Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Arsenal v Norwich
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to secure a 2-0 win against Norwich City in the Premier League on Wednesday night
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to continue their winning run with a 2-0 victory over Norwich City at The Emirates on Wednesday night.
The Gunners booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals at the weekend thanks to Dani Ceballos’ late winner in a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Arsenal have made an unconvincing return to Premier League action following successive losses to Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion.
However, Mikel Arteta’s men were 2-0 winners against an in-form Southampton side last week ahead of their success in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday evening.
The Gunners will take on a Norwich side still reeling from their 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup after Harry Maguire netted a winner in the 118th minute of extra-time.
Former Liverpool FC defender Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to beat Norwich to bolster their outside hopes of securing a spot in European club football next term.
“Arsenal sneaked into the FA Cup semi-finals by beating Sheffield United on Sunday and they enjoyed a bit of good fortune in their win over Southampton in the league last week too,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“That’s football, though, and it should give them a bit of a lift – not that they should need it against Norwich.
“I agreed with Canaries boss Daniel Farke, who described their FA Cup defeat by United as ‘lose lose’ because they played 120+ minutes and had Timm Klose sent off, and suspended.
“They worked so hard to end up with nothing and, in terms of the end result, they would have been better off losing with 11 men inside 90 minutes. That sounds strange, but it was basically what Farke was saying.
“He can take some positives from Norwich’s performance, of course, but I don’t recall them creating too much in any of their games so far. I cannot see them opening Arsenal up.
“Assuming they are victorious, that would make it three wins in a row for the Gunners but, even if it happens, it would not mean they have turned a corner, or anything significant like that. You just cannot trust them as a team or know what they are going to do next and that situation has not suddenly changed.
“As I said on Football Focus on Saturday, Arsenal have got as many problems off the pitch as on it, when they used to be so good at both.
“It is a massive job for Mikel Arteta to turn things around, and he cannot do it on his own. I look at that club and think ‘where are they going?’ because they really need a strategy and an idea of how to sort their recruitment out before anything is going to change.
“They need a leader in that department, with a definitive plan. Arsenal’s former co-owner and vice-chairman David Dein, who left in 2007, must look at them and think ‘what the heck has happened?'”
Arsenal will be without Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers and Lucas Torreira for the visit of Norwich as Arteta’s injury problems continue to mount.
David Luiz is also a fitness concern following his injury in the FA Cup quarter-final, with the Brazilian fresh from agreeing a one-year contract extension at the north London side.
Arsenal are in ninth position and 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC in the race to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League competition.
The Gunners have failed to qualify for the Champions League in the last four seasons under Arsene Wenger and his replacement Unai Emery.
Arsenal have won five of their last seven games in all competitions, although they’ve only managed to secure draws on their last two visits to Carrow Road.