Norwich 1 – 0 Arsenal
Nothing like an away day to end the international break blues, right? Wrong.
Arsenal arrived at Carrow road on the back of a good win against West Ham United, looking to propel ourselves into the Champions League qualifying places, and gain some points on the league leaders, Chelsea. Jack Wilshere was back in the squad, and Arsenal had their eyes set upon all three points. However, The Canaries had other plans.
Fresh after an international break, the game started in a dominant, yet sluggish fashion for Arsenal. Our passing was lacklustre, and our lack of urgency was worrying, even in the early stages of the game. Norwich started well, closing down our midfield and forcing errors when they could.
As the game progressed, Arsenal were in possession of the ball more, but were far less likely to create chances. Our engineers, Arteta & Cazorla, were being mercilessly closed down by Norwich. So much so that both players began to misplace passes, and were often forced to pass backwards, where our defence was met by yet more pressure in the large form of Grant Holt.
In the 19th minute, a long shot from Tetty was driven towards goal. Mannone had time to calculate his save, and ensure it was a good one. However, the ball was parried by the Italian straight back out to Grant Holt, who slotted home the opener. Which later proved to be the closer. [quote_right]”The camera man chose to grace our screens with the abashed face of Vito Mannone. A costly mistake had led to a goal, but the defeat was certainly a result of an extremely poor team performance.”[/quote_right]
The second half played out frustratingly similarly to the first. We showed no desire to attack the Norwich goal, and providing our front three with anything substantial was becoming impossible. Arteta & Cazorla were pacified by the excellent Norwich midfield. Santos & Jenkinson were also not getting forward as much as I would have liked.
Giroud, Gervinho & Podolski were proving to be amazingly ineffective against a struggling back four. Norwich have conceded 17 goals this season, the worst record in the premier league behind Southampton. And yet we were not able to trouble them in the slightest.
The game dragged on, and Norwich continued to press and close down any forward movement.
Podolski was replaced by Oxlade Chamerbalin, who lasted 9 minutes before injuring himself. An optimization of Arsenal’s awful display. Arshavin was thrown on to replace the Englishman.
As the game came to a close, the momentum was with Arsenal, but the organisation of the Canaries was proving to be a solid obstacle. Our chances were few and far between, and any space created in the box was quickly mopped up by the Norwich defenders. It was one of those days.
The game drew to a close and the home fans roared in delight. The camera man chose to grace our screens with the abashed face of Vito Mannone. A costly mistake had led to a goal, but the defeat was certainly a result of an extremely poor team performance.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
The long range effort from Tetty wasn’t the most difficult shot to save. Parrying it out in front of you is perilous. He paid the price. Didn’t have much else to do.
A quiet game for the Englishman. Wasn’t too troubled by the Norwich wingers, and made some good challenges. Showed good energy throughout the game.
Did his job, lacking his trademark forward sprints into the box. May have been what we needed.
MOTM. Our most in form defender by far. Excellent reading of the game. Can’t fault him.
Did well to fill the boots of Kieran Gibbs. Made a few excellent challenges, but needed to help Podolski out more.
Frustrating in the centre of the park. Given a more defensive role to play, Ramsey struggled to settle in.
Pacified by the impresive Norwich midfield. Couldn’t get into his usual rhythm.
Much like Arteta, Cazorla was dealt with very well. Couldn’t take the game by the scruff of the neck as he usually does.
Thanks to the subdued midfield, Podolski was hardly in the game. No impact. Subbed.
Oh dear. another poor game from the Ivorian. Offisdes, bad passes and missed opportunities.
Gave the ball away with his first touch, and it was all downhill from there. His confidence is fragile thanks to a shaky start. He’ll get there.
Replaced the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain and made a good impact. Passed well and helped set up one or two attacks on goal. Surely needs a chance ahead of Gervinho soon?
Arsene Wenger surely saw Serge Gnarby as a last throw of the dice. But he wasn’t a bad throw at all. Came on and immediately drove at the Norwich defence. Had a late chance to equalise. The potential is certainly there.
The Ox [N/A]
Arsenal were evidently ‘found out’ by Chris Hughton, and you can say nothing more except that their victory was deserved. Norwich worked tirelessly and earned their goal through perseverance.
We need to take a long hard look at ourselves, and tend to our deficiencies. Players like Gervinho and Mannone are simply not there to do battle. And tough away games in the Premier League require battlers, not bottlers. Steve Bould will not be pleased.
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