1-0 to the Arsenal, as substitute Danny Welbeck fires winner
Arsenal produced a laboured and nervy performance in beating Norwich City 1-0 in their Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
The Gunners were grateful to substitute Danny Welbeck for scoring the only goal of the match.
The result takes Arsenal up to third place in the table ahead of Manchester City’s visit to St Mary’s to take on Southampton tomorrow.
Whilst Norwich are now second bottom of the table and facing relegation back to the Championship.
The Gunners produced a listless first half performance without a shot on target against the relegation threatened Canaries.
The “Time For Change” banners protest turned out to be as limp as Arsenal’s first half showing (as it did again in the 78th minute). The supporters who did produce banners were very much in the minority and were met with choruses of “One Arsene Wenger” and “We Love You Arsenal” from far greater numbers of fans.
There was though once again lots of empty seats around the Stadium, particularly in the Upper tier and Club areas.
As for the match, Norwich with a fraction of the possession carried a far greater threat in the first period..
Nathan Redmond was denied by the feet of Petr Cech in the 5th minute.
Arsenal created their first chance of the half, with Alex Iwobi scuffing a shot wide on 9 minutes.
The only other chances the Gunners created were shots from Giroud (10th minute) and Elneny (31 minutes) that were blocked by Norwich defenders, and headers wide from Koscielny from a corner on 36 minutes and Mertesacker from a Bellerin cross in first half stoppage time..
Whilst at the other end Norwich continued to create the clearer chances.
Redmond was again denied by Cech in the 42nd minute after being set up by Wes Hoolahan.
Gary O’Neil then shot high and wide from the edge of the penalty area on 44 minutes and Redmond then shot just wide on 45 minutes with Cech beaten.
The second half started with Per Mertesacker having to be replaced by Gabriel after picking up a hamstring injury.
Arsene Wenger made his second substitution when Danny Welbeck replaced Alex Iwobi on 55 minutes. It was a little harsh on Iwobi to be the player to be replaced as Giroud had been ineffectual in the first half with just 15 touches of the ball.
The substitution though paid off within four minutes when Welbeck fired a half-volley low into the net past Ruddy, with a slight deflection off Bassong, after getting onto the ball from a Giroud headed knockdown.
Arsenal then enjoyed a brighter period as they threatened to score a second goal.
They had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Mike Jones. A clearance from Bassong bounced off the leg of O’Neil and onto his arm, but the referee allowed play to go on.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil then had chances, the latter with a half-volley, to increase the home side’s lead.
Giroud found Elneny, who chested the ball down and fired in a half-volley, which John Ruddy did well to tip over the bar.
Norwich kept battling until the end, but were unable to create a clear chance against a nervy looking Arsenal defence.
The closest they came was a sliding challenge from Gabriel to deny substitute Dieumerci Mbokani an equaliser, after Redmond had raced past Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal: Cech 7; Bellerin 6, Mertesacker 6 (Gabriel 50), Koscielny 6, Monreal 6; Ramsey 5, Elneny 7, Sanchez 6 (Coquelin 84), Ozil 5, Iwobi 6 (Welbeck 56, 8); Giroud 5.