Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Norwich vs Arsenal

Written by Sam Hopkinson

I hate to say it, so I’ll write it down as an arguable statement and let the FLIP Sports fans rip it to shreds at their leisure:

If Arsenal Could Stay Fit They’d Win The League Every Year

Wenger’s team arrives at Carrow Road with a European victory to boost their confidence. They have bought themselves a lifeline and can still qualify for the knock-out stages. So why does it feel like they’re further away than ever from winning the league? Their injury list is the albatross hanging around Wenger’s neck, and it seems to get heavier every season. It begs the question what will the Gunners do should they lose Özil or Sanchez? It’s getting to the point where Wenger’s going to have to start fielding fans from the crowd to make up the numbers. The Canaries for their part must look at this depleted Arsenal side and believe there’s something in this match for them.

DEFENDER

Ryan Bennett

With Seb Bassong seemingly unable to find consistent form, his defensive partner has even more work to do than before—and that partner has been young Ryan Bennett recently. In his four Premier League appearances, Bennett has made on average, almost 8 clearances per match. Although Neil’s side were initially an attacking outfit, they’ve been defensive especially against the big teams—and if that tactic is going to work, the central defenders need to be imperious sentinels. It didn’t work against Chelsea, but will it work against Arsenal?

MIDFIELDER

Mesut Özil

No matter what the German does, he can’t seem to shake the idiotic tag that he is lazy or ineffective—when he has an amazing game its often treated as an anomaly when it’s actually the rule. Özil’s playmaking skills should never have been in doubt, but now he’s adding a goalscoring knack to his game Arsenal have a player who could realistically help drag them to the title. Strange to think of how often Mourinho subbed him off before the end of games when he was Real Madrid manager. Is it that Özil really wasn’t fit enough, when he’s managed to keep up with the frantic pace of the English game?

STRIKER

Alexis Sanchez

Brilliantly described as having “the zeal of a hunting lion” by his manager, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is without argument one of the best players in the world. He gives so much on the field that his energy levels occasionally dip—but when do you rest your star player? Wenger might have chosen this game, were he not hamstrung for choice by injuries. Before and after the match Sanchez will be wrapped in cotton wool and stored in a refrigerated crate. The only thing that Wenger can’t control is what happens to the Chilean on the field.

Someone should mention to Wenger that it’s the female lions that do the hunting, though.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Robbie Brady

One of the ever-presents in this Norwich team, Brady was a sound acquisition from relegated Hull over the summer. The young Irishman has just one goal and no assists—so why is he worth including in your FLIP teams? Brady is one of those players whose contribution is difficult to measure in ordinary statistics, but he has been one of Norwich’s very best players under Alex Neil.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.