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Arsenal vs Norwich: The Gunners scored their first goal and picked up their first three points of the 2021-22 Premier League season at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the goal midway through the second half, just as Arsenal perked up and improved upon another hugely disappointing first-half performance. It wouldn’t have been long before the mood inside the ground began to turn and the conversation turned once again to the employement status of Mikel Arteta.
It’s amazing what one win, one goal, one incredibly fortunate bit of luck can do to change the optics.
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Arsenal vs Norwich final score, stats, results
Goals scored: Arsenal 1 (Aubameyang 66′); Norwich 0 (None)
Shots: Arsenal 27, Norwich 9
Shots on target: Arsenal 6, Norwich 1
Possession: Arsenal 52%, Norwich 48%
Recap & highlights, 3 things we learned – Arsenal vs Norwich
1. Another abject first half from Arsenal: Perhaps it is no longer safe to assume that Arsenal will simply wake up and inevitably return to previous glory. Beyond the questionable tactics from Arteta and the transfer committee’s poorly constructed squad, there is a growing and distinct lack of heart at the Emirates, and that’s not something you can fix by changing managers. That’s institutional rot from within, where every board must typically be torn away, trashed and replaced.
2. Stronger push in final 30 minutes: It wasn’t until just before the hour mark that Arsenal took the wind in their sails and began to poke and prod in increasingly uncomfortable ways for Norwich. Ironically, it was a positive push from the Emirates crowd which seemed to urge the players on and set the stage for more adventurous play from the Gunners. Finally, after 337 minutes, Arsenal scored their first goal of the season — truly, a goal befitting the occasion. Nicolas Pepe’s initial shot was saved onto the far post by Tim Krul, and the rebound bounced across the face of goal and back to Pepe, except Brandon Williams slid in to touch the ball away. His clearance hit the post. The ball then bounced off an upside down, tumbling player on the ground. Slowly back across the face of goal it rolled to Aubameyang a yard out.
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3. Very little resistance from Norwich: The Canaries had plenty of opportunity to be more aggressive and hit back at Arsenal in the first half, but the quality and belief to do so simply wasn’t there. Daniel Farke’s side is pragmatic and relatively solid (to the last time they were in the Premier League), but there’s precious little upside and room for growth if they play this negatively.
Man of the Match: Nicolas Pepe – Most of Arsenal’s best attacking moments involved Pepe down the right wing, typically combing with the under- or over-lapping Bukayo Saka. Pepe was quick and direct in going for goal, and unlucky not to score the opening goal himself.