Wenger targeting the Capital One Cup clash at Reading on October 30, as the ideal comeback game for the talented midfielder.
“There are two aspects [to the recovery],” Wenger said on Arsenal.com. “One is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have too many injuries.
“On that front we are at 100 per cent. We even have to calm him down. He goes for every challenge and has no apprehension.
“Then you have the physical front – he is OK there. Then you have the match fitness – that is 80 per cent. He needs one more game, maybe Monday night with the reserves [against Everton], I don’t know. Then he should be back.”
INJURED WALCOTT OUT OF CLASH
Meanwhile, Wenger also confirmed that England winger Theo Walcott, who was injured on international duty last week, will miss the game.
The boss said on Arsenal.com: “Theo is out for Saturday, for sure. He has an injury to his chest and lungs. We have to treat that clinically.
“He’s quickly short of breath when he makes an effort but it’s bruising and that will heal. It’s no major concern but it will take we think about two weeks to be back to a normal level.”
BEST CHANCE FOR US – NORWICH BOSS
Norwich City manager has acknowledged that his side will be up against a very quality Arsenal team, but has urged his players to take advantage of playing at home.
Hughton said: “It’s a great opportunity for us. We’re playing at home in front of a packed crowd and in what will be a great atmosphere.
“We need to make sure that we stay in the game and are also a threat. It’s a home game for us and these are the type of games you need to look forward to, and I know my players are.
“We have to get back to where we were two games ago performance-wise.”
The struggling manager added: “If we look at our season so far we’ve had seven games – three of those have been disappointing where we’ve conceded goals, but we’ve also had four very good performances.
“What we haven’t done well enough is get the points we needed in the games we’ve played well in.
“For those that have seen us play and for our supporters, they will be aware of our performances against Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers, and to a degree West Ham.
“They were all games where we could have got maximum points, but we didn’t and we need to get back to that level of performance and turn what were draws into wins.”