Norwich will aim to secure just its second win of the season when it takes on Arsenal at Carrow Road on Sunday. Which way to lean at the top-rated sportsbooks?
Norwich City FC vs. Arsenal FC
Sunday, December 26, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at Carrow Road
Norwich is rock bottom of the Premier League table, and it is the heavy favorite to be relegated at the end of the season. However, it is still just three points below 17th-placed Watford, so it only needs to string a couple of wins together to escape the drop zone.
Norwich Lacks Confidence
The Canaries fired manager Daniel Farke earlier this after they secured just one win in their opening 11 games. Dean Smith – who had just been sacked by Aston Villa – came in to replace Farke, and he managed to galvanize the squad.
Norwich beat Southampton 2-1 in Smith’s first game at the helm, followed by back-to-back draws against Wolves and Newcastle. It seemed that there was a newfound belief in the squad, but that was quickly snuffed out by a run of three straight defeats.
The Canaries lost 3-0 to Spurs, 1-0 to Man Utd, and then 2-0 to Aston Villa – Smith’s old club – in their last match, leaving them back at the foot of the table.
Arsenal Is On Fire
Arsenal is heading in the opposite direction. A run of three consecutive wins has carried the Gunners up to 4th in the standings. They made a disastrous start to the campaign, but they are now surging with confidence.
Mikel Arteta’s men have 10 wins, 3 draws, and 6 defeats from 18 games thus far. They eased to a 3-0 win against Southampton on December 11, followed by an impressive 2-0 win against West Ham four days later.
The Gunners thrashed an injury-ravaged Leeds team 4-1 last weekend, and they then beat Sunderland 5-1 in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, so they should be full of confidence right now.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not been featured since he was stripped of the captaincy earlier this month. Fellow forward Alexandre Lacazette has worn the armband for the last two games, while also leading the line in Aubameyang’s stead.
Yet, Lacazette has competition for his place after youngster Eddie Nketiah banged in a hat-trick against Sunderland in midweek.
Emile Smith Rowe has not been able to get back into the team after recovering from injury, as Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Martin Ødegaard have all been in terrific form.
Three fringe players – Albert Sambi Lokonga, Pablo Marí, and Calum Chambers – all have COVID, while right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu is a slight doubt, but he should recover from a minor injury in time for this game. If not, Cédric Soares can be deputized.
Norwich is without Christoph Zimmermann, Andrew Omobamidele, Milot Rashica, and Grant Hanley. Ozan Kabak and Mathias Normann may require late fitness tests, while four players – Christos Tzolis, Lukas Rupp, Josh Sargent, and Pierre Lees-Melou – have tested positive for COVID and their participation is in doubt.
For our soccer picks, Arsenal is in fine form right now and it should have enough quality to beat Norwich. Nicolas Pépé and Nketiah were superb against Sunderland in midweek, but they cannot get in the first team, underscoring the depth of talent at Arteta’s disposal.
Norwich has the worst attacking record in the Premier League this season, with just eight goals scored in 17 games, and its defensive record is also among the worst in the division. It is hard to see this team beating Arsenal.
Soccer Pick: Arsenal to Win (-225) at BetMGM
Soccer Pick: Arsenal -1 Asian Handicap (-140) at DraftKings
Soccer Pick: Arsenal Win to Nil (+135) at PointsBet