Ozil double guides Arsenal to victory over Norwich
- Credit: PA
Premier League: Arsenal 4 Norwich City 1
Mesut Ozil scored his first Premier League goals as Arsenal overcame Norwich to cement their position at the top of the table.
Jack Wilshere put the Gunners ahead before the German international made it 2-0 and, although Jonny Howson pulled a goal back for the visitors, Aaron Ramsey netted a third for Arsenal.
Ozil then rounded off proceedings with his second of the game to ensure that the Gunners stayed top – although their victory was less comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
The home side attacked in numbers from the start and Ozil and Wilshere combined to set up the returning Santi Cazorla, whose low shot on the turn was saved by John Ruddy.
Olivier Giroud also went close with a first-time shot that was blocked by Michael Turner, but the Gunners continued to press and, when the goal arrived, it was an absolute beauty.
Cazorla started the flowing sequence of one-touch football that ended with a deft flick from Giroud as Wilshere timed his run perfectly to steer a casual finish past Ruddy into the bottom corner.
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But the Canaries goalkeeper prevented his side from going 2-0 down with a superb point-blank save, pushing Giroud’s effort behind after Kieran Gibbs had stolen possession to set up the chance.
Norwich offered little until the last five minutes of the first half, when Wojciech Szczesny was finally called into action to tip away attempts from Robert Snodgrass and then Leroy Fer.
But the visitors continued their ascendancy at the start of the second period, with Russell Martin volleying wide and Snodgrass and Martin Olsson both testing Szczesny from distance.
And it was against the run of play when Arsenal broke to double their lead just before the hour mark, with Cazorla releasing Giroud, who sent over a pinpoint cross for Ozil to score with a glancing header.
Norwich refused to give up and they halved the deficit with 20 minutes to go as Per Mertesacker half-cleared Olsson’s cross and the ball fell for Howson, who controlled and drilled it home from the edge of the box.
The Gunners would have restored their two-goal cushion straight away but for two impressive stops from Ruddy, both of them to foil substitute Ramsey.
But the Welsh midfielder was not to be denied and he duly put the game beyond Norwich seven minutes from time, collecting Wilshere’s pass and neatly evading challenges from Howson and Sebastien Bassong before clipping in his ninth goal of the season.
Arsenal threatened to run riot and Ozil added extra gloss to the scoreline late on, tapping in his second of the game after Ramsey had turned Tomas Rosicky’s cross into his path.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini (Ramsey 37); Wilshere, Ozil, Cazorla (Rosicky 59); Giroud (Bendtner 78).