Arsenal vs. Norwich City Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
The Gunners entered the day tied with Liverpool for the top spot, but the Reds could manage just a draw against Newcastle United. This gave Arsenal an opportunity and they seized it with a quality home victory.
It did not take long for the home squad to take control of the match. Arsenal had a number of quality chances early, and then finally broke through in the 18th minute with a Jack Wilshere goal off an impressive touch from Olivier Giroud.
Wilshere has received a lot of criticism this season, but he had a few notable achievements with this opening score:
2 - Jack Wilshere has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time. Slick.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 19, 2013
Things slowed down for the remainder of the half as neither side was able to capitalize on opportunities.
One notable event took place in the 32nd minute as Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Tettey banged heads. Although Tettey stayed in the match for Norwich City, Flamini was eventually removed a few minutes later, according to the Premier League Twitter account:
Arsenal are forced into an early change as Aaron Ramsey comes on for Mathieu Flamini in the 38th minute #ARSNOR— Premier League (@premierleague) October 19, 2013
This injury remains something to keep an eye on going forward.
Still, the action continued until the sides went into halftime with a 1-0 score in favor of Arsenal.
Norwich City came on strong to start the second half and put together a number of shots on goal in the first few minutes. But the squad was then open to a counter-attack which led to the second score of the match.
In the 58th minute, Giroud got his second assist of the match with a cross to Mesut Ozil, who finished with a header. Bleacher Report Football had this to say about the scoring play:
Creativity, dribbling ability, passing, vision…and a master header of the ball! Ozil makes it 2-0 to Arsenal with a glancing header.— B/R Football (@br_football) October 19, 2013
City finally got on the board in the 69th minute thanks to a mistake by the Arsenal defense. A strong finish by Jonathan Howson was described by the club's official Twitter account:
69 - Olsson's cross from the left deflected off the heel of Mertesacker and Howson controlled it then drilled a great strike past Szczeny.— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) October 19, 2013
Just when it seemed the squad might challenge for a draw, however, the Gunners got the goal right back in the 83rd minute. Aaron Ramsey—who has been incredible this season—scored once again with a solid effort:
The club then secured the victory a few minutes later with a second goal from Ozil, this time with a left-footed shot. That made the score 4-1 and closed out any chance of a comeback.
Arsenal now moves on top of the table, while Norwich City have to be concerned about relegation. The club has but two wins and a draw to show for eight matches in the Premier League season.
While the effort was there on Saturday, it must improve finishing in the final third in order to compete with top clubs in the future.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal: A+
Although Giroud has not been much of a distributor early in this season, he did an excellent job of that in this match. He had a fantastic assist on Wilshere's goal and then added another one on a perfect cross to Ozil.
The club's chemistry seems to be getting better every week, and the attack can be incredibly dangerous if this passing continues.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal: A-
Even counting the goal allowed midway through the second half, Szczesny was impressive in net throughout the match. The young keeper made tough saves, and he was a big reason the opposing squad did not score more.
Szczesny only has one clean sheet in EPL matches this year, but he has still done a solid job when the club needed him the most.
Gary Hooper, Norwich City: D
Norwich City certainly hoped to get more production out of its striker than what Gary Hooper provided in this one. The young player barely touched the ball, and did very little when he did get involved in the play.
The former Celtic star was known for his scoring ability, but he will need to do better job of getting himself involved in the action.
Jonathan Howson, Norwich City: A-
On day where accurate shots were hard to find, Howson was finally able to get on the scoresheet for City with an excellent score in the 70th minute. He fired the ball in a place where the goalkeeper simply could not get to it.
Although Howson has not been much of a scorer in his EPL career, this is his second goal in three matches. If he can continue to provide a presence on the attack, it would provide a big help to this club.
|M||Santi Cazorla (Off 59')||B+|
|M||Mathieu Flamini (Off 37')||B|
|F||Olivier Giroud (Off 78')||A+|
|M||Aaron Ramsey (On 37')||A+|
|M||Tomas Rosicky (On 59')||B+|
|F||Nicklas Bendtner (On 78')||B|
|M||Anthony Pilkington (Off 71')||C+|
|M||Alexander Tettey (Off 79')||B|
|M||Nathan Redmond (On 71')||B|
|M||Wesley Hoolahan (Off 79')||B+|
Arsenal have one of the biggest matches of the year on Tuesday as they host Borussia Dortmund in a key Champions League battle. Last year's UCL finalists will likely be the toughest competition in a very tough group.
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