Under the guidance of the superb Paul Lambert, Norwich City have thus far defied their preseason tags of favourites for relegation to sit in ninth in the table, but their Premier League credentials will be seriously tested by a revitalised Arsenal side boasting five wins in six games.
Although the Canaries are sitting in the lofty heights of the top half of the table, Norwich have won just one of their last five games and are currently negotiating an unhelpful set of injuries to key personnel in their defence. Daniel Ayala, Elliott Ward and Zak Whitbread are nearing a needed return but none of the aforementioned are likely to be available for Arsenal's visit.
Lambert must decide on his formation having experiment with 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 in recent weeks. If the ex-Celtic midfielder opts for the former against Arsenal, the increasingly impressive Grant Holt will partner the equally imposing Steve Morison in attack. Should the Norwich City manager revert to 4-5-1, David Fox could drop into midfield to supplement a loan attack of the aforementioned Wales international, while Bradley Johnson will be eager to make an impression against the club that released him as a 15-year-old.
In contrast, Arsenal have made a mockery of the doom-mongers who revelled in their early season malaise that reached its nadir during the 8-2 defeat against Manchester United. Arsene Wenger was under increasing pressure, but following their defeat against their bitter Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal have won four on the bounce including the 5-3 win over Chelsea.
The visitors will be without Kieran Gibbs following the young English left-back's recent groin surgery, while Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna are also side-lined, so Johan Djourou will continue in their absence. Arsene Wenger must decide who partners Thomas Vermealen in defence, with Per Mertesacker rivalling Laurent Koscielny for a return to the starting XI.
The Frenchman will probably persist with Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey supplementing the prolific Robin Van Persie in attack, and the Arsenal boss will undoubtedly settle for the same score-line the Gunners registered on their last visit to Carrow Road. Goals by Jose Antonio Reyes, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp in August 2004, helped Arsenal to a 4-1 win over Norwich.
Wenger believes Norwich's current league position is a measure of the competitiveness of the Championship, and he has backed Paul Lambert's side to beat the drop this season.
"It indicates what I have said many times - the quality in the Championship has improved," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.
"When you speak about the likes of Swansea, Norwich and QPR they have beaten good sides.
"All three teams play football. The quality of their intensity and desire to play football in the Premier League has gone up.
"It looks like [the newly-promoted teams] will [stay around]. You cannot just win games on desire and commitment. If you can master the ball, that can last."
Lambert is acutely aware of the task his side faces in the early Saturday kick-off, suggesting Norwich will have to be disciplined in order to stifle Arsenal's obvious attacking qualities.
"We cannot let them play. They have smacked better teams than us. So we can't let them come here and for us to be lovely little Norwich. We have to have a plan." Lambert said.
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Fox, Johnson, Bennett, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Morison
Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho