Arsenal v Norwich, 15:00
– Tomas Rosicky grabbed both goals as Arsenal held on with ten men to beat West Brom 1-2 at The Hawthorns last weekend.
– Santi Cazorla is not only Arsenal’s most efficient passer of the ball, he’s also their most consistent threat on goal. He sits joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for shots on target this season with 66, a full 21 more than his nearest squad rival Theo Walcott. To illustrate his attacking influence this season, the only midfielder in the league who’s been regularly testing opposition keepers more than Cazorla is the potential PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale with 82 on target attempts.
– Arsenal will likely have the bulk of possession this weekend and so be able to cause Norwich’s defence numerous problems in the final third. They have two of the most accurate passers in the league in the shape of Cazorla and Mikel Arteta, who between them have raced up an incredible 1227 successful passes in the opponent’s half.
– Theo Walcott appears to be maturing into the player that many knew he could be when he arrived at Arsenal from Southampton in 2006. He has been one of the Gunners’ most dangerous players this season, racking up a squad-high 12 assists and 21 dribbles.
– Norwich were left hovering above the relegation zone as they failed to hold on to their lead and succumbed to a 2-2 draw last time out at home to Swansea.
– Robert Snodgrass was praised last weekend for staying on feet and trying to hard to deliver a killer ball rather than attempt to win a penalty. It is that honest work ethic which has seen him become by far Norwich’s most dangerous attacker this season, and surely the man most likely to test the Gunners this weekend. He’s amassed 126 crosses this season, double that of his nearest team mate Anthony Pilkington, as well as 5 assists.
– Remarkably the Scottish midfielder has also attempted more tackles than any other Canaries player with 115, being successful 57.4%, showcasing his commitment to the cause and willingness to track back. This could also be key this weekend as he lines up against an Arsenal midfield which will no doubt dictate possession for large parts of the game.
– Norwich fans will have been excited to read about John Ruddy’s impending return from injury this week. The big stopper had made 74 saves before injury sidelined him back in November, an average of one every 16.5 minutes.