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Match Reports

Arsenal v Norwich City

19 October 2013


ARSENAL's record-signing Mesut Ozil scored twice as Norwich City failed to stop the Gunners' superb run of form, losing 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Jonny Howson had given the Canaries' hope of a comeback when he halved the deficit created by Jack Wilshere's outstanding goal and Ozil's first.

However, substitute Aaron Ramsey was influential in eventually earning the league leaders the points, scoring an excellent individual effort before laying off for Ozil's for Arsenal's fourth.

Chris Hughton's side showed promise in spells but were ultimately overrun by a team on a relentless pursuit of success and with the quality in all areas to back it up.

Gary Hooper was selected ahead of the absent Ricky van Wolfswinkel for his first Premier League start for the Canaries, with Hughton naming an otherwise unchanged eleven from the Chelsea defeat a fortnight ago.

Ozil was passed fit for Arsenal, who named a strong starting line-up despite their Champions League meeting with Borussia Dortmund coming up on Tuesday.

The also-recalled Santi Cazorla was the first Gunners’ player to threaten, cutting in and testing John Ruddy with a low left-footed shot on five minutes.

City were matching Arsenal star-studded midfield in the opening stages, but conceded the game’s opening goal on 18 minutes – and a stunning goal it was.

Wilshere and Olivier Giroud combined for a one-two twice, with the Frenchman finally flicking a backheel into Wilshere’s path, and the England midfielder beat the offside trap to tap home past Ruddy first-time.

The Canaries could almost have no complaints given the slick nature of the Arsenal goal, and there was concern on the half hour when Alex Tettey clashed heads with Mathieu Flamini and had to receive lengthy treatment.

Thankfully the Norwegian was able to continue, but Arsenal remained in the ascendency and would have scored a second but for a fantastic low Ruddy stop from Giroud’s effort.

City’s final third ventures were sparce, but Russ Martin almost caused Wojciech Szczesny embarrassment with a deep cross that evaded Arsenal’s stopper.

Leroy Fer then powered a drive from 25 yards that Szczesny parried wide as City finished the half strongly, but Arsene Wenger’s hosts held on for the first-half lead.

HALF-TIME: Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City

Three minutes into the second half, Martin found himself free to meet a Michael Turner knock-down, but his volley sailed wide of the left post.

Robert Snodgrass and Martin Olsson tested Szczesny from range and the home team had a sloppy period of possession, but they got their acts together to double their advantage on 58 minutes.

Giroud was provider once more, chipping in a cross for Ozil to nod into the bottom left corner – a harsh blow for a City side looking likely to get back in the game only moments before.

Norwich wasted a fine opportunity only four minutes later to forge a path back into the match – Howson benefited from Per Mertesacker’s slip to play in Anthony Pilkington on the left, but despite City outnumbering Arsenal at the back, his shot was dragged harmlessly wide.

That path was created on 70 minutes, however – Olsson’s delivery from the left-hand side took a nick of the foot of Mertesacker, but Howson anticipated the situation well, controlled expertly and drilled past Szczesny.

Nathan Redmond and Wes Hoolahan were immediately introduced to help spark the comeback, but Arsenal were equally keen for another goal, with Ramsey twice trying from distance.

Substitute Nicklas Bendtner then forced Ruddy into a smart stop at his near post, but it was the September Premier League Player of the Month Ramsey who wrapped up the points on 83 minutes.

Wilshere played a short pass inside to the Wales midfielder in the box, and he jinxed cleverly past two Norwich City defenders and slammed the ball past Ruddy.

Three became four with just two minutes left on the clock - Tomas Rosicky lofted a ball to the back-post that Ramsey, who looked offside at first glance, pulled back for Ozil to slide home.

There was still time for Howson to fire a volley straight at Szczesny, but the Canaries were forced to bow to the Gunners' superiority as they ran out comfortable victors in the end.

FULL-TIME: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich City

GOALS: Arsenal: Jack Wilshere (18), Mesut Ozil (58, 88), Aaron Ramsey (83) – Norwich City: Jonny Howson (70)

ARSENAL: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini (Ramsey 37), Arteta (c); Cazorla (Rosicky 59), Ozil, Wilshere; Giroud (Bendtner 78). Subs not used: Fabianski (GK), Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson.

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong (c), Olsson; Tettey (Hoolahan 78), Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Redmond 70), Hooper. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Johnson, Becchio, R Bennett.


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