Victory over Norwich Takes Arsenal Two Points Clear
Arsenal took advantage of Liverpool’s earlier draw at Newcastle to go two points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday, with a great performance against a tenacious Norwich City.
The home fixture against the Canaries extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run to twelve games, with one of their best performances of the season so far.
Arsenal dominated the opening 20 minutes and secured the lead, with potentially one of the goals of the season, in the 18th minute. Jack Willshire started and finished the move, which began on the edge of Arsenal’s 18 yard box and culminated with a spectacular finish involving Willshire, Giroud and Cazorla.
Shortly after the goal there was a head clash between Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Tettey. Flamini insisted on continuing, despite complaints from the medical staff. But moments later he withdrew suffering with double vision.
Flamini was replaced by Aaron Ramsey, who was being rested on the bench in preparation for Tuesday’s Champions League fixture against Borussia Dortmund. The substitution saw a change in the flow of the game and Norwich entered a long period of ascendancy, lasting the remainder of the first half and early into the second.
But against the flow and against the normal formula for Arsenal goals, Olivier Giroud supplied a superb cross for Mesut Özil to head in, giving Arsenal a 2-0 lead and Arsenal fans in the stadium much needed relief.
Norwich however did not lie down, they continued to pressure and pulled one back through Jonny Howson, who hit Martin Olsson’s cross low into the corner of the Arsenal net.
In commentary Trevor Francis reported that he saw Arsene Wenger saying that he wanted to take off Özil, but he could not now, with only a one goal cushion.
The man that Wenger started off resting came to his rescue. Ramsey put Arsenal back in front with a goal equally as spectacular as Willshire’s first. But, where Willshire’s goal was a great team effort, this one was all down to Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey swayed and shimmied around the Norwich defence, leaving defenders lying on the floor and finished with a close range shot that gave goalkeeper Ruddy no chance.
For the final nail in Norwich’s coffin, Europe’s number one goal assist man, Mesut Özil, once again became the scorer, with who else but Aaron Ramsey providing the assist.
Final score 4-1 to the Arsenal.
On this sort of form Arsenal can beat anyone. They have undoubtedly the best midfield in the Premier League and more in reserve. Tomas Rosicky came off the bench to replace Cazorla, in his first game back from injury and Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski cannot be far off of a return.
Bring on Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
While Liverpool slipped back behind Arsenal, Chelsea stayed in pursuit with a 4-1 win over Cardiff. But manager Jose Mourinho was once again sent to the stands, for complaining too often and too loudly to the officials.
Manchester City also had a good win, 1-3 away at West Ham, but Manchester United dropped points, managing only a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton and continue to languish in an unfamiliar 8th position in the League.
By Max Power