Arsenal v Norwich City - Paddy Davitt’s prediction
World class opponents; fully motivated with a collective cause to fight for. Just the latest in another end-of-season assignment for City to overcome.
After being mauled by Manchester City and Liverpool on home soil, Norwich face a Premier League finale on the road against a third-placed Gunners' outfit with no margin for error in their bid to avoid the potential recriminations of a Champions League win for Chelsea later this month – and the nightmare scenario for the side who finish fourth.
Arsene Wenger's boys will also want to put on a show to sign off in front of an Emirates crowd who have seen then labour against the less-refined likes of Wigan, Wolves and Fulham since late December.
But when they do turn it on, this Arsenal retain all the characteristics of Wenger's best sides. Seven stuck past Blackburn, five past north London rivals Tottenham, five at Chelsea.
Let's be brutally realistic. On current form, City can only travel in hope rather than expectation. But few gave Wigan an earthly at the Emirates.
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Put simply, City will have to recapture their best, most defensively resolute, most inventive offensive traits. And Arsenal's galaxy of talent will have to have an off day.
John Ruddy will have to be in an Anfield-esque mood of defiance. The men in front of him have to cut out the basic errors. And when City do get an opportunity to attack, they have to make it pay. Steve Morison harrassed Per Mertesacker for a goal at Carrow Road. Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny look more secure, but doubts remain over the Gunners' defence when faced with a more muscular aerial threat. City will not out-pass the hosts. They have to employ less subtle tactics. But with safety assured, all the pressure is on the hosts.
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• Arsenal 3, Norwich City 1