Regrets? Farke certainly has one big one ahead of City’s Arsenal test
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Daniel Farke suggested Arsenal’s flexibility has made his life harder to prepare. But spare a thought for Mikel Arteta trying to second guess a depleted Norwich City line-up.
Ben Godfrey is the only available centre back option, and with Sam Byram already out for the season, and Max Aarons (calf) a doubt for the trip to the Emirates, Farke has even less room for manoeuvre.
Timm Klose’s red card on FA Cup duty against Manchester United might provide some respite for the fit-again defender, but it has done nothing for his head coach’s selection headaches.
“After 18 months out it might be good to give his body some time to recover but it leaves us in a pretty difficult situation,” said Farke. “We have key defenders out, some under-23 options also injured. It’s tricky and complicated.
“We have one key defender available and that is Ben Godfrey. We will find a solution.
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“Alex Tettey has played this role, Jamal Lewis has also played this role and perhaps there is the option to switch to a different formation.
“The last two games for me we have looked solid and we need to add that last little bit in terms of efficiency and I am definitely confident we can win points.”
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Todd Cantwell is fit after his early FA Cup injury exit but Lukas Rupp (hip) remains an injury doubt.
Rupp had his best day in a Norwich shirt for Farke against Manchester United in a stubborn set-up that tried to hit on the counter.
“If I am honest since the beginning of the season this was in my mind.
“You have to be there with a solid set up to be successful on this level,” said Farke. “We have many possession-based players but with those defensive injuries we struggled with the balance.
“We have proved in these last two games we can get that solidity in our defending, and that builds trust to start building the offensive game.
“Against United we were controlling the centre of the park but then when we fell behind we had to risk more, and even in this period we were still solid.”
Arsenal’s attacking armoury, now under the control of former Gunner Arteta, will test City’s resolve.
“They have an unbelievable amount of quality players, particularly in attack,” said Farke. “When Mesut Ozil is not even in the travelling squad sometimes or in the last game they were able to rest a world class striker in (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, a player who will score you 20 goals a season, it says a lot. Mikel has brought a new energy into the club.
“He worked under Pep Guardiola so he is flexible in his approach, in his base formation, and that means it is hard to set up a team against them because they can always have a few surprises.”
Adam Idah (quad) is another option who could miss out tonight but Farke is also mindful to protect both him and Josh Martin over a fraught run in.
“If we were in a better position and couldn’t be relegated then you can maybe give youngsters some more game time, but we are under pressure,” he said. “We need to win football games.
“I want the players who can help us but this is a sign of our way to have at least six academy products in the last squad.
“I am not sure any Premier League club have had this recently.
“If I feel they can make an impact they will get a chance. Of course they won’t be involved each and every minute or even in the matchday squads but I trust then and I am not scared to play them because they are young.”