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Arsenal vs Sunderland team news: Oxlade-Chamberlain and …

Arsenal 1 manager Arsene Wenger 2 has made two changes to the side which drew at Norwich on Sunday. The Frenchman is forced into both of those alterations as Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla recover from problems sustained at Carrow Road. Joel Campbell and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are introduced as Aaron Ramsey drops back to accompany Mathieu Flamini in deep midfield.

Keiran Gibbs, who dropped out of the matchday sqaud to face Norwich with an injury concern, returns to the bench.

Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce makes three changes to his Sunderland team as Jermain Defoe drops out of the squad with injury Arsenal: Cech, Beller n, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Cambell, zil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Walcott, Chambers, Iwobi Sunderland: Pantilimon, Yedlin, van Aanholt, Kaboul, O Shea (c), Coates, Toivonen, M Vila, Watmore, Borini, Fletcher.

References ^ Arsenal (www.standard.co.uk) ^ Arsene Wenger (www.standard.co.uk)

Norwich vs Arsenal – player ratings

1/24 John Ruddy: 3 One careless kick is understandable in the driving rain. But having miscued early on there were no excuses whatsoever for Ruddy s second shank, which led to Arsenal s goal. Three miscued kicks and more than one instance of poor positioning made up a woeful performance.

2/24 Ryan Bennett: 7 The 25-year-old was a commanding presence in the Norwich backline, competing well with Giroud in the air and repelling Arsenal crosses into the area.

3/24 Martin Ollson: 6 Was all too often dragged out of position by Ramsey when he cut infield, giving space for Bellerin to accelerate in to. His covering of the full-back improved in the second half though, as Norwich s resolve stiffened.

4/24 Sebastien Bassong: 6 A mistake-free display from the senior defender, he may not have done anything to seize headlines but he also never gave Alex Neil cause for concern.

5/24 Andre Wisdom: 7 Bombed up and down the right flank despite the threat posed by Sanchez and Monreal, creating his own chances with accurate crossing. Should have received an assist on the stroke of half-time after Hoolahan blew a perfect opportunity to give Norwich the lead.

6/24 Gary O’Neil: 6 Did all that could be asked of him in his chasing of Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal man was often too good for him though, as when he carelessly lost the ball for the opener. But O Neil kept committing to tackles and trying to stem the Arsenal tide.

7/24 Graham Dorrans: 6 His main task seemed to be ensuring that Norwich held the ball on the occasions they were able to get it back from Arsenal, something he achieved without ever doing much more.

8/24 Jonny Howson: 5 Should have offered his team-mates more cover for the marauding Sanchez down the right, particularly as he offered next to nothing going forward. It was little surprise he was the first to make way for Norwich.

9/24 Wes Hoolahan: 5 A quiet day for the Irish playmaker, whose side did not have enough of the ball to get him involved. Blew Norwich s best chance to take the lead late in the first half and should have at least tested Cech from six yards out.

10/24 Robbie Brady: 8 By far the host s most effective attacking force, typified by an assist Ozil would have been proud of to draw Norwich level. His delivery from set-pieces often left Arsenal on the ropes and his ability to find a team-mate in space was remarkable.

11/24 Lewis Grabban: 6 Comfortably kept in check by Mertesacker for 45 minutes but when a chance fell to him he needed no second invitiation, turning well and calmly tucking the ball past Cech. He was not able to get back in the contest again but he had already made a telling contribution.

12/24 Petr Cech: 6 Could do nothing to prevent Grabban bringing Norwich level, and rarely had much to do as the visitors dominated proceedings. After a quiet 70 minutes he produced a spectacular save from a deflected cross to keep Arsenal level.

13/24 Hector Bellerin: 5 Rarely let Norwich s attack get in behind him but was not at his peak going forward. His afternoon was best summed up by his strange decision to shoot at goal from a tight angle when he could have delivered a cross.

2015 Getty Images 14/24 Per Mertesacker: 6 From minute one to minute 90 he didn t put a foot wrong, but then he was rarely tested by a Norwich side intent on holding on to a point.

15/24 Laurent Koscielny: 6 His injury bug struck once more, as he went off in the opening ten minutes due to back-pain.

16/24 Nacho Monreal: 5 Targeted Norwich s lack of numbers on the left flank, getting forward as Wisdom was dragged out of position by Sanchez. But time and again his delivery left a great deal to be desired whilst he found an Arsenal player it was not always the right player in the right position.

17/24 Mathieu Flamini: 6 Much improved from Wednesday s poor showing, Flamini seems to have calmed down and ditched his desire to be in every position at every time. He showed reliability in shielding a backline thrown together ten minutes into the game.

18/24 Aaron Ramsey: 6 An encouraging return to the starting XI for Ramsey, who continued to show his excellent understanding with Ozil and Sanchez. His influence visibly waned later in the second half, but Wenger will be pleased to have him back in contention.

19/24 Santi Cazorla: 7 Made the most of the opportunities Norwich provided him to bring the ball forward from deep, dribbling past opponents at will before teeing up team-mates. Another to suffer a potentially worrying injury, he slowed down significantly in the second half.

20/24 Mesut Ozil: 8 The playmaker has clearly taken on board his manager s wish for him to add greater goal threat to his game. Was immediately alive to the opportunity when Ruddy miscued his kick, finding space as a true poacher should.

21/24 Alexis Sanchez: 8 Consistently found the space to draw Norwich defenders into mistakes. It was little surprise that he was well-placed to profit for the opener. An excellent performance was cut short on the hour with an utterly predictable hamstring injury.

22/24 Olivier Giroud: 4 Whilst his team-mates displayed some sumptuous short passes and flicks around the area the Frenchman was unmoved and unmoving. He contributed next to nothing to the Arsenal attack, at best competing for a few headers.

23/24 Gabriel: 5 Got far too tight to Grabban as the Norwich striker converted to bring the hosts level. His second half got little better, as only a spectacular save from Cech prevented him from chalking up an own goal.

24/24 Joel Campbell: 6 With Arsenal attackers dropping like flies he did his case for further opportunities no harm with a half-hour cameo full of direct running and willingness to get into the right positions.

He may not have the quality of his more illustrious team-mates but that was somewhat compensated for by plenty of effort.

Arsene Wenger defends Arsenal's 14-minute flight ahead of Norwich …

Arsene Wenger 1 has defended Arsenal 2 ‘s decision to take a 14-minute flight to Norwich 3 ahead of their Premier League game with the Canaries on Sunday after saying roadworks has forced the club to fly instead of travel by coach or train. The Gunners were criticised by Plane Stupid 4 , a network of groups that work to try and end short-haul flights, on Friday for opting to take the 14-minute trip by air from Luton Airport to the city instead of travelling by coach – a two-and-a-half-hour journey – or taking a direct train, which would transport the Arsenal squad to Norwich within two hours. But Wenger insisted the club’s decision to fly the 118-mile journey on Saturday night is an exception and was necessary to ensure traffic problems do not delay the team’s trip to Norwich.

In quotes published by the Mirror, Wenger said: “We fly. Saturday night. After dinner here. “When we made the decision there was some roadworks planned.

Sometimes the access to Norwich is difficult, so we decided to fly. But it s not a lot of difference. “We do not fly a lot any more. We take a train or coach.

This is an exception. Now, we have a new coach. “When you go to Birmingham, we took the train a lot because the traffic was impossible on a Friday afternoon on the M1. “Now we found a solution is that we have dinner here and travel afterwards. So we go 7.30 to 9.30 and that usually goes well.

We have no traffic problems. “Before, when you left at 3 o clock, we never knew when we would arrive.” Arsenal also took the decision to fly to Norwich in 2012, which Wenger said at the time was down to trying to overcome a similar issue of roadworks. “Usually we take the train and there was no train available, so in the end we decided to fly because we had to drive up on Friday afternoon at the moment when you never know how long it lasts,” he said.

References ^ Arsene Wenger (www.standard.co.uk) ^ Arsenal (www.standard.co.uk) ^ Norwich (www.standard.co.uk) ^ The Gunners were criticised by Plane Stupid (www.standard.co.uk)

Crystal Palace transfer news: Norwich to return for Dwight Gayle in …

1/5 How to draw a line under the home headaches? Now is the time for Palace to prove their struggles in SE25 are behind them. The Eagles managed just one win from home games against the sides who finished 13th or lower last term, suffering defeats to Sunderland, Aston Villa, West Brom and Hull at Selhurst Park.

There is a sense that Alan Pardew’s men have turned a corner, grinding out home wins against West Brom and Villa already this season, but defeats to West Ham, Manchester City and Arsenal have dampened the positivity. With back-to-back home matches against strugglers Sunderland and Newcastle after the international break it is imperative Alan Pardew’s men string together two results in their bid to better last year’s 10th-place finish. Defeat at home to the Black Cats 12 months ago left Palace level on points with the drop zone but victory this time can help the propel the Eagles towards the top six.

A bitesize reminder of the importance of such encounters. Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images 2/5 How can Pardew get the squad believing? “The problem with this team is it doesn’t trust how good it can be,” Pardew said after the win at Liverpool. In his current 25-man squad, the Palace manager has six players who helped the club out of the Championship and a further eight who joined in the ensuing eight months to help the Eagles defy the odds and stay up under Tony Pulis.

It is in the DNA of much of the squad to scrap for survival, but their ability far exceeds a lower mid-table finish and Pardew must continue unlocking that potential. Narrow defeats to Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham – and failure to kill of Manchester United last month – reinforced the idea that Palace have something of a mental block when it comes to facing elite sides. Indeed, all Palace’s dropped points this term have come against the current top six.

The sooner victories like those against Chelsea and Liverpool are viewed as less than exceptional, the sooner they will become such.

3/5 Can Mile Jedinak force his way into contention? Mile Jedinak was on the brink of a departure to Stoke on transfer deadline day, but remained after failing to agree terms with the Britannia Stadium club. Dwight Gayle was another set to leave, but reports of an imminent new deal suggest he has carved out a future for himself in SE25.

And captian Jedinak, who has a column in the Palace matchday programme, has outlined his commitment to the club ahead of the January window. “Absolutely I want to stay,” he said. “I ve made that very clear. It s a club that s given me an awful lot and I will continue to fight.” The enforcer’s loyalty is impressive, but he has slowly fallen out of first-team reckoning under Alan Pardew, playing just 87 Premier League minutes this season and failing to make the squad for the recent trip to Liverpool. If the creative Yohan Cabaye is pushed forward, however, Joe Ledley is primed to assume position ahead of Jedinak as things stand.

4/5 How best to reinforce in January? When the transfer window slammed shut in September it became apparent Palace had missed out on central defender Michael Hector to Chelsea at the eleventh hour. We had a deal for Michael Hector at Reading and that was a done deal.

We thought we had that one,” Steve Parish said in September. The deal would’ve appeased many fans who had been demanding a central defender to challenge Damien Delaney and Brede Hangeland for position alongside Scott Dann in the heart of Palace’s defence. But Delaney’s solid performances at the back and a lack of cutting edge up top has deflected attention ahead of the January window.

Indeed, not one striker has scored for Crystal Palace this season and Connor Wickham’s recent injury absence made crystal clear Palace’s dearth of options in the final third. Despite Marouane Chamakh’s (remember him?) return to fitness, another striker must top Pardew’s hit list in the New Year.

5/5 Is there a future at Crystal Palace for Patrick Bamford? Alan Pardew suggested he will consider sending Patrick Bamford back to Chelsea in January if he fails to seize his opportunity at Crystal Palace before the New Year.

The 22-year-old is yet to make a Premier League start for the Eagles this season, making just three appearances and failing to score. His failure to break into the side has come despite Connor Wickham’s extended spell on the sidelines and Pardew’s indecision over an appropriate deputy. The Palace boss has started Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle, Fraizer Campbell and Bakary Sako ahead of Bamford and Wickham’s proposed return to the XI further damages the Chelsea man’s chances of a start.

If he does not play any real time between now and January, we will have to look at it,” Pardew said last month.

And Palace’s thumping defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup cut short another avenue of possible game time for Bamford.

He faces a real battle to save his Palace career.