Arsenal Draw with Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg's Debut After Unai Emery Firing

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2019

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal battles for possession with Kenny Mclean of Norwich City during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal FC at Carrow Road on December 01, 2019 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)
Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Arsenal started the post-Unai Emery era in disappointing fashion, drawing with Norwich City 2-2 in the Premier League in Freddie Ljungberg's first match in charge. 

Teemu Pukki got the first goal of the match after 21 minutes, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled his side level from the penalty spot. He would get a second equaliser after the break following Todd Cantwell's goal shortly before half-time.

Sunday's match was the team's first under interim boss Ljungberg, who took command after Emery was sacked midweek.

Here's a look at Ljungberg's first starting XI, including Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi:

Arsenal @Arsenal

📋 Here's the team news for today's game at Norwich... #NORARS

The Gunners made a solid start, and Tim Krul had to make a first save on Alexandre Lacazette after just a few minutes. Mustafi also had a header cleared off the line, and Calum Chambers went as close shortly after, finding Krul in his path.

While the Gunners' attack looked lively, their defensive issues persisted, and Pukki took full advantage to score after 21 minutes. The Finn wasn't closed down, and his deflected effort beat Bernd Leno.

The Mirror's John Cross thought it looked familiar:

John Cross @johncrossmirror

1-0 Norwich, Pukki. Turns out Arsenal are still bad at defending. https://t.co/NSX5kPZ4cK

Just two minutes later, the ball went on the spot for a Norwich handball, with VAR deciding in Arsenal's favour. Krul saved Aubameyang's initial effort, but the Gabon international got to try again for encroachment, converting his second go.

The Athletic's Carl Anka was not happy:

Carl Anka @Ankaman616

Encroachment on penalties is for traffic wardens.

The controversial penalty sequence resulted in the match getting a little more feisty, with plenty of battles and few chances for the rest of the half. There was time for one more goal, however, courtesy of yet another defensive error. Cantwell produced a lovely finish but was handed far too much space by the Gunners.

The talent is having a fine stretch:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

2 - Todd Cantwell has scored in back-to-back league games for the very first time for Norwich City; he had only scored in two of his previous 25 league appearances for the club before this. Slotted. https://t.co/OMH3DUuZxK

Norwich started the second half well, limiting space in the attacking third and putting their foot next to Arsenal's in midfield. Matteo Guendouzi tried his luck from distance, finding Krul in his path, but overall, the Gunners did not create a lot of danger.

That changed shortly before the hour mark when a Mustafi effort off a corner wasn't dealt with, and Aubameyang fired home his second goal of the match. 

Per James Benge of football.london, it gave Ozil the perfect opportunity to rile up the home fans:

James Benge @jamesbenge

World class pettiness from Ozil to Norwich fans. They refuse to give him the ball for a corner, he gets another one. Aubameyang hammers it in and Ozil immediately turns to the home fans to celebrate. You just love to see it.

Kenny McLean nearly restored the lead, running into Leno when he was clean through on goal, and the Canaries kept pushing, presenting a major threat whenever they broke at pace.

Norwich had several good opportunities to reclaim the advantage, but Leno did well to deny Pukki and Max Aarons, who broke free on the wing.

A late corner gave Arsenal a chance to claim the three points as well, but Ibrahim Amadou made a fantastic block on the line, with Lucas Torreira's effort seemingly destined for the net.


What's Next?

Arsenal host Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday. Norwich will visit Southampton on Wednesday.