By Walter Broeckx
Sorry for the late match report this time but had to attend a meeting before the match so no computer nearby to write it down immediately. But still took some notes of course.
A rather quiet opening to the match in the first minutes. A first attempt from Alexis from outside the penalty area but the ball went off target. Norwich hadn’t been near to the Arsenal penalty area when Koscielny plays a back pass to Cech under no pressure and then grabs to his hip. And the next moment he is involved he goes down after playing the ball and can’t continue anymore. He has had trouble before with his hip a few weeks ago if I remember well. Let’s hope it is not too serious. Koscielny cannot continue and Gabriel has to come on.
It is always sour to being forced to make such a needless substitution early in a match.
Norwich pull all their players around their own penalty box and just defend and defend. And Arsenal plays the ball around in an attempt to find an opening. But not much to be found in the first 15 minutes and so still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Arsenal with a better attack then that goes to Monreal on the left flank, his low cross is hit by Özil but Norwich defender Bassong can clear for a corner. The first real chance of the match. More of the same a few minutes later. Özil with a delightful weighted chip to Monreal and his cross is met by Giroud but he can’t wrap his foot around the ball and finishes wide. Ramsey with a good run but his attempted cross is blocked by a defender. Arsenal now putting on the pressure on Norwich. Again a few minutes later Santi dances around the penalty area, gives it to Alexis whose fierce shot is palmed away by the Norwich keeper. Arsenal coming closer.
A back pass to the Norwich keeper, some pressure from Giroud resulting in a not that good kick. Alexis with a quick brain and quick feet intercepts the bad control from a Norwich player. Alexis immediately releases Özil who is one on one with the keeper and his delightful chip goes past the keeper in the Norwich net. GOAL!!! 0-1 to the Arsenal after 29 minutes.
Arsenal in control for the next 10 minutes with only a shot from Ramsey being blocked. Norwich gradually starts to go forward a bit more and out of nothing Grabban is found inside the Arsenal penalty area and he puts the ball way too simple past Cech. That came out of nothing but still it is 1-1 after 42 minutes.
Alexis is then shoved in to a camera pit in a completely needless and dangerous way. The ball was already out and still the Norwich defender found it necessary to give a blatant push in the back of Alexis who was completely unaware of what might happen. And Moss… did nothing. Even when the ball is out of play you can give cards for bringing players in danger Mr. Moss. Alexis clearly in pain and discomfort after his collision.
Arsenal a bit overwhelmed now and Norwich even with a good chance when a cross goes to the second post but luckily the Norwich player cannot keep the ball down and fires over. 1-1 after 45 minutes.
Early in the second half Cazorla being hit by a Norwich player and he goes down holding his knee. Luckily he can continue. Alexis with a cross from inside the penalty area that is being touched by Giroud, Ruddy misses but Bassong can come to the rescue before Özil can put it over the goal line.
Cazorla then is being booked for trying to evade contact with a Norwich defender…. Oh well… But then Alexis tries to get at the end of a cross and suddenly he pulls up holding his hamstring. I bet some Dutch physio will blame Wenger for this. I blame the fact that he got a nasty kick on that hamstring in the Dinamo Zagreb match that went unpunished and the push in the camera pit will not have helped him in anyway. Two bad contacts and then a muscular injurie. But in the statistics they will say that it is a muscular injury completely ignoring the fouls (unpunished) that went on before. Alexis has to leave the field and Campbell comes on.
Bellerin with an opening in front of him but you can see him doubting a cross or a shot and he then fires in the side net. Could have done better with this. Out of nothing a cross from Norwich hits the head of Gabriel who almost beats Cech with a header. But a world class save from our keeper prevents another Arsenal own goal. Not that Gabriel knew much about it.
At the other end Giroud heads over a cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain who had come on for Ramsey. Ramsey who was visibly still a bit rusty. Bellerin then caught out and a low cross from Norwich in the Arsenal box but Gabriel first on the ball and can clear. A cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain cannot just be reached by Campbell.
Arsenal end a difficult afternoon with a 1-1 result. A difficult afternoon and a difficult November month. Our worst month usually in the Wenger era proved once again to be very difficult. Somehow our opponents seems to be able to score with their first shot (and sometimes even only shot on target in the match) and we seem to struggle a bit when going in front when we ease off a bit.
But isn’t it amazing that after such a difficult month we are only 2 points from the top? The league looks to be tight this season with each team being capable of producing a surprise in each match. I think the champions will have a low points total at the end of the season.
Our bogey month is now over, let’s bring on the next and we just have to try to keep in touch with the top teams till we hit full form again in the second part of the season.