Coming back from a much-needed break, Arsenal faces fellow bottom-of-the-table club Norwich City.
This is a match that Arsenal should win and hopefully should be somewhat closer to the full-strength team that they will use going forward. It was a bit of a joke that the three matches before were still "preseason" and the real season starts here but it is probably a good frame of mind for Arsenal to have going forward.
To beat last season's 61 points and to challenge for 5th/6th place which my simulation model puts at on average 65.5 and 62 points Arsenal will need to average between 1.77 and 1.86 points per match, which is pretty close to a 4th place points pace.
Normally I'd love to dig deeper into the team that Arsenal are facing but Norwich don't have a big sample of Premier League matches yet this season so I will present what they did last year, but with the caveat that they will probably play much like that against Arsenal on Satu
Norwich in the Championship:
Norwich was a good Championship team, but in a way that has not tended to translate into success for promotion. They also lost their best player in Emi Buendia and looked to replace him with wingers more suited for a defend and counter style.
The leaders for the various stats:
The chart below shows where Norwich created threat from.
The big red area on the right-center is where Buendia liked to operate.
Next will be shots and key passes.
Lastly will be looking at where they did their defensive actions.
Player to watch
Normally based on things I would have said Emi Buendia but he plays for Aston Villa now. He was "THE GUY" for them last year and I still think it will be really interesting how they adjust without him.
So instead I will look at a player that has been sort of linked with Arsenal in Max Aarons.
Arsenal should be in a good position to grab all three points but I really wish that this was tilted even more in Arsenal's favor. Only 59% feels tough (but maybe fair) from my model, the betting odds (from Pinnacle) are more favorable to Arsenal giving Arsenal a 66% chance of winning, with FiveThirtyEight slightly more pessimistic than my model with a 58% chance of Arsenal claiming all three points.
I really don't know what I should expect from this match, Arsenal has been a bit of a shambles in defense but also played two of the best teams in the world. In attack, Arsenal had a bunch of low-quality shots against Brentford and then not much against Chelsea and just one against Manchester City.
Norwich's current stats show similar things from similarly hard opening matches. They also created just the one shot against Manchester City, but showed a bit more resistance (with an extra man) to keep City away from their goal. Against Liverpool, Norwich was kind of close in everything except the score (15 shots to 19, 1.4 xG to 2) and against Leicester City they maybe deserved more than a loss.
Overall, this feels like a good match to try to get a better read on where exactly Arsenal are this season, and hopefully, we like it.