3oth April 2016: Protests prepared as we welcome Norwich

Welcome back. We host Norwich later of course and although I usually wake on a match day with a feeling of excited anticipation, today I’m a little indifferent. The planned fan protests, together with the lowly opposition and the lack of title significance, has morphed the fixture into one I wouldn’t mind missing. I’m just not up for it like I usually am.

We’re nearing the end of the season and although we still need points to secure a Champions League place and could yet catch Tottenham in the league, the fact we can’t win it now has drained my interest. I must be a fair-weather fan.  Hopefully the players aren’t feeling the same way later though, because despite battling relegation, Norwich will be far from easy opponents, as Arsene suggested at his pre-match press conference yesterday. He said:

Norwich are a team who plays more so we have to stop them from combining well. For us, it is important for us to score early if possible to put them under pressure and play at a high pace. No, I don’t know (if Norwich are underdogs in the relegation fight). It is very difficult to predict at the bottom of the league what will happen because you have Newcastle, Sunderland, Norwich and it is very difficult to predict because as well it is a nerve problem.

In terms of team selection I’d bring back Francis Coquelin and Danny Welbeck and drop Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud if I was picking the team but wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the latter pair keep their starting places from last week’s draw at Sunderland. Santi Cazorla should be on the bench and Jack Wilshere’s a potential starter I suppose but elsewhere the team pretty much picks itself.

The protests planned for the 12th and 78th minutes in reference to our 12-year wait for the Premier League crown will be a side-show today of course, unless they’re so dramatic that they drown out the action.

As I suggested earlier this week, I think the protests are justified and will ideally be drivers for more ambitious transfer dealings this summer by the club but I just hope they don’t a) adversely affect the players’ performance and b) aren’t abusive towards anyone. Calling for change is fine and indeed welcome as far as I’m concerned, calling someone a c*nt is not. Unless it’s Jose Mourinho. Then it’s fine and you might want to throw in ‘massive’ as a prefix.

Right. That’s all I can muster for today.

Back tomorrow.

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