Norwich v Arsenal: a huge upturn in injuries and the gap between the leagues.



by Bulldog Drummond

So as we have seen Arsenal are in a much stronger position now than when we played Norwich for the first time this season, after the three home defeats in the league.

The cause of those early defeats of course was the import of a completely new defence and the fact that they had to learn the art of defending without tackles.  That they slowly did, and as a result, we have climbed from 20th to fourth.  Norwich however lurk still in dangerous waters.

Injuries and illnesses of late have shot up across the league – figures and details here as ever are taken from Premier Injuries.   So while we have normally just had two or three men down, now it has suddenly risen to seven.

However such is the outbreak of injuries and illness that even with seven men out, we are in the group of clubs placed between 10th and 14th in terms of total injury numbers.

  1. Brighton and Hove Albion: 12
  2. Leeds United: 11
  3. Leicester City: 10
  4. Norwich City: 10
  5. Aston Villa: 9
  6. Everton: 9
  7. Liverpool: 9
  8. Chelsea: 8
  9. Watford: 8
  10. Arsenal: 7
  11. Brentford: 7
  12. Manchester United: 7
  13. Newcastle United: 7
  14. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 7
  15. Southampton: 5
  16. West Ham: 5
  17. Burnley: 4
  18. Manchester City: 4
  19. Tottenham Hotspur: 4
  20. Crystal Palace: 2

So onto the detail – we have three men out with covid and four others out with something else.

Player Injury Details Return date Status
Sead Kolasinac Ankle/Foot Injury Nov 25: “Sead is progressing well in the early stages of his rehab with the current aim to be back in full training in January.” 22/01/2022 Ruled out
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Suspended Dec 21: “We will go game by game and we will decide the squad as we get closer to [kick-off].” 26/12/2021 Late Fitness Test, 25% chance
Takehiro Tomiyasu Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Dec 18: “We decided to take him off, he wasn’t 100 per cent confident to continue in the game, and hopefully he’s not injured.” 26/12/2021 Late Fitness Test, 75% chance
Ainsley Maitland-Niles Illness Unspecified 26/12/2021 Late Fitness Test 75% chance
Albert-Mboyo Sambi Lokonga Illness Coronavirus (COVID-19) No Return Date Ruled out
Pablo Mari Villar Illness Coronavirus (COVID-19) No Return Date Ruled out
Calum Chambers Illness Coronavirus (COVID-19) No Return Date Ruled out

The Norwich number looks very high and includes four coronavirus cases, although three of those four players are rated at 50% possible to play. Mathias Normann is injured but rated as having a 75% chance to play.

Norwich are the lowest scoring team in the league with just eight goals scored so far.  The next lowest team is Wolverhampton Wands with 13.  (Arsenal have scored 27).

In terms of defence, they have conceded 34.  Two teams have done worse – Leeds who have let in 36 and the Newcastle billionaires with 41.  Arsenal have conceded 23.  Norwich thus have the worst goal difference in the entire league with a rating of -26.

To compare their plight with last season after 17 games Norwich are 24 points worse off and have a goal difference that is 31 goals worse.   Also Fulham, who went down last season, had gained 11 points after just 15 games last season (one more point than Norwich after two fewer games) – and still were relegated.  It will need a huge turn around for Norwich to avoid another drop.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Norwich City 2020/21 (Champ) 17 10 4 3 23 16 7 34
20 Norwich City 2021/22 (Prem) 17 2 4 11 8 34 -26 10

So everything continues to point to the huge gap between the Premier League and the Championship, due to the money.

Finally a word about goal scorers.  Last season Teemu Pukki was their top scorer with 26 goals – it was his third season as the top man.  This season in 17 games he has scored five of the club’s goals.  Three other players have one goal each.  At this rate he will get 11 by the end of the season.

Thus if Arsenal want to limit their achievements of Norwich on the pitch then their best approach must be to stop him from getting the ball.  That’s it.

Norwich v Arsenal: the Boxing Day preview part 1