Arsenal’s victory over Norwich City, their first in the league this season, was far from the optimistic predictions which were strewn over social media prior to kick-off.
The first 10 minutes opened with the desire of a side desperate to end the pain of the last four weeks. Every player harried the Norwich players, continuously pushing to regain possession.
Yet, like so many games prior, the dominance Arsenal earned couldn’t be converted into clear-cut chances. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was, however, treated to a much greater frequency of service than he’s had to deal with beforehand.
Arsenal made a habit of trying to feed the Gabonese forward early with deep through balls. These increased in regularity as the team tired from the early first half pressing. Bar one clear chance for Aubameyang however, Arsenal went into half-time level and doubt began to spread throughout the Emirates.
The second half threatened to be a replica of the first until after 20 agonising minutes, it happened.
Arsenal’s goal felt like the footballing Gods had assessed the pain and frustration the Gunners supporters have suffered through for so long this season and finally showed remorse.
As a flailing Pepe deflected the ball somehow across goal, it fell to the perfect man on the line and Aubameyang mercilessly tapped the ball in.
Arsenal couldn’t possession on their lead despite chances made for Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe. As the seconds ticked by, a dangerous Norwich cross fell to Teemu Pukki but Gabriel Magalhaes dove in for a match-winning block. A reminder of Arsenal’s fragility and the returning quality.
3 points won and a new heart is needed. If the season is to go on like this, you’ll be welcome for the post-match therapy sessions from The Arsenal Way’s reaction shows.
Burnley away comes next and provides an excellent barometer to see whether this was just a flash in the pan or the official start to Arsenal’s season.