Norwich are scheduled to host Arsenal on Boxing Day, aiming for an unlikely result to ease relegation fears.
Despite a promising start to his tenure at Carrow Road, Dean Smith has seen his side really struggle of late. Now sitting at the foot of the Premier League table and without a victory in five attempts, three defeats on the bounce – including a measly 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last time out – have spelt real danger for the Canaries.
Things don’t get easier on Sunday either. In order to give their fans something to cheer about, the hosts will have to overcome a high-flying Arsenal side who have won their previous four in all competitions and occupy a place inside the league’s top four.
Here’s how Smith could line up on the day.
Tim Krul (GK) – Played every minute of Norwich’s Premier League campaign thus far – give him a medal – and has, in fairness, managed three clean sheets.
Max Aarons (RB) – Given his undoubted potential, the 21-year-old has somewhat disappointed this term – he’s a stalwart in the side, however.
Ozan Kabak (CB) – The Turkey international has been passed fit for this one, having previously been considered a doubt.
Ben Gibson (CB) – Central defence is one of Smith’s most heavily-hit areas, so Gibson should be in line for a seventh appearance in eight outings here.
Brandon Williams (LB) – Has been an ever-present under Smith – apart from missing Norwich’s game against parent club Manchester United – and will surely continue as Arsenal visit.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – Has started all but one game since Smith took charge at Carrow Road and should be in line to feature once more.
Jacob Sorensen (CM) – Could make a third consecutive start after Mathias Normann was further ruled out with an injury setback.
Kenny McLean (CM) – Hasn’t missed a game since the opening day and will continue at the heart of the side for Norwich’s Boxing Day match-up.
Przemyslaw Placheta (RW) – Was one of his side’s brighter sparks against Villa last time out – not saying much – and should be set for a third successive start.
Teemu Pukki (ST) – Pukki is responsible for 62.5% of the Canaries’ Premier League goals this term; there’s only one option up top.
Todd Cantwell (LW) – Put in an atrocious showing against Villa but, despite Adam Idah and Kieran Dowell waiting in the wings, could be afforded another opportunity here.