Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Norwich City holds sloppy Arsenal

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Arsenal needed two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to take a point from Norwich City at Carrow Road, a 2-2 draw which doomed the Gunners to their worst season start since 1975.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The draw comes in the first match after Arsenal fired Unai Emery, as interim boss Freddie Ljungberg oversaw another defensively-challenged performance.

Arsenal needed a number of sensational saves from Bernd Leno to get their point, which leaves them 8th with 19 points.

[ MORE: Ljungberg reacts ]

Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell scored for Norwich City, who sits 19th with their 11th point.


Three things we learned

1. Gunners defense invites Pukki and friends to party: Emery may be gone, but it didn’t instantly fix the Gunners’ defensive woes. Norwich City went ahead when Pukki used a clever change of direction to open up for a perfect Kenny McLean through ball, then watched as the Arsenal backs allowed him to turn and dribble to space for a shot that turned off Chambers and past Leno. The Cantwell goal wasn’t too different, and Bernd Leno was outstanding in denying what could’ve easily been a number of additional goals.

2. VAR denies Krul penalty save: Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul has been a penalty-stopping marvel for years, but he was denied his fourth season stop from the spot when VAR spotted his plant leg off the line before he saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s effort. Don’t get us wrong: He left his line and this isn’t VAR’s fault as much as it’s the law. In some cases like this, it’s illogical to expect a keeper to hit the line every time unless you make him start inside the goal. Perhaps the idea is to make penalties more automatic, but it’s a tough but correct application from VAR that allowed Arsenal a brief respite.

EDIT: The call was apparently against Max Aarons, who entered the box before Aubameyang’s effort and was the first to touch the rebound. As you were.

3. Cantwell continues to raise profile: Norwich City’s 21-year-old midfielder collected his fourth goal of the season to go with two assists. Born 25 miles from Carrow Road, he’s averaging 1.3 key passes and 1.3 successful dribbles per game in helping the Canaries find, perhaps, their next James Maddison.

Man of the Match: Aubameyang — Saved penalty aside, the Gabonese goal collector gave the Gunners plenty to like (again) in scoring his 52nd and 53rd Arsenal goals (in 82 appearances).


It was mostly Arsenal early, though Onel Hernandez led a 17th minute charge that led to a hard shot directly to Bernd Leno.

Tim Krul produced more brilliance typical of his season with a flying slap of Calum Chambers‘ header.

That’s when Pukki finished Norwich’s lightning counter, calmly turning the ball onto his right foot for a shot that deflected past Leno.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The score line looked set to change within moments, as Mesut Ozil‘s spun free kick was slapped out of the air by Zimmermann.

Krul came off his line to best Aubameyang’s spot kick, and VAR didn’t let the nominal distance sway it: Aubameyang bagged the re-kick despite Krul’s obnoxious hypeman antics on the touch line.

Norwich retook the lead in the second minute of stoppage time, Cantwell scoring for the second-straight match.

Leno continues to perform well for Arsenal under siege, splaying to make a world-class save on McLean at the hour mark.

Arsenal blows home lead, fails to clinch

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Daichi Kamada scored twice in the second half as Eintracht Frankfurt extended Arsenal’s winless run to seven matches with a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

The Gunners still lead the group with 10 points, with Eintracht moving a point behind them. The Gunners travel to Standard Liege for the finale, with the Belgians three points back.

[ MORE: Emery reacts to loss, Xhaka ]

Arsenal is winless in seven matches across all competitions, and manager Unai Emery is in trouble.

Granit Xhaka returned to the Starting XI for the first time since getting booed off the field and reacting with vigor, and was possibly the Gunners’ Man of the Match in the loss.

Arsenal led at the break through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who slashed a dummied pass inside the near post after some fine work from Bukayo Saka.

Japanese midfielder Kamada scored in the 55th minute to tie things up and made it 2-1 less than 10 minutes later, his second and third goals to go with six assists in 24 matches since arriving from Belgian side Sint-Truidense.

[ MORE: Wolves clinch place ]

Here’s Arsenal’s goal:

Xhaka stripped of Arsenal captaincy; Aubameyang takes over

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Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy as one of the final dominoes to fall in the wake of his confrontational actions toward the Arsenal fans who booed him off the field last month.

[ MORE: Son’s red card for tackle on Gomes overturned ]

Unai Emery announced on Tuesday that Xhaka will surrender the captain’s armband with immediate effect and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take over the honorary position. Xhaka has been left out of the Arsenal squad for Wednesday’s Europa League clash away to Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes.

The only remaining question to be answered is whether or not Xhaka remains an active Arsenal player for the rest of November and all of December, which could then be followed by a month on nonstop speculation during the January transfer window.

Emery didn’t indicate whether Xhaka lost the captaincy for his actions alone, or his refusal to offer an outright apology to the club’s fans, as Emery made it known to all that he thought Xhaka should do.

[ MORE: Raheem Sterling in talks over TV series ]

The 27-year-old said the following in a statement on Instagram last month:

“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply. I love this club and always give 100 percent on and off the pitch.

“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply.

“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs,’ ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Emery’s use of attackers may be his Arsenal downfall

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When the Premier League season began, many joked that Arsenal was built to try and outscore teams 3-2 each week over 38 weeks.

It was a nod to the Gunners’ extraordinary attacking prowess and limited defensive additions. Arsenal had signed three defenders in the summer, one who wouldn’t arrive until the following season (William Saliba*) and another who would miss some time with injury (Kieran Tierney).

The third was David Luiz.

So it isn’t surprising that the Gunners are still allowing goals. It is surprising that they are not scoring more, and perhaps a bit stunning that the expected goals table says that Unai Emery‘s men aren’t even hard luck victims.

Arsenal has scored 16 goals and allowed 15 through 11 match days, but the xG table says the North London outfit has actually finished a bit better their chances and been worse on the other end (15 xG for, 17 xGA).

Luiz has made several head scratching errors to go with his wonderful long passes and forays forward. He’s a player capable of both the ethereal and the tragic, not unlike Granit Xhaka, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that a move across London.

There are plenty of reasons to be upset with the defense, of course, and it’s one thing if that anger is put at the board instead of Emery. The league-worst 7.7 interceptions per game points a bit to the tactics, but there’s no question the Gunners have made mistakes above field level even if the Laurent Koscielny exit to Bordeaux caught them by surprise.

But what should be damning is what Emery has been unable to do with an unbelievable batch of attackers. Given Nicolas Pepe to go with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the tactician has not been able to find a way to play them together. Breakout teens Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were both used over unused sub Pepe on Saturday despite the Ivorian not playing in the midweek League Cup loss to Liverpool.

Don’t get us wrong, both players are exciting pieces for the future, but the decision is so short-sighted (let alone that Emery put on Saka for Lucas Torreira with a one-goal lead and 17 minutes to play. Perhaps coincidental but no surprise tha it was 1-1 three minutes later).

Some if not many have argued that Pepe has been a disappointment since arriving in a mega money deal from Ligue 1, and the 24-year-old’s three goals and three assists in exactly 800 minutes in all competitions certainly aren’t eye-popping from a player who scored 22 and 11 in 3300 at Lille last season.

Yet Pepe is capable of the sensational, as evidenced by his pair of free kick goals in 15 minutes off the bench in the Europa League on Oct. 15. He’s third in the PL in successful dribbles (34) and is the 19th ranked player by SofaScore and 24th in WhoScored’s ratings. That’s the best of any Arsenal player, with Aubameyang 38th and 62nd according to both sites, respectively.

And stats say Pepe has been somewhat unlucky in PL play to boot, with one actual goal to go with 3 expected goals. His xG plus xA per contest is below only Lacazette and level with Aubameyang.

Arsenal is ninth in the PL in key passes, with 12.9 per game. Pepe’s 1.7 are behind only Mesut Ozil, whose sample size is two matches.

Look at this pass from Pepe to Lacazette between three bodies to set up Arsenal’s first goal in its memorable North London Derby comeback. It’s just one example, sure, and all players need time to integrate to a new league and culture, but not using a healthy Pepe for 180 minutes should never happen even with the five-pack of attackers.

*A silver lining for Arsenal fans: Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel is furious with his club for selling the 18-year-old Saliba, calling him the “best player” on the team. He’s coming, eventually, even if Real Madrid are reportedly trying to find a way to hijack the sale/loan.

Mexico’s Jimenez delivers Wolves point at Arsenal

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Raul Jimenez’s 76th minute goal gave Wolves a deserved point from a 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves out shot their hosts 25-10 in collecting a 13th point of the year. That sits them 11th, four points behind fifth place Arsenal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged Arsenal’s goal in the first half.


Three things we learned

1. Emery gets it wrong: The Arsenal boss would be right to feel pressure as another visitor dominated play against his side. A start for Mesut Ozil meant a place on the bench for Nicolas Pepe, and the in-form Ivorian never entered the fray against a Wolves side which can be beaten by creativity. Instead, Emery put in youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, and the kids didn’t have it in them. Moreover, we can understand why Emery didn’t start Granit Xhaka after his tumultuous week — and maybe the player preferred not to face the home crowd — but his steel was missed against Joao Moutinho‘s stylish midfield.

2. Wolves grab point in 9th of 11 league matches: Look, there’s no question Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have been troubled by the schedule congestion provided by the Europa League and, until this week, the League Cup, but full credit to them for finding a way to get points more often than not. Late equalizers against Newcastle, Crystal Palace, and now Arsenal mean the side has only fallen to Everton (3-2) and Chelsea (5-2) in Premier League play despite playing 20 matches all over Europe since Aug. 8.

3. El Tri’s best striker delivers the goods again: Raul Jimenez led the way with Wolves’ equalizer and this monster stat line: 8 shots, 6 aerials won, and 4 tackles. That’s from your center forward, Wolves fans. He’s a problem in the club, folks.

Man of the Match: Jimenez was an absolute beast for the visitors.


Wolves came out of the gates with vigor, and Arsenal had trouble keeping the ball out of its end and keeping hold of it altogether.

The Gunners went ahead through their two strikers, Lacazette doing plenty of work to set up Aubameyang for a goal that doesn’t rank high on his difficulty scale.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

But Wolves did not relent against a side which probably missed Xhaka (see above).

Amazingly, it was still Arsenal 1-0 for much of the second half despite massive disadvantages in possession and shots, but Jimenez’s relentless effort allowed Wolves to level the line.