Arsenal demolished Norwich as a clinical performance saw the Gunners win 4-0 to boost their Champions League hopes and put another dent in Norwich’s survival hopes.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made the most of two defensive errors from Norwich, while Granit Xhaka swept home after an Aubameyang assist and Cedric Soares scored on his debut to see off the spirited Canaries with ease.
With the win Arsenal move on to 46 points and climb to seventh in the table, while Norwich remain bottom on 21 points.
Three things we learned
1. Arsenal mean business: There was minimum fuss to this Arsenal win. Mikel Arteta’s side made the most of Norwich’s mistakes and punished them. Arsenal never had to get out of second or third gear. They have now won three on the spin in all competitions.
2. Restart has hit Norwich hard: Norwich have lost all four of their games since the restart and Daniel Farke’s side look like they’re struggling fitness wise. They are bottom of the table and although they have yet to pick up a point since the restart, they are seven points from safety with six games to go. They could still survive and did come close to scoring but defensively big errors cost them dear, just like they have all season long.
3. Arteta has so many options: Arteta shuffled his pack and left out Saka, Pepe and Nketiah, while Cedric, Willock and Holding came on. Arsenal have a fully fit squad and Arteta has a lot of options. They may not qualify for the Champions League but their squad is deep and Arteta can keep his players fresh and fired up. Arsenal finally seem to be over the worst of their injury problems, even though Sokratis, Chambers, Leno and Torreira remain out.
Man of the Match
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Two goals and an assist, while his overall leadership has been evident since the defeat at Brighton. He is the fastest Arsenal player in Premier League history to reach 50 goals and only five players in PL history have done it quicker than in his 79 appearances. My goodness, Arsenal need him to sign a new contract.
Arsenal started well as Hector Bellerin was making inroads down the right flank and Aubameyang was popping up in dangerous areas.
Norwich were solid enough in the first half as Tim Krul easily saved a header from Alexandre Lacazette and Krul also denied Aubameyang.
Ben Godfrey surged from center back and smashed an effort against the post from distance as Norwich came so close to opening the scoring.
Lacazette then scuffed a shot in the box as Arsenal pinned Norwich back and moments later they took the lead. Aubameyang closed down Krul and forced him into a mistake, as he picked up the ball and rolled it into an empty net. A huge error from Krul as Aubameyang’s pressure was too much for him to handle.
Arsenal doubled their lead as Kieran Tierney played in Aubameyang and he cut it back for Xhaka to slot home at the near post. Emiliano Martinez produced a fine stop right on half time to keep out Kenny McLean’s free kick.
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Adam Idah almost made it the perfect start to the second half for Norwich, as the half time sub forced Martinez into a save down low. Onel Hernandez and Josip Drmic also came on at the break as Pukki, Buendia and Trybull came off.
Hernandez then smashed just over as Norwich took the game to Arsenal in the second half. That left the Canaries open and Drmic played the ball straight to Aubameyang who slotted home his second and Arsenal’s third to seal the win in style.
There was time for Arsenal to bring on Soares for his debut and the right back saw his left-footed effort deflect into the bottom corner as the Gunners won 4-0 and rubbed further salt into Norwich’s wounds.