Match report: Norwich – Arsenal 1-1

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.



26 Replies to “Match report: Norwich – Arsenal 1-1”

  1. Cazorla’s injury is worrying. He was forced to remain on the field because all our subs had been used.
    One point from the WBA and Norwich games is not the result expected of would-be champions.
    Surprisingly, we are still only 2 points from the top.
    But we must not fail to look the gift-horse in the mouth much longer. 😉

  2. An interesting fact: Moss was the referee when we lost Debuchy when Arnautovic from Stoke pushed him in the back when the ball was already out of play.
    This time again Moss was the referee when our players and certainly Alexis was cowardly pushed in to the camera pit and he looked in real trouble after that incident.

    And on both (Debuchy and Alexis) occasions Moss did absolutely nothing….

  3. It is sad that they used the “ball is out of play” mantra to ignore the push on Alexis and Debuchy. I’ll bet if two players had a “head to head, face to face confrontation” (like they sometimes do on field)just off the pitch there would soon be cards and fines given. Ergo, a silly ruling.

    Another thing, if we always expect Nov to be a bad month, then it most probably will be.

    Carzola looked a little “not there” at times, and Bellerin was also not going forward and crossing as much as he usually does. Are they both a little tired i wonder?

    Ox is back, and others are due back soon, so let’s hope the dreaded Dec month is conquered by the team.

  4. That’s why I would like to see our players putting a bit of pressure on these refs. Not in a way that gets them sent off but he should have been surrounded after the camera pit incident. Not sure if it would work, but surely worth a try?
    Our players just seem resigned to the inadequacy of these refs…..and hard to blame them

  5. How unlucky are we with injuries!

    The Koscielny injury was a big one because we dont look the same without him there. Gabriel was wrong side for the goal – frustrating.

    I though Norwich looked like they had more energy than us in the second half, which is unusual to say that. Perhaps this is the problem this time of year with the Champions League games and thats why November is notoriously sticky.

    Mind you,our rivals have been dropping points last few weeks which means we havn’t really lost much ground. How on earth is that Man Utd team above us though, whenever I see them they look poor.

  6. We have become a target for off the field assaults. Danny Rose on Sanga, Arnautovic on Debuchy and now Ryan Bennett on Sanchez.
    And nothing is being done about it.

  7. Though I agree that Gabriel was at fault for the Norwich goal , Ramsey’s defending for the goal was ,as usual, amateurish. He has a tendency to dive in when all that is required is for him to stay on his feet and make the player pass sideways or backwards.

  8. “That’s why I would like to see our players putting a bit of pressure on these refs. Not in a way that gets them sent off but he should have been surrounded after the camera pit incident. Not sure if it would work, but surely worth a try?
    Our players just seem resigned to the inadequacy of these refs…..and hard to blame them”

    How right you are, of course.
    Can you imagine this sort of a push on… say …..Thierry Henry , resulting in our star player falling into a camera pit, not get an angry response from a Veira, ljunberg, Keown, Adams or some others?

    Not a single reaction of any sort from any Arsenal player , is simply breathtaking.

    This is what people mean when they say Arsenal lack leaders on the pitch.

    Your meal ticket gets unceremoniously and completely unnecessarily pushed into a pit , which could’ve resulted in a serious injury, and the whole Arsenal team does absolutely nothing.

  9. The assault on Alexis was very bad because he was jumping up and so had no chance to adjust himself when he was pushed. Extremely dangerous push. Not even a card given….

  10. @Tom = leadership is not defined by doing something that is now regarded as wrong. Teams that have, in the past, surrounded the referee to demand action in their favour (i.e. against the opposition) have been castigated by the media and have even got their own players booked for their trouble.
    Not complaining is, in the long term, to the benefit of the team in terms of its relationship with refs and with the authorities.
    Having said that the inaction of Moss (twice) is a disgrace and on this occasion led to the opposition scoring and on both occasions our player getting an injury.

  11. Carzorla could easily have been substituted when Campbell came on for Ramsey. It was obvious he was struggling.
    Still, no need for all this negativity… Sanchez will now get his rest … Gabriel will now get a run in the side… Theo back next week … We could still be top or thereabouts at Christmas and then Wilshire. Welbeck, Sanchez will be ready to hit the ground running ….

  12. Walter
    Two things are equally certain.
    The Dutch physio using any Arsenal injury to promote himself , and you apportioning most Arsenal injuries to either contact or bad luck, thus absolving Arsene Wenger of any responsibility whatsoever.

    It’s very amusing.

    Arsene Wenger took a gamble on Ox in the league cup game, when even a five year old could see the player was in some sort of discomfort while doing his stretches seconds before the kick off.

    Arsene Wenger panicked minutes later when Ox went down to a hamstring injury, when he sent Walcott on without the proper warm up in a totally meaningless game.

    That’s two injuries which could’ve been easily avoided.

    But then a play like the senseless Sanchez push into the camera pit comes along, and all Arsene Wenger apologists jump to their feet crying out – there! , you see , that’s why Arsenal get injuries.

    This debate is so predictable and boring just as predictable the injury situation is at Arsenal.

  13. Tom,
    I wrote after the Dinamo match that Alexis COULD get a hamstring injury from the kick he got in that match. But there is no certainty in this as there never is as each human body can react differently. Alexis usually has strong muscles and recovers rather quick.

    But that the push in the pit had an impact is clear. Alexis was his usual himself till he got pushed. No sign of any trouble at all. After that he was a shadow of himself. He was almost invisible.

    One could also ask the question if Alexis mentioned it at half time? Knowing him he would not even mention a broken leg if he thought he could still play on….

  14. Walter
    Alexis Samchez has played 32 games since the FA cup final. Let that sink in for a bit.
    This is the primary reason for his hamstring injury.

    We can go back and dissect every one of those 32 matches trying to look for kicks and falls, but if you know anything about hamstring injuries , you’ll know you get them from running.

    The camera pit incident didn’t help for sure , but to say it had any negative effect on his hamstring is speculation and wishful thinking.

    I don’t even blame Wenger for starting Sanchez against Norwich , but I do blame him for putting himself in this situation where he almost had no choice but to start him,

    If you are honest with yourself, you will admit Arsene Wenger has played players through red zones before and payed the price( Ramsey).
    Sanchez is just the latest example.

  15. Tom,
    each manager does the same with their best players.
    Last season Mourinho gave absolutely no rest to his key players at all apart from them being really injured.

  16. I think we have to really be objective here and realize that some players are injury prone in Arsenal. Hazard was the most fouled player last season, yet he hardly missed a game for Chelsea. Ronlado and Messi are the most fouled players in La Liga, yet they play most of their teams’ games. I can bet that none of our players is as fouled as the aforementioned three players, so why are we always facing injury crisis?It’s quite easy to predict that the following players will miss many games for Arsenal every season: Walcott, Ox-lade Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs,Arteta. The following often miss quite a number of games, but dont get injured as frequently as the above listed ones: Flamini, Ramsey, Welbeck,Koscieny, Debuchy. The players i can say are not injury prone so far are: Sanchez, Giroud, Cazorla, Ozil Mertersacker, Monreal,Bellerin, Coquellin. I know Ozil and Giroud missed few months last season, but they dont get injured often and still played many games for us last season just as they are doing this season. I believe Sanchez was already nursing an harmstring injury before the match, and because we were short of options, Wenger risked him, and now it has backfired. My issue with Wenger is that since you know Walcott, Ox, Wilshere and Arteta are very prone to injury, why not factor in the likelihood of their injuries while preparing for the season. Having Walcott as an alternative striker to Giroud is not wise, having Arteta as an alternative to Coquellin isn’t wise either,or an inconsistent Flamini(it’s not coincidental that we haven’t won any match since Coquellin got injured, we win more matches when he plays),having a Cazorla and Ramsey as a midfield alternative to Wilshere was wise, so is having Monreal as an alternative choice at left back to Gibbs(Imaging having Andre Santos as our alternate left back *pukes*).Giroud has played too many games in a row, and he wasn’t sharp in the last match.I hope Wenger buys a fit striker that isn’t injury prone, who can give Giroud adequate competition(Giroud seems to thrive on competition).

  17. Walter – that push on Alexis I would class as violent contact – therefore a red card. (Well that’s what I would do in my games anyway) – off topic I watched part of West Ham v West Brom – Atkinson was ref – he played an advatange, immediately the ball went out of play for a throw to the other team – surely he should have giving the free kick!

  18. Good to see we are getting more football team owners writing in.

    Incidence of Injury in Indoor Soccer
    Lindenfeld, et al
    Am J Sports Med 1994; 22; 364

    > Collision with another player was the most common activity at the time of injury, accounting for 31% of all injuries. The most common injury types were sprains and muscle contusions, BOTH occurring at a rate of 1.1 per 100 player hours.

    Emphasis mine. Sprains are ligament and tendon.

    Note: the variance of various injury rates is high enough to make injury rate determination difficult. Two different studies can easily produce much different rankings on rates. A different study found contusions most likely, followed by sprains and then strains.

  19. Lots to think about.

    I thought we looked very tired for long stretches, which is pretty understandable after a European game and with a depleted squad. Think the order of incidents may be wrong in the match report and the push on Sanchez was moments before the goal.

    Could be a coincidence, could have been fatigue and a set of tired players trying to save a bit, but from nowhere they had gotten on top of us at that point. Earlier in the match I’d been thinking about the difference it makes when teams are not constantly fouling us. Norwich had been relatively clean, our class with the ball was evident, they were generally resisting most of the opportunities to foul us when they were close to the ball but not close enough to win it.

    I think it was tiredness behind our dropping off before half time, but it would fit with the wider pattern over the years if that dangerous push on Sanchez made a contribution. It is basically the rationale behind fouling us : get in our heads, make our players inhibited on the ball, as well as actually stopping us playing and seeing what favours the ref will give.

    I remember from one of our bad days at Stoke a few years back seeing footage of our midfielders giving the ball away cheaply and not playing their normal game, for fear of being smashed. They can’t be blamed for that, and it is simply the result of success for years of foul play, assisted by terrible refereeing.

    So who knows in this case if that stupid, shocking, unpunished bit of foul play worked against us, but i have no doubt that overall it does. What does it do to professional footballers to feel unsafe on a pitch, less safe than they should be, and to know referees will not protect them properly? That’s been a big question for me for years now.

    Much as I’d never have admitted to it at the time, it worked well on me and most of my teammates in my playing days : the dirtiest teams made us play differently and less effectively than normal. The most any of us would say about it was that we’d love to play with proper referees (in more than half the games in later years we didn’t have one at all, so it was left to someone from either club. Bad news against the rougher areas, where punching wasn’t a bookable offence at times)

    That’s the situation for us though, farcically bad refereeing is the norm, proper referees as bad as some clueless bloke off the touchline : an alternate reality almost, justice wise, where Gabriel’s flick is supposedly a sure red (if it had made contact) but pushing someone into a concrete pit off the field of play is worth only a sheepish grin.

    I’m amazed it doesn’t affect the players more than it does. I have to end with questioning whether we focus as a club enough on the reality of it,though, how it is instead of how it should be. The argument, for instance, that we’d lose more than we’d gain by arguing and surrounding refs is a strong one, but yesterday showed there have to be exceptions to that. The Norwich player and the ref himself were helped so much by no-one supporting Alexis in that moment, and it seems likely to me that sort of thing is likely to leave everyone on the pitch feeling deflated and isolated.

    The mitigation is that things go badly for us when we do protest (Sagna, Diaby, Gabriel), and so in the long term are conditioned to react as we do, probably with instructions from management to try not to react. A wholly dispiriting set of circumstances and one which can only be remedied two ways :(1) become so good that the dirty play and rubbish refereeing is rarely able to stop us, or (2) look to bring in a few players and characters who fight back directly.

    I think we’ve exclusively focused on (1) all these years. There’s no proof the other option would work better, and it feels unlikely that Wenger will pursue it at this stage. We now face an extremely tense period where we have to hang in and hope to be in contention when players return.

    I’ll miss Wenger tremendously when he goes and think the league will,too, as it’s a guarantee the next guy will be more in line with football in general- cynical, pragmatic, less of an idealist, less honest- but in truth I suspect it may all be a bit less wearing for me at that point, and I may have a bit less invested emotionally.

    All this means that if the great thing happens, and we triumph playing this football, I will be less entitled to a full share in that joy (in theory at least), on account of my doubting, frustration, and the simple fact I would have undoubtedly played it differently over these years and prioritised athleticism, physicality and aggression in a different way than Wenger has.

    Anyway, that’s my lot. Big Sam up next!

  20. moss was horible, norwich players fooling left and right without any notice, but every contact by arsenal player is whistled, and then Cazorla of all people gets the first yellow of the match with his first ‘foul’ (i honestly could not see any wrongdoing from him) and near the Norwich box!
    did Moss took Nevilles terrorism propaganda to action?

    as a side note, the sun now claims Arsenal should be top of the league if not for incompetent referees

  21. very eloquent Rich. Wenger will always have my utmost admiration, for his philosophy, strength and principles, but there is a niggling part in my thoughts that wished he would fight fire with fire a bit more. If someone kicks our players, have someone who will kick them back, and other neandertal responses. Yes, our players will be penalised…..but would it in time make some less likely to inflict harm on our players if there was going to be a consequence?
    Sometimes, we appear at least to make it too easy for the cynical to triumph. A pulis side should not be able to live with a Wenger side.
    Still think our players should have been all over the ref and Norwich player after that camera pit incident

  22. Wow – amazing if the Sun is starting to highlight refereeing “blunders”. This could be significant – with the Sun part of the same stable as Sky Sports as well.

  23. I also note that the camera pit incident was highlighted by TV – and the Norwich player has come out today denying it was deliberate. Maybe he protests too much? Retrospective action anyone? But don’t hold your breath…

  24. Now the Sun has found Arsenal getting the shitty end of the stick with dodgy ref calls. That now means that three different studies have shown we consistently suffer more than other teams because of bad refereeing. Debatable Decisions, The Sun and Walter’s Referee Reviews. The first two are completely nothing to do with the club so cannot be accused of bias by those doubters who accuse Walter of being biased in his assessments.

  25. Tom – your take on Alexis injury is a load of bollocks. In fact your whole injury assessment bis based on anti Wenger BS. I commented on a knee in the back of Alexis’ thigh in the WBA game with an assessment that he would get a hamstring injury because of it. My thinking is absolutely correct – I am a gifted Indian diagnostician & healer. Wenger does not realise what impact some of these tackles have as he is a tactical coach (not a healer).

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