Arsenal v Norwich: We’re off to a 3pm saturday kickoff! Here are the teams

By Bulldog Drummond

In previous articles we have covered Home and away form and injuries and the explored the approach of each club to this season.    There’s a piece on the danger Arsenal must be aware of in this game, and of course with our regular interest in the tackle, foul, yellow situation, Expect a foul to be given against Arsenal before Norwich kick off this weekend.

But now, the day is here and as you may know, Untold Arsenal is run from Northamptonshire, in the English East Midlands, which means that each home game involves a journey of around 86 miles each way either by car or train.  But its been like this for so long we hardly notice and actually look forward to the trip as a chance to catch up and chat about life, the universe and Arsenal.  And referees.  And indeed a saturday 3pm kick off which is now such a rarity it has become to be commented upon and savoured as a memory of the olden days.

I don’t think I’ve actually seen a bonkers journalist say that this is a real six pointer, but we can imagine what the media outcry will be if we were to lose or indeed even draw.

The fact that the calls for the manager’s head have already happened can only be made shows how uni-directional and limited football discussion has become in many quarters.  Indeed it is doubtful if a new manager would understand or be able to continue the work Mr Arteta has been doing in his complete re-arrangement of the club’s approach to referees, and the consequence of a club built around a younger team.

As for this game, you might expect a total historic dominance over Norwich, but no, we have won 29, drawn 20 and lost 11, but we haven’t lost in the last eight meetings, (6 wins, 2 draws).

I don’t think the official 25 man squad for the league has been registered yet (if it has, sorry, I must have drifted off) but here is the list we’ve got thus far…

Goal: Bernd Leno, Aaron Ramsdale (HG). (2 players, 1 home grown)

Defence: Pablo Mari, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Rob Holding (HG), Cedric Soares, Gabriel, Ben White (HG), Calum Chambers (HG), Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac.  (9 players 3 home grown)

Midfielders: Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles (HG), Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohamed Elneny, Martin Odegaard. (6 players 1 home grown)

Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah (HG), Nicolas Pepe (4 players 1 home grown)

That makes 21 players, out of a possible 25 who can be registered of whom six are home grown.  So 15 foreign growners, which is two inside the limit.  Which in turn means that come January if we want a bit of topping up, we can do it without having to kick someone out – and we won’t be thinking about where the player was born.

This culling of the squad size is in fact part of the way we’ve paid for this summer’s transfers.

Of course 21 does look a bit on the thin side but we do also have at least six under 21s who we might expect to see playing this season, or at the very least be sitting on the beach from time to time.

Arthur Okonkwo, Nuno Tavers, Bukayo Saka, Folarin Balogun, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli.  Others may well come through and get their chance.

So that does make a squad of 27.

As for the this game, who will play?

Sports Mole offer us



Maitland-Niles, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Saka, Odegaard, Pepe;



SB Nation (the short fuse) take a slightly different approach


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Pepe, Odegaard, Saka;



The Evening Standard now calls their predicted line up a “likely XI”


Chambers, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Pepe, Odegaard, Saka;


The Express follows suit, so I think that must be more or less the opinion of those who do predict the team.  The Guardian however does have a variation at full back.


Soares, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Pepe, Odegaard, Saka;



And here is a thought: However, we are unbeaten in 30 Premier League home matches against promoted opposition, winning 25 and drawing five and Aubameyang has got four in his last two games against Norwich.

And a jolly one to end with, from the BBC’s preview

“Norwich have lost 41 of the past 42 Premier League games in which they conceding the opening goal, including each of the last 28”.

So, I suppose as the old saying goes, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best”.   Actually I’ve no idea what we will write if Arsenal were to lose, but I am sure we’ll think of something, although I very much doubt we will have to.

If you have been, thanks for reading.

39 Replies to “Arsenal v Norwich: We’re off to a 3pm saturday kickoff! Here are the teams”

  1. partey-lokonga, a no-brainer? … against norwich? laca on the bench … ie taking out our best g/a provider, when not scoring is our main problem; i hope these lineups will turn out to be wrong
    i really don’t get what risk there would be at picking something like:
    or (back3)

  2. See me, I’ve forgotten about Odegaard as if he’s not an important player at Arsenal who should start in our today’s PL match aren home against Norwich.

    Anyway, it’s going to be Arsenal 5-0 Norwich at fulltime.

  3. Just watching it kick-off in the Palace Spurs match.

    And people keep coming here saying we’re all treated the same.

    Player puts hand round neck. Pushing and shove each other. Multi player brawl with pushing and shoving.

    Just 2 yellow cards issued followed by the commentator, pundits and and studio referee agree yep 2 yellows about right.

    JOKE !

  4. just seen the lineup
    so, the whole Great Plan was to:
    blow up the structure of last season’s 3rd best defense of the league that we were)
    kick out our best player (smithrowe – last season as well as beginning of this season)
    sideline our best goal/assist provider (lacazette)
    definitely too smart for me

  5. I really like what I’ve seen from Tomiyasu. Strong in the air and doesn’t go to ground.

  6. Strange…we had the ball in the box but we seemed indecisive…couldn’t seem to ever get the ball out of our feet to play a through ball or to play it back for a strike on net.

    Pepe was lively and did create our goal but it seems the defenders know his dribbling because he got no? crosses in and relatively few shots off…how to support his talent…overlaps? a late runner?

    Our defenders were solid…I feel very happy with what I saw…not even one shout for a penalty by Norwich.

  7. From it does sound like Smith-Rowe’s omission was related to his knock, but it sounds like he made the difference to us going forward. From the commentary sounded like a much more comfortable win than 1-0.

    Well done lads. Small steps.

  8. GGG

    Pepe had most shots and most successful key passes. just saying how well he played. Just saying as I wasn’t there, but sounds like he played well.

  9. But having said that about Pepe and Smith-Rowe, despite how well they may or may not of played it’s goals we need.

    Pea also played well and worked his socks off but even his goal was a right old mess.

    IF we sort out our finishing we should do well, but it’s been a while since we fired up front so it’s certainly a work in progress.

  10. One nil to the Arsenal! At the end of the day it’s all that matters. I’m only taking positives from the game, i.e., Ben White, Gabriel, Partey calming things down and the overall liveliness of the side. I’ve previously stated Smith Rowe and Odegaard can’t play together, but perhaps they can. Tomiyasu is impressive. I may be looking through claret coloured glasses but this was an encouraging performance. To anyone who writes ‘it’s only Norwich’ I have one word – Brentford.

  11. Forgot to mention that the video reviews went our way with Dean at the helm. What’s happening?

  12. Three points. A steer on sanity. Next week another game, another concrete step.

    Well played the lads.

  13. Nitram

    I agree that Pepe played well. It just seems that the players are still learning how to support the runs or finish the key passes off. Pepe had a lot of runs down the right side but we had relatively few high quality chances, why? If you want someone to look bad pass the ball to where he is not where he will be – it takes away his speed…You want a player on the ball to look bad, don’t give him options (overlap, late runner, etc.). At this level, defenders can defend a dribbler on his own. I am not saying our players are doing this on purpose but I will suggest that our xG (for what it is worth) for this match was relatively low despite everything.

  14. goonersinc72

    The guys in the studio were fretting over the possible off side on our goal but in the end, although there wasn’t 2 players between him and the goal when the pass was made to him, he couldn’t be offside because it wasn’t a forward pass to him.

    You cannot be offside if the ball is passed sideways or back, so VAR, or more accurately Dean, would of looked a complete and utter numpty, rather than just an complete numpty if he had disallowed it.

  15. Something is very odd.
    To me, it is abolutely not a given that Auba is not offside. I don’t see the ball before Auba gets it being touched by the goalie but by an Arsenal player.
    And in our box, I expected a penalty against us.
    And there was one foul were I saw the Arsenal player putting his hands/arm around the Norwich players neck from behind.
    What do you think ?

    Maybe they are reading Untold….

    Apart from that, I can’t but think that once we are inside the opponent’s box, we kind of looked harmless. Like the one scene where we were in their box only to pass the ball back all the way to ramsdale. Sure, we kept it, but seriously ? I’d say we were missing a Laca or a Giroud in the center.

    As for the defence, they did well. Apart from being nervous expecting some screw up from the refs, I felt they handled it rather well, even if there were a few scenes were there was misplacement. But that will be corrected.

  16. Chris

    I didn’t see it so I’m only going by what the guys in the studio said but if Auba was behind the ball or it was played sideways or backwards to him then he cannot be offside, no matter who it touches.

    That’s my understanding of the offside rule anyway.

  17. I thought Pepe played well but not according to Martin Keown who as usual has to moan about something. He said on BT sport “It doesn’t seem that Pepe is at the races today.”
    Obviously him being an expert and ex player he surely must know what he is talking about.
    We deserved the win and Norwich were fortunate to only lose by one goal.

  18. Nitram,

    yep, you may be right on this one. Forgot that, just fixated on the who touched it last… !

  19. 30 shots aainst Norwich…. one goal….

    I mean…we are still a work in progress. But we are getting the ball into position, so I guess at some point gaols will come in.

    As for the line-up, I wonder if it was such because of fitness issues or was a representation of who is considered best at the moment which means competition is heating up for starting spots – which I believe is a good thing.

  20. Chris

    That amount of shots suggests we are doing something right.

    I think we had a similar amount of efforts against Bradford. I believe that equates to around 60 Shots in total over 2 matches. I know the opposition has to be taken into account, but that’s a lot of shots, so as I say,something right.

    The problem is the ‘On Goal’ and more importantly the ‘goals For’ Columns.

    Yep, the competition is hotting up, but I think ESR will be a starter.

  21. mick shelly had Pepe as the top rated player with a score of 8.35

    He had 6 shots.

    He had 1 assist.

    He had a pass completion of 88%

    Don’t know what match Keown was watching but it certainly wasn’t the one played at the Emirates today.

    The bigger point here mick is WHY would Keown say what he did when it’s quite clear from what the guys in our studio said and what whoscored say, that he had a great match.

    I know in the main it’s subjective but I’m sorry the man hardly has a decent word to say about us, just like nearly all of our ex players.

  22. On the goal, Auba was onside when Pepe shot, the ball rebounded off the far post and back toward Pepe. At that point, Auba was ahead of Pepe as Pepe went for the rebound but the defender beat him to the ball and knocked it off of the near post. Pepe fell, as the ball came back off the post it bounced off of Pepe who was on the ground and over to Auba who was equal with him. Auba scored.

  23. GGG

    Thanks for the description. Sounds a right mess. I’ll have a look when it comes up on

  24. Contrast these two SKY Sports reports.

    Crystal Palace 3 – 0 Tottenham

    This is how Nick Wright opened his report:

    “Earlier, the depleted visitors had been reduced to 10 men when defender Japhet Tanganga received two yellow cards in the space of five minutes early in the second half,

    Tottenham’s preparations were far from ideal. As well as losing Heung-Min Son and Steven Bergwijn to injuries, Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo had to do without Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez

    Nuno’s under-strength side struggled to assert themselves on the game in the early stages and their problems were compounded when Eric Dier hobbled off injured following a collision with Jordan Ayew.”

    Okay we get it. Spurs were majorly under strength.

    Brentford 2 – 0 Arsenal

    This is Gerard Brands take on Arsenals opening day defeat at Brentford:

    Arsenal’s defense, including new £50m signing Ben White, were struggling to deal with Brentford’s high press

    Apart from in ‘Team News’ his report didn’t mention our absentees once. Not once. But of course £50m Ben White did get a mention.

    These are the stats from the game regarding shots:


    For: 2, 1 on target.

    Against: 18, 4 on target.


    For: 22, 4 on target.

    Against: 8, 3 on target.

    I think you can see what a massive difference there is between the 2 sets of stats. We totally dominated the match but okay we lost 2 nil. Spurs on the other hand were smashed out of the park and lost 3 – 0. Yet these are the marks the respective reporters gave us:

    These are the player scores out of 10:

    Spurs: 6-6-6-5-4-6-6-6-6-7-5 = 65

    Arsenal: 5-7-4-4-4-5-5-7-6-5-5 = 57

    Excuse after excuse for Spurs yet nothing at all for us. And look at those player marks! Despite Spurs mustering just 2 shots and conceding 18 and us having a massive 20 shots and conceding just 8, Spurs players out pointed us. How is that possible?

    I know this isn’t the end of the World, I’m just highlighting an example of how dramatically differently we are both treated by the media. And it happens day after day.

  25. 11 September 2021 at 7:14 PM

    Just back home from the game. It was a good match where Arsenal had several chances but just didn’t seem hungry enough to finish.
    The officials didn’t disappoint and Norwich got away with several yellows and perhaps a red when Auba was pulled down be the last defender.

    Tomiyasu was excellent and showed a lot of class. The subs brought a little difference to the team but the hunger was missing. there was no aggression as PGMOL have an agenda that got both Partey and White yellow cards for fouls that went happily by when Norwich comitted worse.

    3 points and a 1-0 is all we needed, so thank you PGMOL for that.

  26. Nitram is right, Arsenal and Xhaka in particular are treated disgracefully by the media.
    Danny Murphy on the radio after the first games of the season excusing Leeds defeat because Kalvin Phillips wasn’t available to play and then a couple of minutes later that Arsenal couldn’t use the fact of not having about five key players unavailable as an excuse for losing to Brentford. The media are an absolute joke.
    And another thing, since Xhaka received his red card I have seen three or four similar incidents from players of other teams and not one resulted in red cards. Xhaka undoubtedly got his red because it was him, not because of what he did. I believe the ref initially started to get a yellow out but on seeing who the offender was changed his decision to red. He must have known he would have been slaughtered by the media had he only given a yellow.
    The same with Xhaka’s red last season for a throat grab, there have been others similar to that, one I recall by Chilwell, and none of them were punished with red cards. The media are complicit in this, their persistent demonization of Xhaka must influence the way the refs treat him.

  27. mick

    At the time I actually highlighted how the ref initially went for a yellow and seemed, I say seemed as I’m not a mind reader but it looks very suspicious to me, to change his mind when he saw who it was.

    I’ve also seen challenges similar to Xhakas only punished with yellows, and there was a throat grabbed by the Palace player yesterday during the brawl that didn’t see red or even elicit a comment from commentator or pundit.

    I wonder if that mass brawl will be re visited?

  28. And just to add, I also agree with what you say regarding how the media would of reacted had he only given a yellow.

    That is why I keep highlighting how the media treat us because it matters, and it matters because it influences how we are referred.

    I have said on many occasions that I don’t believe the referees to be inherently cheats. I believe they referee in such a manner as to placate the media, who I believe at the end of the day are their judge jury and executioners.

    In the end the referees, as much as they possibly can, referee in such a way that will please the media, and screwing Arsenal always pleases the media, it’s as simple as that.

    Nothing particularly sinister. No brown envelopes or betting scams it’s just a matter of self preservation, it’s as simple as that. Tow the line or get slaughtered on national TV by Lineker Neville and co.

    Referees have been demoted on the back of not refereeing us a manner that they are expected to.

  29. Compare the incident in the Palace Spurs game to Xhaka’s sending off-Tanganga’s assault on Zaha- the first yellow card, not even trying to play the ball attacks the man, resulting in Zaha unsurprisingly retaliating. Then Tanganga-who had clearly lost self control went off at the ref. That was a straight red. Yet the pundits didn’t see it that way. Yes, the ref waived a yellow card a yellow card- but the ref did not address the incident.
    Tanganga committed another yellow card foul two minutes later and was red carded- the fact is his first challenge showed he’d lost control and the ref did not address that- he was a red card waiting to happen.

    Xhakas red card punishment was in my opinion way too harsh-3 match ban for one risky, slightly over rigorous challenge- trying to get the ball, mistimed, no injury, play not stopped for treatment. Was not reckless intent.
    That was a yellow card- should have been a warning.
    Pundits saw it as a dangerous challenge and thought the red card was justified. But then they would- even ex Arsenal pundits – find it difficult to contain their disappointment with how the team are playing allow this to influence their judgements.

    There is inconsistency both in the refereeing and the so called analysis of the pundits. It seems to me obvious that referees and pundits opinions are hugely affected by their preconceived views about the Team and the Player who commits a foul are unacceptably subject to confirmation bias.

    I have no doubt that if the same incident had happened against Liverpool at Anfield Zaha would have been sent off for retaliation because Liverpool players are a completely protected species playing at home- just as Man U were for so many years under Ferguson.

    Both referees and pundits need to be subject to training and meet assessed standards standards in order to treat incidents fairly and respond proportionately- and to minimise bias.
    That seems to be the last thing that the PGMOL or TV media want (like expecting Sky news to be neutral).
    They are what they are- biased.

  30. Referees do not need training!!! They need access to a confessional to make them ready for the maker.

    Yesterday there were seven or more players round the referee following Arsenals goal and not one was booked for dissent. Will the FA charge Norwich with not controlling their players? Time will tell.

    There were several pulls and pushes by Norwich that went without punishment – new tolerance or just The Laws for Arsenal.

    In my opinion the PGMOL are a racially select group of unrepresentative officials that take a knee as a sign of ‘you can’t see me’.

  31. Oliver has been referee in 2 of our 4 matches.

    At this rate we will get him another 17 times this season. No doubt we will get Atkinson for the other fixtures.

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