Arsenal took a step towards Champions League qualification with a narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium.
The win was marred by boos and protests from the home fans who are clamouring for change at the club. Almost all the decision made by Arsene Wenger, especially the substitution of Alex Iwobi, was met with jeers by the protesting fans.
A “time for change” banners were held up by the fans in the 12th and 78th minutes to show their grievances against the inability of the club to win the Premier League in the last 12 years.
It was divided loyalty at the club as another section of the fans showed their support for the Frenchman, displaying a banner that read: There’s only one Arsene Wenger”. Arsenal had to soak up all the pressure as Norwich, who are battling to avoid relegation, controlled a better part of the first half, much
to the displeasure of the home fans.
The Gunners failed to register a shot on target in the first 45 minutes and have Petr Cech to thank for denying Nathan Redmond the opportunity to put the Canaries ahead. Per Metersacker was replaced by Gabriel due to injury shortly before Danny Welbeck came off the bench to score the winning goal.
The England attacker had only spent less than four minutes on the pitch when he scored with the first shot on target. Olivier Giroud headed down Hector Bellerin’s cross which the former Man United forward pushed into the net.
Arsenal moved to the 3rd position, two points behind 2nd placed Tottenham and ahead of Man City pending the outcome of the match between the Etihad outfits and Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
The loss has pushed Norwich down to the 19th place and will have to defeat Man United next week to keep their hope of surviving the relegation alive.
Speaking after the match, Wenger said: “In the first half they had two or three good shots and Petr Cech did very well. We lacked pace and seemed subdued. It was better in the second half and in the end we got a good win. “Welbeck came on and finished well. It was a good lay-off by Giroud. We had three strikers on at that time.”