At roughly 16.22 on Saturday afternoon, Arsenal scored a Premier League objective. It had taken them somewhat longer than they’d hoped this season, with three consecutive defeats inflicting all types of gloom to decide on the membership, however within the moments following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s tap-in there was a way of much-needed reduction on this nook of north London.
“We are staying up,” crowed some Arsenal supporters within the aftermath of Aubameyang’s strike. “We’ve scored a goal,” yelled some others. Self-deprecation was the order of the day, given their woeful begin to the marketing campaign, however for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta it was additionally a day for renewed optimism and perception.
Not that this was a classic Arsenal efficiency. Nor was it the sudden realisation of Arteta’s tactical masterplan. But it was a transparent enchancment on their earlier video games and, crucially, it was a win. The victory took them off the foot of the Premier League desk and past Norwich City, who remain with no level this season.
Daniel Farke’s facet don’t seem to be fairly as poor as their outcomes recommend. Their run of early fixtures has been brutal in its issue they usually did nicely to disrupt a few of Arsenal’s stream for a lot of this recreation, even when they nonetheless look a bit of light-weight in assault. Next week’s residence meeting with Watford ought to present a greater indication of the place they sit within the division.
For Arsenal, their senior gamers supplied key moments when required. Thomas Partey picked the cross that led to the objective, and Aubameyang supplied the end. Further again, Ben White — all £50 million of him — was very good with the ball and largely unruffled with out it.
Those who’ve defended Arteta in current weeks have pointed to the absences of assorted key gamers, with harm and sickness robbing Arsenal of choices within the opening video games. The worldwide break gave them an opportunity to catch their collective breath finally, and the staff seemed a lot nearer to what Arteta needs when it was introduced an hour earlier than kick-off.
White and Gabriel Magalhaes had been again within the defence, for instance, and new signing Takehiro Tomiyasu got here straight into the facet at right-back. He impressed along with his vitality and physicality. There was additionally a primary Premier League begin for Arsenal for Aaron Ramsdale, the £24 million signing who seems to have displaced Bernd Leno already.
With all these new faces trotting out within the wonderful north London sunshine, the environment was terrific at the beginning of the match. It helped that Arsenal began brightly, with Nicolas Pepe and Aubameyang each threatening and Sambi Lokonga testing Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul from vary.
Norwich progressively adjusted, although, and the probabilities started to dry up for the house facet after round half an hour. Just a few groans then crept into the Emirates when Norwich labored their manner ahead, with full-back Max Aarons testing Ramsdale’s dealing with from vary. The goalkeeper appeared assured on his residence debut, at one level dropping a shoulder in his personal six-yard field to create house for a cross.
There was no questioning whether or not Arsenal had been the dominant facet, however Norwich had spells the place it was far too straightforward for them to draw the house facet’s sting. Pierre-Lees-Melou was tidy on the ball in midfield, whereas Brandon Williams was having fun with a superb match at left-back.
The Manchester United loanee was locked in a fierce battle with Pepe on his flank, and after the break he denied the Arsenal winger a sure objective. As Bukayo Saka’s shot deflected into Pepe’s path, Williams flung himself throughout the field to block the trouble.
It was an indication that the strain was constructing on the guests and their defence was breached only a few minutes later. The returning Partey, on off the bench, took out the Norwich midfield with a effective cross to Saka, earlier than the ball was labored in direction of Pepe. His first shot got here off one publish, then the rebound was prodded towards the opposite, earlier than it lastly fell to Aubameyang, only one yard from objective. He couldn’t miss.
“We’ve scored a goal,” roared the Arsenal followers, lastly in a position to smile after essentially the most gruelling of weeks to begin this season. They ought to have gone on to rating extra, with Saka and Emile Smith Rowe each going shut, however within the context of their nascent season a one-nil win was greater than acceptable. Something to build on, finally.