Norwich vs Arsenal preview: Smith has Covid selection worries

Norwich vs Arsenal preview: Smith has Covid selection worries

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Norwich vs Arsenal in the Premier League on Boxing Day; kick-off 3pm.

Team news

Norwich head coach Dean Smith is again dealing with coronavirus concerns ahead of the Premier League match against Arsenal on Boxing Day.

The club are waiting on PCR results to determine who will be available, having seen the previous game at West Ham called off because of depleted numbers.

Forward Milot Rashica (groin) is not yet back in contention, while defensive midfielder Mathias Normann is set for an extended spell on the sidelines following pelvic surgery. Captain Grant Hanley (shoulder), defenders Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) and Andrew Omobamidele (back) are all still out.

Arsenal are expected to be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a fifth consecutive match following his recent internal disciplinary action.

The forward has already been stripped of the captaincy and boss Mikel Arteta was non-committal when asked about the availability of the Gabon international on Wednesday, who is set to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations next month.

Sead Kolasinac (ankle) is also absent for the Gunners while Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Albert Sambi Lokonga have all tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days.

How to follow

Follow Norwich vs Arsenal in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Boxing Day.

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Jones Knows prediction

Norwich have failed to score against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal this season, losing all of those matches to nil. There’s no need to overcomplicate matters for this fixture, so backing another win to nil for Arsenal at 5/4 with Sky Bet looks a smart play.

Since the Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale axis was formed, Arsenal have not conceded a goal before the 38th minute in those 14 fixtures. It’s providing Mikel Arteta with a fantastic platform to work with and results are going their way.

Arsenal’s record under Arteta against relegation-threatened teams also should instil plenty of confidence in a comfortable away day win without conceding. The Gunners beat all the relegated teams away from home without conceding last season to an aggregate score of 8-0 and have already seen off Burnley, Newcastle, Watford and Norwich while keeping clean sheets this season.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal to win to nil (5/4 with Sky Bet)

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