Norwich City’s Alex Neil aims to pull off a cunning plan against Arsenal
- Credit: PA
Alex Neil has spent the past few days at Colney hatching a plan to thwart one of the best attacking sides in Europe.
The Norwich City boss relishes unpicking the weekly tactical conundrum he faces in the Premier League, but subduing Arsenal's array of talent is a unique problem.
'It is not easy, I can assure you,' he said. 'It is more about the team ethic and the group and making sure we are filling holes and covering each other as much as we can.
'I think when you go man for man and get after them and press them then you are relying on individuals to win their battles and that is tough when you are asking lads to stop a world class player. If we can overload certain areas of the pitch it gives us a better chance of coping.
'We have analysts who study the last five or six games of each opponent so obviously we have looked at their West Brom game last weekend, and I would remind people Arsenal missed a penalty and a whole host of chances. For these types of game you need the bigger teams not to be firing on all cylinders and hope we are at the top of our level and if we can achieve that there is no reason we can't get something out of the game. Attacking-wise they are really difficult to stop in full flow. Having broken them down this week and analysed them I certainly think they are one of the most difficult teams to set-up against to stop. They have so many tools in their locker.'
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The likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla illustrated their threat with a dominant Champions League midweek success in preparation for their Carrow Road assignment.
'They have guys who played for Real Madrid and Barcelona and it is not as if they are past their best. They are in their prime,' said Neil. 'Sanchez is the one who is blisteringly quick, Ozil is more of a technical player than a hard runner and Cazorla is probably the same. Sanchez is an all-round player. He is quick, he works for the team, he scores goals and creates assists so he is tough to stop but everyone can be stopped - we just have to find a way to do it. If we can put Arsenal on the back foot hopefully that can lift the crowd and we can spur the players on and see where they go from there.
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'Playing in Europe is a completely different competition I'm sure for them. They will want to put points on the board now. If they had beaten West Brom they would have gone top so it shows you what a good season they have had.'