1) What have you made of your season to date?
@_thomasej - It's been a bit of a mixed bag for us so far. Hopes were high going in to the season: we have a young, confident manager and a group of players who were still riding the wave of momentum that took us all the way to our playoff final victory. Things started reasonably strongly and we continued the trend from last season of attempting to play expansive, attacking football. However, a number of poor defensive displays - particularly individual errors - have cost us dearly on several occasions, and combined with a lack of incisiveness in front of goal, the last month-and-a-half have been more difficult. Manager Alex Neil has moved towards a more defensively solid approach of late - particularly against the 'bigger' sides and although this has largely worked, those same individual lapses have still cropped up. Most fans still seem reasonably confident about our chances of avoiding relegation, but the next couple of months will undoubtedly go a long way towards deciding our fate I think.
@CanaryEllis - Been a bit up and down so far, we started the season playing gung ho football which produced a lot of goals but we were conceding for fun. We're trying to be more solid defensively now but at the cost of scoring goals.
@tgrefstad - A bit underwhelming so far. Norwich had a very kind fixture list from the start, and we have failed to capitalize, especially in home games. We are at least 5 points off where we should have been in terms of general play, unjust refereeing and poor luck. Home losses to West Brom, Palace and Leicester were hard to take, and the 1-1 draw at home vs Stoke was a blow, as Stoke were hammered in that game.
Losing 2 points right at the death away at West Ham (2-2) was also cruel.
2) Who has been your player of the season so far?
@_thomasej - Probably Robbie Brady. His transfer in the summer seemed to drag on for an eternity while we thrashed out a deal with Hull, but since his arrival he's been outstanding. He began the season filling in at left-back and impressed, and since moving forward to play - generally - on the left of the forward three, he's been our most consistent attacking threat.
@CanaryEllis - Without doubt Robbie Brady, so composed on the ball and has a quality ball on him, Redmond would have been my choice because on his day he's unplayable but he's fairly inconsistent which is understandable given his age.
@tgrefstad - Hoolahan was very good in the early days of the season, but as our system has changed recently, he becomes less effective. Wes needs an attacking system for him to shine, and Alex Neil seem to be adopting a more pragmatic style recently, which does not help Wes.
Brady is a quality signing, will do well over the season. In general, we dont have many standout players, and none have really exceeded expectations so far this season, as I see it.
3) You almost got something last weekend against Chelsea, do you take confidence from that for the game this afternoon?
@_thomasej - Yes and no. We certainly matched Chelsea during the first half and could have nicked a goal ourselves. In the second half, though, one of those aforementioned lapses in concentration allowed Chelsea to take the lead and after that our heads seemed to drop a bit and we noticeably faded out of the game, until a late flourish almost stole a point. I think we definitely have the potential to expose some of Arsenal's weaknesses, but similarly, I worry about how we'll respond if we concede the first goal.
@CanaryEllis - I think Arsenal are a different proposition to Chelsea. Chelsea are playing with little confidence yet we were still unable to create any clearcut chances. Not feeling overly confident for today, Sanchez and Ozil will tear us a new one.
@tgrefstad - I expect a similar game pattern, so yes, it was encouraging, even though we seem to lose the ball way too quickly when we have won it back. Playing a more defensive style vs the top teams makes sense, and Alex Neil is right in doing these adjustments. A romantic attacking approach is perhaps entertaining, but will rarely get you points against the big teams. Sadly personal mistakes have cost us a likely point at both Man City and Chelsea.
4) Which Norwich player(s) should Arsenal be most wary of today?
@_thomasej - As mentioned earlier, Robbie Brady has been in fine form and his pace and crosses from the left are liable to pose a threat. Similarly, if Nathan Redmond is having one of his good days, then he's a real danger when running at the left back. Wes Hoolahan seems, finally, to have been recognised by the wider football world as a brilliant playmaker and if the game is an open one, then he, too, could hold the key to unlocking the Arsenal defence.
@CanaryEllis - Redmond if he's on song, it's only a matter of time before he moves on to a bigger club and becomes an England regular. Hoolahan is our Irish Messi but not expecting him to start today.
@tgrefstad - Likely Redmond on the counter, it all depends on the pattern of the game. If Norwich score early, Redmond could be an important outlet on the counter.
If it is a huff and puff game, Mbokani could well give someone like Mertesacker a game, I think.
5) Which Arsenal player(s) do you feel can give you a problem?
@_thomasej - It seems obvious, but Cazorla and Sanchez are the two players who scare me in terms of the impact they could have. It'll be a big afternoon for whichever two players are given the role of anchoring our midfield, but we're always liable to the odd defensive mistake and those two players aren't the sort to waste such opportunities.
@CanaryEllis - Sanchez and Ozil. Sanchez is one of the best players in the world at the moment and Ozil is now starting to show his class. We're weak in the fullback positions so expecting them 2 to have a lot of joy.
@tgrefstad - Sanchez is the obvious player, but both Ozil and Cazorla tend to pay well vs Norwich, as they seem to get far too much space to do their thing. I think Norwich suffer a fitness problem in midfield, at least it looks like it, as there is far too much standing off, giving dangerous players too much time on the ball. Norwich is a team set up with ball players, players who can create and pass the ball, and there is perhaps not enough grafters for us to be able to stop the better players frequently enough. Mulumbu will have an important job today in his defensive midfield role. Sadly Tettey is out, so our task is not made any easier with him missing.
6) How do you expect Norwich to approach the game today?
@_thomasej - That's a tough one, actually. I think the temptation could be to set ourselves up to defend; secede possession and attempt to find a goal on the counterattack., The problem with that, however, is that Arsenal have more than enough creative talent that they can wear us down and score anyway. I'd like to see us take the game to you a little more, much like Dynamo Zagreb did in the first half of the match last week, although the obvious danger with that tactic is that Arsenal exploit any space that's left in behind and punish us. Our central defenders aren't the quickest, so that's also a potentially flawed approach. We're a bit 'damned if we do, damned if we don't' to be honest!
@CanaryEllis - much like the Chelsea game, we'll sit back and try to hit you on the counter with players like Redmond, Jerome etc. Can't see us trying to go toe to toe with you or commit too many going forward.
@tgrefstad - IN the same manner as vs Man C and Chelsea. It will be all about moving people around quickly in midfield, closing down space, filling holes, doing the dirty part of the game correctly. When we win the ball, we must keep it better than we did vs Chelsea and Man C. Otherwise it will be a tiring, long, game. Redmond started as main support behind Mbokani vs Chelsea. It was no success then, but he may see more of the ball in a home game, and can hurt the Arsenal defence with direct running on the break. Defensive solidity, eradicate personal mistakes, and the plan is probably to hit on the counter of capitalize on a set piece.
Norwich will need their game plan to click from the off, and Arsenal having a bit of an off day to win it. A bit similar to how WBA won it, last week.
7) What would be a good season for your guys this season?
@_thomasej - I think avoiding relegation was the primary target coming in to this season and I don't think that's changed; certainly not with the recent run of results that we've had.
@CanaryEllis - Just staying up this season would be massive for us, given the amounts of money coming in to the game next season it's vital for us to hold on to our Premier League position. I'm confident we will, at times we play some very decent stuff.
@tgrefstad - Survival would be a minimum requirement, but realisticly, we will be involved in a relegation dogfight with the likes of Newcastle, Villa, Sunderland, Bournemouth, maybe even Swansea and WBA. Sadly we have not capitalized on a fairly easy start to the campaign, fixture wise, so it will all be more difficult now. I predicted 15th before the season, and would be happy with that. We need to survive to afford strengthening the team next season. Relegation will be devestating. I believe there are 3 worse teams than us in the Premier this season, though.
8) Any other thoughts?
@_thomasej - Apart from some of our own travels, this season has been really enjoyable. There have been some great matches at all levels of the league and it's genuinely one of the most unpredictable seasons that I can remember for quite some time.
@CanaryEllis - Looking forward to the game today but not overly confident, hoping to see an attacking game of football and for the game to not be decided on the back of a dodgy refereeing decision. Enjoy the game and good luck for the rest of the season
@tgrefstad - The Premier League is one of the better leagues in the world, but the difference in income between the team is getting bigger and bigger, not only between top and bottom in the Premier, but especially between the Premier and Championship. I seriously believe that this can not go on this way. Regulations like Financial Fair Play may help a bit, but I think further regulations are needed. We dont want the Premier to end up a 4-horse race every year, even though Leicester is on a rare run this year and Chelsea is the odd team out. Having a bit of unpredictability is some of the charm with football, and when/if you lose that, the game will be less attractive for all. The way the Premier is developing these days, it is probably 14-16 teams fearing for the drop, while 4-6 teams are fighting for honours.