Arsenal will visit the Premier League’s bottom side Norwich City on Boxing Day, looking to keep their chase of a top-four spot on track after four straight wins in league and cup.
The Gunners face a home team that has only won twice all season after cruising to their 10th top-flight victory against Leeds and then serenely progressing to the EFL Cup semi-finals.
Arsenal is still concerned about the fitness of first-choice right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who was forced off early against Leeds due to a muscle injury. The former Bologna defender, who has been a constant presence since signing, was forced to sit out the EFL Cup fixture in midweek and could be forced to do so again on Sunday.
Calum Chambers is the latest member of Mikel Arteta’s team to contract COVID-19, following Albert Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari in quarantine, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been absent due to another sickness.
Arteta has previously named the same starting lineup for four Premier League games in a row, and he is set to leave out sacked captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in favor of Alexandre Lacazette upfront.
Meanwhile, the viral epidemic in Norwich’s camp has not been contained, with players like Josh Sargent and Christos Tzolis returning to training ahead of Arsenal’s visit, but additional undisclosed squad members testing positive for COVID-19 this week.
After the Villa game, Billy Gilmour and Dimitris Giannoulis reported feeling unwell, but they could still be selected. However, Milot Rashica (groin) and Andrew Omobamidele (back) of the Republic of Ireland are still out injured.
Following his Premier League debut against Tottenham, midfielder Jacob Sorensen has been called upon to step in at center-back for parts of both subsequent games, filling in for Grant Hanley (shoulder) and Ozan Kabak (calf), both of whom are doubtful for this weekend. He could now return to the engine room to cover for Mathias Normann, who is injured.
Norwich City possible starting lineup: Krul; Aarons, Kabak, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Sorensen, McLean; Dowell, Pukki, Cantwell
Arsenal possible starting lineup: Ramsdale; Soares, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Party; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette