Arsenal are gradually getting back to their seats and beginning to fight back for a place in the top four. This week, Arsenal impressed the fans with a dazzling performance against Norwich as they thrashed the Canaries 4-0 at the Emirates.
Arsenal Line-up Against Norwich:
Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin; Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney, Nelson, Aubameyang; Lacazette
In recent weeks, both Arsenal fans and players had forgotten how to smile. In fact, we’ve all become bogged down by failure and the weight of expectation, so much so, that even the return of Premier League football has provided a bit of a damp squib.
Arsenal just needed to get back on home soil and meet up with a flagging Norwich team, who are currently looking down a large hole at a return to the Championship. Let’s not be too smug here, but for Aubameyang’s goals this season, Arsenal could also be down in the relegation basement looking up the table. This was all a bit like a miscast film or a boxing match where one contender was way out of his depth for periods of the game
Mikel Arteta would have been pleased with his side’s desire going forward, the defence is a different issue. They did OK and kept a clean sheet but if they had met a team with more in reserve, it may have been a different story.
Dani Ceballos looked overly impressive against the opponents and he was able to serve up some silky and polished moments throughout the entirety of the match. Was he playing with a view to secure a permanent deal? I don’t think so really, but everything he did looked a cut above anything Norwich could serve up.
Kieran Tierney is becoming Arsenal’s most watchable player. In the games he’s featured in, he breezes forward on two good feet and displays a rare intelligence with his choices. The boy can pass a ball no question!
Analysis of the Arsenal vs Norwich Game:
The game against Norwich was as conclusive as it was impressive with quick, decisive passes and a genuine appetite to win, but they weren’t up against Liverpool. However, if the Gunners can use this as a springboard to ignite their season and start collecting points, then supporters will start to believe that progress has been made and more is possible.
The Canaries did have their share of chances with Ben Godfrey clipping the post from 30 yards and Martinez denying Kenny McLean from a dead ball situation.
After 33 minutes, Tim Krul came off second best to Aubameyang as the ball somehow slowed down and bobbled between his legs. The Arsenal striker, who may yet leave at the end of the season, raced forward to steal it off the goalkeeper’s toe and there it was, goal number 50. It had taken a while, but the smile was back and you sensed there would be more if Norwich didn’t mop up basic errors.
Then in the 37th minute, Granit Xhaka put daylight between the teams when David Luiz picked out Kieran Tierney with the pass of the match, a massive kick straight down the left flank that saw the former Celtic man play Aubameyang in, who in turn put it in a plate for Xhaka. Not quite redemption for Xhaka’s former indiscretions but, as close as you could come in football circles.
2-0 at half time and the promise of more to come. Had there been a crowd, they would have probably been in good voice and demanded an avalanche of goals.
Ceballos was busy and looked a notch above anything else on offer in the middle of the park. He and Xhaka could have given so much more this season but Emery’s tenure, Arteta’s absence and their annoying injuries. We may only see glimpses of what they could have become but Ceballos can’t be judged on the strength of one really good showing, he needs to turn it on regularly, especially in the big games.
Anyway, Norwich continued to probe in the second half with Martinez called into action by Adam Idah and not long after the Arsenal keeper saw an Onel Hernandez effort fly over his crossbar.
Aubameyang put the game out of reach in the 67th minute when a stray pass across the box by Josip Drmic found the merciless feet of Aubameyang. It was the work of a craftsman, his right foot took a touch and he then stroked it home. 3-0 and the game was buried.
Arsenal 4-0 Norwich
— Josh (@joshthxtn) July 2, 2020
How nice to see the nearly out of contact figure of Aubameyang race to celebrate with the recently resigned Saka. Something in that? Probably not.
With 15 minutes left of a forgettable game for Norwich, Cedric Soares replaced Bellerin. To celebrate his debut after arriving injured at the beginning of his loan deal, he picked up a clumsy looking clearance outside the box, teed himself up and left fly. It was reward for his perseverance if nothing else, people forget what a lonely existence it can be trying to regain fitness.
He was on loan, he’s now permanent and he now has his first goal. Bellerin beware, this guy isn’t going to be content to sit on the bench. On the strength of this cameo performance, he could even go straight into the next game against the ravenous Wolves.
A satisfying evening’s work, with a performance that will take the edge off the negativity. It was a solid showing with some glitz and a few players stood out from the crowd. They’ll need to build on this to climb the table to get anywhere close to a top four finish.
- Another good performance by Xhaka.
- We now have the performance from Ceballos that we can measure his talent by.
- Tierney impresses again and his future looks bright in red and white.
- Aubameyang finding his form at a crucial time.
- Martinez looks like he’s been in goal all season. Athletic, alert and with good distribution.
- The back three formation may hold the answer to the problem but which back three ? This group were OK against Norwich but, against Wolves and Manchester City? It will need Saliba, Mari and Holding to make it work.
- My predicted scoreline was correct. Thanks Cedric!