Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starred as Arsenal picked up all three points in a dominant 4-0 win over Daniel Farke’s Norwich on Wednesday evening to move up to seventh in the Premier League.
Both sides came close to an opener early on, with Aubameyang forcing a save from Tim Krul before Canaries centre back Ben Godfrey hit the woodwork from over 30 yards out.
Arsenal soon opened the scoring as Krul calamitously gave the ball away to Aubameyang, with the Gabon international slotting into an empty net for his 50th Premier League goal.
It went from bad to worse for Norwich as Aubameyang played a role in the hosts’ second, setting up Granit Xhaka to give Mikel Arteta’s side a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Despite a much better second half from the visitors, another defensive error – this time from substitute Josip Drmic – led to Arsenal’s third and Aubameyang’s second goal of the evening.
Cedric Soares wrapped up the scoring with a long range effort, barely minutes into his first appearance for the club.
Key Talking Point
Arsenal boss Arteta made four changes from the side that beat Sheffield United at the weekend, in part due to the heavy schedule, with Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles making way for Reiss Nelson, Aubameyang, Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin.
The move saw Arsenal deploy three centre backs, with full backs Bellerin and Kieran Tierney operating as attacking wing backs.
Tierney was extremely effective going forward and played a huge part in the Gunners’ success. Arteta’s side were extremely effective with their pressing and it caused huge problems for Norwich’s defence.
The north London side have now won three games in a row in all competitions, though remain six points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.
Starting XI: Martinez (7); Mustafi (6), Luiz (6), Kolasinac (6); Bellerin (6), Ceballos (7), Xhaka (7), Tierney (7); Nelson (7), Lacazette (6), Aubameyang (9).
Substitutes: Holding (6), Willock (6), Nketiah (6), Cedric Soares (7), Pepe (6).
Arsenal’s star man once again showed how important he is for the Gunners, with two goals and an assist to his name. His relentless pressing caused huge problems for Norwich and was instrumental in Arsenal’s opening goal.
With his future at the club in doubt, performances like this will only raise interest in the forward’s services from high profile clubs throughout Europe.
Key Talking Point
Norwich boss Farke only made one change from the side that faced Manchester United at the weekend, with the suspended Timm Klose making way for Tom Trybull. With Godfrey the only centre back available for the Canaries, midfielder Alexander Tettey dropped into the backline alongside the Englishman.
Norwich struggled to cope with Arsenal’s pressing in the first half and Farke made three half time substitutions in an attempt to change things up in the second period. While the Canaries came out fighting, Arsenal’s pressing was once again their undoing and they eventually fell to a 4-0 defeat.
Despite their defensive struggles, Norwich did show promising signs going forward, with Godfrey coming closest for the visitors when he hit the woodwork from over 30 yards out.
Starting XI: Krul (5); Aarons (6), Godfrey (7), Tettey (6), Lewis (6); Trybull (6), Buendia (5), Rupp (6), McLean (6), Cantwell (6); Pukki (5).
Substitutes: Hernandez (6), Drmic (5), Idah (6), Vrancic (6), Stiepermann (6).
It was another calamitous evening for Norwich’s defence, but Godfrey impressed throughout and even looked dangerous going forward, only just missing with a long range effort.
The youngster hardly put a foot wrong all game and didn’t deserve to be on the end of a 4-0 drubbing. With Norwich seemingly destined to head straight back down the the Championship, expect a number of Premier League clubs to show serious interest in Godfrey this summer.
Arsenal have a number of tricky fixtures on the horizon, with Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool making up their next four Premier League games.
Norwich welcome Brighton to Carrow Road next on Saturday, before heading to Vicarage Road to take on Watford, with both sides in the thick of the relegation battle.