Arsenal v Norwich
Wednesday 1 July, 18:00
Live on BT Sport 1
Arsenal return home
Arsenal lost their first two games after the restart (3-0 at Manchester City and 2-1 at Brighton) but have responded strongly with a 2-0 win at Southampton in the Premier League followed by Sunday’s 2-1 victory in their FA Cup quarter-final away to Sheffield United.
Having played four away games in quick succession, this is the first match at the Emirates for the Gunners since the restart.
Mikel Arteta is likely to make some changes from the FA Cup win, having seen his lengthy injury list increase when centre-back David Luiz, only just back from suspension, limped off early in the second half. He was replaced by Rob Holding, who is likely to get the call again.
Hector Bellerin looks set to return at right-back and Emiliano Martinez will continue in goal in place of the injured Bernd Leno. In midfield Dani Ceballos is likely to resume his usual starting role, having scored Sunday’s winning goal off the bench, with Granit Xhaka in a holding role.
There is a serious question mark about Arteta’s level of trust in Matteo Guendouzi, who has missed the last two games following his tempestuous behaviour at Brighton.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s top scorer in the Premier League with 17 goals, is likely to return in attack.
Injury concerns for Norwich
Time is fast running out for Norwich, who are winless since the restart and remain rooted to the bottom on 21 points, leaving them six points from safety with only seven matches to play.
Their two Premier League games so far ended in home defeats (3-0 to Southampton and 1-0 to Everton) and, although they put up much more of a fight in the FA Cup at home to Manchester United, they still went out with a 2-1 defeat after extra-time.
The Canaries had to play the whole of extra-time with 10 men following the sending-off of centre-back Timm Klose, who is suspended here.
Goalscorer Todd Cantwell and Lukas Rupp had to be substituted, increasing the injury concerns for Daniel Farke, who has joked he might have to play the kit man at right-back for this match.
Midfielder Alex Tettey finished the cup tie at centre-back, with Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann already out for the season through injury and now Klose missing as well.
Arsenal appear to have found their stride again following those two defeats immediately after the restart. Before that they had lost only two of their first 15 for Arteta in all competitions and both of those losses had been against teams with Champions League credentials (Chelsea and Olympiakos).
Arteta had a glut of draws in his early matches but the Gunners’ last eight games prior to the shutdown showed a record of W6 D1 L1 and it is feasible they are set for a similar run again having won their last two matches.
The Gunners are [1.47] for the win here. Norwich, the worst away side in the Premier League, are available at [8.2].
Norwich’s away record is W1 D3 L11 and the sole victory was in late November against an Everton side that was struggling in the last throes of Marco Silva’s reign.
The Canaries’ record on the road since that win is W0 D2 L6 and they have failed to score on five of their last six trips, which gives them a low chance on form.
A glimmer of hope for the visitors is that Arsenal have been far from watertight under Arteta. They have conceded in half of his six Premier League games at the Emirates and in 11 of his 19 matches overall in all competitions.
With Arsenal holding a strong home chance, a play on the Asian handicap is a good way to increase the odds. The Gunners off -1 looks solid but it is worth stretching to Arsenal off -1 & -1.5 at [2.06], which pays out in full if they win by two goals or more with half the stake lost for a one-goal win.
Both teams are in mid-table on the goals charts with Arsenal just edging towards over 2.5 goals (55%) and Norwich leaning the other way (52% under 2.5 goals).
Those tendencies are much more marked looking only at the respective home and away figures.
Arsenal are a much more clear-cut 67% over 2.5 goals at the Emirates, while Norwich are 67% unders on the road.
The reverse fixture at Carrow Road ended 2-2 and over 2.5 goals is [1.73] this time.
Both teams to score is worth considering at [1.91].
Norwich have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League meetings with Arsenal (31 goals conceded), with that coming in their only win against them in that time (1-0 in October 2012). A 1-0 win for Norwich is available at [27.0].