After losing to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday at the Hawthorns, the Gunners missed a golden chance to go top of the PL table. So Wenger’s men had a task cutout in front of them heading into yesterday’s fixture against Norwich City at the Carrow Road.
Fresh from a 3-0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Tuesday, the Gunners were high on confidence heading into the fixture against the Canaries and that confidence was evident with the way Arsenal started the game. However the injury curse struck us immediately again when Laurent Koscielny injured his hip and was replaced by Brazilian Gabriel Paulista in the eleventh minute itself. But that didn’t stop us from creating chances as we kept threatening the Norwich defense with well-timed runs and precise passes.
We finally broke the dead lock exactly at the half hour mark when German play-maker Mesut Ozil latched on to an inch perfect Sanchez pass and unleashed a superb chip past the keeper in to the bottom right corner to make it 1-0. But again our defense allowed the opposition to back into the game after scoring a goal, as we conceded just thirteen minutes after scoring.
Lewis Grabban latched on to a precise pass from Robbie Brady deep inside the box and beat Petr Cech with a low shot into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1. At half time the spoils were shared but it was the Gunners who dominated the half. The second half began on a disastrous note when Santi Cazorla picked up a knee injury in the very first minute of the half. But fortunately he decided to continue playing. However, now the injury has turned little serious as he seems he will miss weekend clash with Sunderland at the Emirates stadium.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half didn’t have a clear winner as both teams kept launching swift counter attacks when the other team gave the ball away in crucial areas. When the clock struck the hour mark our injury list had a new entrant in the form of Alexis Sanchez who was substituted the very next minute for Joel Campbell. The Chilean seemed to have pulled a hamstring and looks set to miss at least a month of action. Losing our best player at a crucial period like this will surely affect our Premier League title chances and Champions League knockout stage progression.
When Wenger saw our tired attack tired, he brought in Chamberlain for Aaron Ramsey in the seventy second minute which increased the tempo of our play. The last twenty minutes of the game saw the Gunners taking full control but it was of no use as the Norwich defense headed by the experienced Sebastien Bassong kept making timely clearances and crucial interceptions to deny our attackers from scoring the winner. The Norwich City defense defended with all their heart and pulled off an important point.
Despite having lion’s share of position, Arsenal failed to create many clear-cut opportunities and drew against a team which had a lack of confidence over the past few weeks and was lying at a paltry 16th place in the PL table before this fixture. And adding to this disappointing result both Sanchez and Cazorla are down with injuries. The only positive is that Koscielny’s injury is not serious and he along with English forward Theo Walcott are likely to return for the Sunderland game. With a must-win encounter against Olympiakos in the Champions League coming up losing two of our world-class players is a big blow.
So as usual let us just hope that Wenger tackles our next two fixtures in the right way and comes out on top in both occasions. Wenger’s Champions League knockout streak is also on the line, hence let us hope that he and the entire Arsenal team doesn’t disappoint the Gooners around the world.