You can see a cut-down version of this report on Arsenal.com : Talking Heads – Norwich V Arsenal

Arsenal started like I’d hoped. They played with a frenetic pace and a massive desire to start well. Norwich City played a strict 4-5-1 and set out their stall to be hard to break down. They are a tough team to break down and so it proved.

Santos, Cazorla and Podolski looked a lively combination down the left and it look like it could bear fruit. Santos, in his first start of the season looked to stamp his samba style on the game with step-overs and tricks to keep possession and team up with Podolski. We looked dangerous when we played our football, but time went on and the goal didn’t come.

Norwich-v-Arsenal-008
(Picture courtesy of the Daily Mail)

I felt at times we were just trying too hard. Trying to force a goal. As with last season, our desire to dominate and force goals eventually cost us. When an attack broke down, Norwich City’s Tettley broke through the midfield and when no Arsenal challenge came he hit a swerving drive low at the Arsenal goal. Vito Mannone was equal to it and read it well, however the pace on the ball meant he could only parry it and Grant Holt, Captain and hero of Carrow Road finished past a clambering Mannone into the far corner.

Shellshocked, Arsenal lost their stride a bit. We lost our football style as Norwich kept denying us space in the centre. Santi became isolated and wasn’t able to affect the play. Ramsey kept working hard to create space and opportunities, but Norwich were relentless in their work-rate and team work.

Arsenal kept pressing, but were limited to pushing the ball out wide to Jenkinson, Gervinho and Santos. The crossing was decent, but Michael Turner and Seb Bassong are good in the air and defended well, restricting Giroud to scraps.

In the second half Arsene spotted that we needed something fresh, a different approach so he introduced The Ox for Podolski. The Ox started brightly with some driving runs. Unfortunately a direct dangerous run down the right was stopped abruptly by some robust, but legal defending. This was to signal the end of his contribution and he was soon substituted for Arshavin.

Our desire was great, it just didn’t feel like it was going to be our day. Norwich were tenacious and deserved the win.

We need to forget this swiftly, Schalke approaches and we will need to return to form if we are going to get a positive result.

There is much more to come from this side, we can achieve great things this season. Post-international games are tough and we need to dig deep and believe in ourselves. Our football can and will win major honours again.

WG