Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City (after extra-time): Eddie Nketiah grabs brace as Gunners fans hail new hero
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Super sub Eddie Nketiah enjoyed a day he will never forget after netting twice to ensure Arsenal came from 1-0 down to beat Norwich 2-1 after extra-time.
Norwich took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to Josh Muprhy’s fine chip over Arsenal debutant Matt Macey.
The hosts failed to find any rhythm for the majority of the game but it was an unlikely source of inspiration that made all the difference at the Emirates.
Nketiah, brought on with five minutes remaining to rescue the game, scored immediately with his first touch after tapping home from a corner.
And early on in injury-time, the 18-year-old’s dream got even better as he netted the winner with a fine leaping header, leading to loud chants of acclaim ringing round the stadium.
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Both sides enjoyed plenty of possession early on but it was Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi who had the first real sight of goal. However, it was speculative more than anything, as his shot flew high over Angus Gunn’s crossbar in the 14th minute.
And just seconds later, Arsenal applied the pressure again, this time through Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who found himself beyond the Norwich defence but his pass across the box was cleared.
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But Norwich, who came to the Emirates in high spirits after their East Anglian derby victory over Ipswich on Sunday, refused to hide and had their first real effort of the match on 18 minutes through Mario Vrancic.
The midfielder was given space in the middle of the park but after running to the edge of the penalty area, he thrashed his right-footed effort wide of the left post.
The game was opening up midway through the first half and Arsenal came mightily close to going ahead just two minutes later after Rob Holding’s powerful header was brilliantly saved by Gunn from an in-swinging Theo Walcott corner.
But against the run of play, Norwich took the lead in the 34th minute through Murphy, thanks to a fine dink over Arsenal debutant Matt Macey after a cutting through ball from James Maddison. Arsene Wenger will have been furious with how open Arsenal’s makeshift defence was for the opener.
Arsenal fans were growing restless while Norwich’s were in a boisterous mood. And that applied on the pitch too as they nearly doubled their lead through Nelson Oliveira. But Macey produced a fine left-handed save to deny the Portuguese striker, whose effort was heading into the bottom right corner.
Arsenal needed their dangerous attacking trio of Iwobi, Walcott and Giroud to step up to the plate in the second half but it was Norwich’s forwards that came out the blocks flying after the restart.
And in fact, the hosts were very luck not to go down to 10 men and concede a second when Mohamed Elneny tripped over the dangerous Oliveira outside who was through on goal outside the penalty area with just Macey to beat.
And it was the in-form Championship outfit who were continuing to create the better chances with just 20 odd minutes remaining.
With 17 minutes remaining, Daniel Farke’s side arguably had their best chance of the second half. Vrancic was put through down the right but after cutting onto his left foot into the penalty area, he fired wide from close out. Were the Canaries going to pay for their missed chances?
Well they were and it came in spectacular circumstances. Nketiah, brought on with five minutes remaining, scored immediately with his first touch of the game after tapping home from a corner at the back post.
The Gunners faithful found their voices to try and inspire a spirited late ending for Arsenal. It nearly paid off as Chuba Akpom fired a shot just agonisingly wide of the right post in the 93rd minute.
And after a frantic ending to the 90 minutes, the game went into extra-time as the visitors started to tire. Nketiah remarkably made Norwich pay once again after firing a powerful header home after leaping above everyone from Elneny’s corner in the 96th minute.
Arsenal left it very late but they have kept their hopes alive of winning their first League Cup since 1993, thanks to Nketiah, who became the first player born after Wenger was appointed as manager to score for the club.
Arsenal have a new fans favourite on their books.