Our take on Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Norwich
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
What we predicted
We felt Norwich’s defence would be too porous to shut Arsenal out and went for a 3-1 away win.
Despite Laurent Koscielny’s early departure with a hip injury, Arsenal enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first period and, for the third match running, they went ahead around the half-hour mark.
A poor clearance from Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy left Gary O’Neil in difficulties and Alexis Sanchez seized possession, quickly picking out Mesut Ozil who slotted his finish into the corner of the net.
However, just as they had failed to protect their advantage at West Brom a week earlier, the Gunners conceded before half-time – Robbie Brady cutting inside and feeding Lewis Grabban, who gave Gabriel the slip and fired home.
Norwich looked the more likely side to snatch a winner during the second period – especially after Sanchez pulled his hamstring and hobbled off.
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In fact, the home side’s best chance came when Martin Olsson’s cross skimmed goalwards off Gabriel’s head, but Petr Cech came to Arsenal’s rescue with a superb reaction save.
Buy him a pint
Apart from his well-taken goal, Ozil looked dangerous whenever Arsenal went forward, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed after coming on as substitute in the last 20 minutes.
But, while he was often a spectator, we feel Cech deserves credit not only for the saves he made, but the way in which he commanded his penalty area and never allowed Norwich to apply sustained pressure.
Get your coat son
There really is only one candidate here – Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. He knew Sanchez’s hamstring was less than 100 per cent, so why risk it in a game that really couldn’t be classified as a must-win?
Santi Cazorla, apparently, was also some way off full fitness. Given Arsenal’s other injuries, then, wouldn’t it have been worth changing the formation altogether? Or is that too radical, Arsene?
Probably Cech’s stop in the second half to keep the scores level, although that hardly offset the sight of Koscielny and Sanchez both limping out of the game.