Arsenal 4-0 Norwich City: Aubameyang stars as Gunners stun Norwich
Arsenal 4-0 Norwich City: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stars as Gunners stun Norwich a convincing 4-0 win over relegation-threatened.
The hosts, on their return to the Emirates Stadium, lined up with a three-man defence, with Bukayo Saka only starting on the bench despite penning a new contract.
Mesut Ozil was understood to be missing with a back injury but Matteo Guendouzi has left out of the 20-man squad again with the French midfielder feeling the wrath of Arteta.
The Gunners had been guilty of starting slowly in their three away trips since the Premier League restart but had no such problems here, with Dani Ceballos pulling the strings in midfield and setting up Alexandre Lacazette, who could only head at Tim Krul.
Ben Godfrey fired a warning, quite literally, when the Canaries defender launched a 30-yard piledriver against the outside of the post, with Emiliano Martinez beaten.
But after dominating the early parts of the game, it didn’t take long for the breakthrough to arrive – and in comical circumstances as far as Norwich were concerned.
Krul received the ball inside his own box and tried to outsmart Aubameyang. Bad choice. The Gabonese was alert to it, nicking the ball from the goalkeeper and tucked home.
That goal appeared to relieve the pressure for Arteta’s side and within four minutes, they had extended their lead with a fine team goal. David Luiz floated a ball out to Kieran Tierney, who spotted Aubameyang in the channel and Xhaka swept home from his cutback.
Norwich made a triple change at the break, with Onel Hernandez, Josip Drmic, and Adam Idah all coming on. Within a minute, Idah nearly pulled a goal back and the visitors were looking dangerous all of a sudden.
Arteta brought on Joe Willock for Reiss Nelson to switch to a three-man midfield and the move gave Arsenal more control of the game. But it was another horrendous error from Norwich which killed the game as Drmic unforgivably played across his box to Aubameyang and the 31-year-old made light work of the finish.
Cedric Soares finally made his debut six months after joining from Southampton and within five minutes made an instant impact, seeing his deflected strike nestle in the bottom corner as Arsenal sealed their joint-biggest victory under Arteta to keep their European dreams in touching distance.