Norwich City 1-2 Arsenal: Controlled performance eases Gunners to fifth straight league win
Sunday, 20th Nov 2011 10:09
A tumultuous start to the season is becoming a distant memory despite Per Mertesacker's attempts to reach for the self-destruct button.
A familiar catalogue of injuries forced Wenger into recalling the experienced centre back but his hesitant display at Carrow Road demonstrated why he had been dropped before the international break.
We dominated the opening exchanges with Theo Walcott running riot down the right hand side but Robin van Persie hadn't found his range and an unbelievable goal line clearance from Taylor prevented Theo himself from opening the scoring after incisive play by Gervinho.
Inevitably we paid the price for not making our fast start count and in Norwich's first meaningful foray forward, Mertesacker was hurried by Morison as he attempted to shepherd the ball back to Szczesny and fell flat on his face, allowing the burly striker to bundle the ball home.
It was a huge error and Wenger's protestations that he had been fouled were almost as embarrassing as Mertesacker's attempt to clear the danger. Koscielny and Vermaelen are undoubtedly our first choice centre backs but with Sagna and Jenkinson out for the foreseeable future, Wenger will be desperate for Per to be more assertive, particularly away from home.
We had dominated the opening period though and Norwich's porous defence gave the impressive travelling support hope. It wasn't long before Theo was at it again and he zipped past the hapless Tierney with ease before squaring for Van Persie to pass into an empty net after Gervinho's elaborate flick completely failed to connect with the ball. We had a vital equaliser before half time and despite struggling to regain our early fluency for the rest of the half we looked the much better side.
The second half saw Arteta and Ramsey take control and we enjoyed long periods of possession which took the sting out of a potentially dangerous Norwich side. We found the winner after Ramsey dispossessed Taylor on the half way line, allowing Song to break forward and the Cameroon international played a perfectly timed ball through to the captain who had now found his range and our number ten expertly scooped the ball over the keeper at his near post to score his second right footed goal of the day.
We closed out the last thirty minutes professionally and Yossi Benayoun proved his worth after coming on for Gervinho and linking possession in the opposition half. It was another mature display from this improving Arsenal side and bar Mertesacker's aberration we were in complete control.
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Photo: Action Images
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