A goal in each half by in-form Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was enough to condemn Norwich City to their second Premier League home defeat of the season.

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The Canaries stunned the Gunners by taking a 16th-minute lead through Steve Morison, after he dispossessed the dithering Per Mertesacker.

But Dutch international Van Persie levelled 11 minutes later, tucking home a cross from Theo Walcott.

The decisive goal came after 59 minutes when defender Russell Martin made one crucial error in an otherwise excellent display, getting caught in possession on halfway, enabling Alex Song to set up Van Persie for his second of the afternoon – and his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

City made three changes in the second half but hard though they worked, they seldom seriously troubled Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and the Gunners looked more likely to extend their lead.

The game was watched by an all-seater record crowd for the Canaries of 26,801, the biggest home gate since 1984.

City boss Paul Lambert made two changes to the team beaten 3-2 at Aston Villa a fortnight earlier. Midfield pair David Fox and Andrew Crofts were back in the starting eleven at the expense of winger Elliott Bennett and striker Grant Holt, who were relegated to the substitutes’ bench.

There was another change on the bench where full-back Adam Drury replaced on-loan defender Ritchie de Laet.

Arsenal made one change after the 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion with Germany international Mertesacker recalled for the injured Carl Jenkinson, sidelined by a back problem. It meant a switch to right-back for Laurent Koscielny, with Mertesacker partnering Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence.

In the opening minute, Arsenal pushed forward through Walcott on the right and his low cross was turned past the post by Van Persie, without connecting cleanly.

They kept up the pressure and Tierney was forced to concede a corner when he blocked a shot by Walcott after Song had crossed from the left. Van Persie took the kick but Koscielny headed wide under pressure from Russell Martin.

Pilkington found Morison as City attacked down the left but as he tried to cut inside the striker was dispossessed by Koscielny.

In the sixth minute, Van Persie went closer with a left-foot shot that fizzed past the post after Santos found him in space.

A brilliant goalline clearance by Russell Martin denied Arsenal the lead in the 11th minute when they broke quickly on the counter-attack. Gervinho found Walcott, who curled in a left-foot shot that beat Ruddy but was acrobatically hooked off the line and out for a corner as Martin, facing his own goal, stretched out his right leg.

The value of that clearance was magnified in the 16th minute when Morison gave City the lead, scoring for the third game in a row.

It was a goal out of nothing down to Morison’s battling. Tierney knocked a long ball forward and Mertesacker should have had no problem dealing with it but he dithered as Morison harried the ball away from him and scored with a shot that brushed Szczesny’s hand the way in, to send Carrow Road delirious.

Arsenal could have levelled inside a minute when Arteta’s shot was blocked and Van Persie, from six yards out, stabbed the rebound wide.

Russell Martin’s knack of being in the right place at the right time served City well with two more vital clearances, first from a Van Persie header, then when Ruddy parried a shot from Gervinho, sent clear by Van Persie, and Martin hooked the loose ball clear as it headed goalwards.

The equaliser came after 27 minutes, however, through Van Persie, his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Walcott got much the better of Tierney and crossed low into the six-yard box where Gervinho attempted to score with a fancy backheel but failed to connect, leaving Van Persie to tuck the ball away from close range.

Gervinho then wriggled deep into Norwich territory, only for his shot to be deflected out for a corner by Barnett, but Arteta’s kick was cleanly caught by Ruddy.

On the stroke of half-time, City failed to make the best of a decent break as Tierney sent Morison away on the left but he curled a tame cross straight into Szczesny’s arms.

• Half-time: Norwich City 1, Arsenal 1

There was a change at the interval as Lambert replaced Fox with Bennett, Crofts switching to a more central role after playing on the right in the first half.

Bennett supplied the first cross of the half into the danger zone after good work by Morison but it found no takers in the Arsenal area.

Arsenal could have gone ahead five minutes after the break when Vermaelen made good ground on the left but Gervinho headed straight at Ruddy.

Pilkington was given his first dead-ball opportunity a minute later when Hoolahan was fouled by Vermaelen, curling his shot over the wall but within comfortable reach of Szczesny.

A splendid crossfield ball from Vermaelen sent Walcott racing away on the right and his cross to the near post was met with a volley by Ramsey, but into the side netting.

Ruddy kept City on terms with a fine save after 55 minutes when Van Persie slipped a pass through to Gervinho, the offside flag stayed down and the ’keeper did superbly to smother his shot before Johnson hacked the ball clear.

But after 59 minutes, it was 2-1 to the Gunners as Van Persie struck again, sadly after an error by Russell Martin. The City defender was caught in possession as he dribbled to the halfway line and Song was able to put Van Persie clear, where he beat Ruddy with a delicate finish.

City could have levelled on 65 minutes when Bennett crossed from the right but Pilkington, coming in at the near post, flicked his shot across goal when he might have done better.

Bennett was booked for bringing down Gervinho as Arsenal counter-attacked, and as they pressed again, Walcott squeezed in a low shot that Ruddy was right behind.

Midway through the half, while the Gunners waited to take a free-kick, Holt was sent on for Hoolahan.

Morison had an appeal for hand-ball rejected as he tried to cross from the right, then a Pilkington free-kick was swung into the danger area where Vermaelen headed clear,

Barnett did well to deny Ramsey a shot as the Gunners looked for a third and, as City rallied, Pilkington charged down a clearance but Holt was penalised for fouling Mertesacker.

Crofts had a shot charged down and in a swift counter-attack, Ruddy saved twice, first parrying a shot from Arteta, then gathering another from Gervinho.

Arsenal replaced Gervinho with Benayoun with 12 minutes to go.

Tierney was booked for a foul on Walcott with nine minutes left, and City made their final change when Jackson was sent on in place of Pilkington.

Bennett, already booked, was lectured by referee Dowd for a foul on Koscielny but escaped a second yellow.

Holt was booked, however, with four minutes left as he was adjudged to have dived under challenge from Mertesacker, while the home crowd appealed optimistically for a penalty.

A powerful drive by Walcott whizzed past the angle of post and bar as the Gunners tried to make the game safe.

Jackson went for the direct approach, firing a 25-yard shot over the top as the game entered the final minute.

Holt did earn a free-kick by backing into Santos and while Johnson waited to take it, Arsenal replaced Walcott with Djourou. Johnson floated the kick towards the far post but Szczesny made a clean catch.

• Result: Norwich City 1, Arsenal 2

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Russell Martin, Tierney; Crofts, Fox (Bennett, 45), Bradley Johnson; Pilkington (Jackson, 82), Hoolahan (Holt, 68); Morison. Subs (not used): Rudd, Drury, Surman, Wilbraham.

• Arsenal: Szczesny; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Song; Walcott (Djourou, 90), Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho (Benayoun, 78); Van Persie. Subs (not used): Fabianski, Arshavin, Rosicky, Chamakh, Coquelin.

• Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

• Attendance: 26,801

• Goals: City: Morison (16). Arsenal: Van Persie (27, 59)

• Bookings: City: Bennett (66), Tierney (81), Holt (86).

20 comments

  • Oh dear, I go off into the wilderness for a week and when I come back everyone seems to be agreeing with Ged, this is starting to look like the Green Un site. Having caught up with the highlights and press reports it does seem that we have the bulldog spirit and attitude but not the horsewpower to overcome the big teams at the moment. The top midfields are taking the ball off us and sending through fast movers like Walcott and Agbonlahor who are being denied by last gasp heroics from Messrs Ruddy, Martin and Crofts. I agree with Algarve that QPR is the crunch point for Norwich, and also that we aren't going to get there with a series of soft dives in the box. I'd rather see players with daft barnets than cheats.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Wake up guys. Arsenal are one of the best sides in one of the best leagues in the world. Yes we got beaten well but so will the majority of the teams in this league when Arsenal are on form. Anyone who thinks that losing 2-1 to Arsenal in our first year back is a poor result must be totally ignorant. Wake up guys. 4th from bottom will be a great season for us this season. Any better is a bonus. The boys are doing much better than any of us could have hoped so stop being negative and show some common sense in your comments!

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    baguio

    Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Here are the facts. Croft and Fox not good enough. Wesley not good enough. He is lazy. Watch the games on TV very closely. He does little for the team. Here is what we need. Tough tackling midfielder to win the ball and do the work for our very creative midfielders. Grant Holt top be publicly told that if he continues to embarrass himself and the club then he is no longer wanted. Go play in Italy Grant where your antics will be appreciated. We can't play Fox and Croft in the same team. No support for the front man who ever he may be. We are doing fantastically but could do better with that midfield man.

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    Gazza

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

  • OK. So we didn't win, but there will be lots of other teams who get heavier defeats than we did. One thing about this Norwich team is the 100pc effort from all of them. Its unfortunate that they seem to be taking turns for the 'error of the match' award, but they are all learning. These errors will become less frequent as the season goes on and things will become less frantic and more controlled. We must all be patient. At the start of the season we all thought that survival in the PL would be a success. It will happen and I will be more than happy to finish around15th. Whilst I'm on here, is it just me or do a lot of people use this platform for gibberish? I haven't got a clue what point some of the contributers are making. Its like a foreign language. Why dont we all speak English so we can all understand? OTBC!!

    Report this comment

    MickH

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

  • I dont like to agree with Ged.....but Holt's diving is becoming obvious. It could turn into "cry wolf" and he could become denied valid penalty calls. Likewise his getting penalised following a perfectly valid turning of an arsenal defender could suggest that referees are already wary of Mr Holt.

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    Algarve Canary

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • Trouble is MickH, many of us who try to submit hopefully sensible comments and a little good-humoured banter, find our efforts disappear into the ether. Yes, indeed, Gibberish seems to be the primary language of many, with English a poor second. I agree with your football comments, too! My pre-season prediction was 47 points and 14th place. We`ll see! OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • Like others, I am not impressed with Holt's dive on Saturday. It's not something I like to see in the game at all. Having said that, I don't agree that he is taking up valuable space on the bench that a 'keen youngster' could have. I'm not sure that we have any youngsters that are ready for this league, and don't forget that he scored to earn us a valuable point against Liverpool. My main concern at the moment is the defence where we seem to keep getting exposed by pace in the full back area. Another cause for concern is that it is looking unlikely that we will know whether the likes of Ward and Ayala can deal with life at this level in time for Lambert to make an informed judgement about whether or not to strengthen.

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    Preston Canary

    Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Lambert has made some inspired substitutions these last 2 seasons, so we have to forgive him a bad one. Once he took Fox off, and brought Bennett on, we lost 30% of our competitive edge in midfield. I like Bennett, but with the exception of one good cross, he never got into the game. He was out of his depth, and it showed. Patrick Collins in the Mail on Sunday was very complimentary about Norwich, but said we defended very naively, and were flat, and slow minded in defence. The other problem, I feel is Morison. He is very effective in spurts, but his first touch is suspect, and unlike Holt, he cant shield the ball and give his team mates time to take advantage of his possession. Morison would be far better in a 4:4:2, where he can play off, or be played off. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a tall, speedy striker wasnt on Lamberts Christmas list. That defence is being made to look better than it is, by Russell Martin, and de Laet doesnt inspire confidence from the wings. Likewise, another concern for me is that a mole close to Derby County tells me that our Spanish import from Liverpool isnt the finished article either. Having said all that....I think we have a very good team, they have started well, and defeats against teams like Villa and Arsenal arent the end of the world. Defeat by QPR, would be a different matter!!!

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    Algarve Canary

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • I am not Ged in disguise but have to partially agree with his Holt comment, I have supported City at home and away since 1949 but Holts fouldive was the most discusting I have ever seen,he is taking up valuable space on the bench that could be given to a keen youngster.That said he has been a brilliant player for us in the past thanks to him we are where we are. Forever O T B C.

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    richard grout

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • Gazza, I was hoping Bradley Johnson would be that tough-tackling midfielder. On the more creative side, Surman seems to have not made the grade? Perhaps he, Crofts and Fox are a tad lightweight for the Prem? But don`t write them off while the Guru of Glasgow is pulling the strings. OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

  • It was a very entertaining game and yes Norwich made a mistake and are punished for it. Arsenal lost 8-2 at Old Trafford, Norwich lost 2-0 . Lamberts team are learning and the boys are doing good.

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    Smiler

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • Agreed, I too thought Johnson would give us the steel in the middle but he doesnt seem that kind of player. He is though still worth his place in the etam

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    Gazza

    Friday, November 25, 2011

  • Trouble was, Swiss, Stereo Dog said something sensible! Holt`s dive was awful.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • I agree with you Baguio that 4th bottom at the end of the season would be a great result and that there is no disgrace in losing 2-1 to Arsenal. My concern about the full backs is as much about whether we have cover for loss in form. Take Tierney for example, I think he has been magnificent up until now, but he has had to play consistently at the top of his game. I think that an on form Tierney wouldn't have sold himself as badly as he did on Saturday. We have to be able to legislate for losses in form and, as Lambert is want to say 'we need to bring in one or two to give the group a hand...' I recognise that he was up against someone who is exceptionally quick and skilfull, but I also have a recollection of the Wigan game when Moses tore us apart at full back (though on that occasion it was Russ who was mainly on the receiving end). At the end of the day this is the PL and all of the established teams have genuine pace in the forward line and we have to learn to minimise the damage that it can cause. I do think that we deserve our current position in the league, but I think we will probably need to bring in 3 players in Jan as the teams below us will inevitably strengthen and will have more resources with which to do so. OTBC and in Lambert we trust.

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    Preston Canary

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

  • Then they arrive twice!!??

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • You lot should be ashamed of yourselves - if it wasn't for Grant Holt and Paul Lambert who knows what division we would be playing in now. It is clearly wrong to cheat but I was down in Southend surrounded by Pseudo-Cockney Gooners when that donkey Mertesacker barged into the back of Holt when he shielded the ball beautifully on the edge of their box - he was then through on goal but the ref somehow awarded a free kick to the Donkey when he looked like a dive-bombing stuka! If the ref had got that decision right I think we could have grabbed an equaliser - thanks to Holt - seen in that context I can see why Holt dived later - he had been clearly wronged 10 minutes before and that earlier decision cost us the match ultimately.

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    Tony C

    Friday, November 25, 2011

  • Agreed, I too thought Johnson would give us the steel in the middle but he doesnt seem that kind of player. He is though still worth his place in the etam

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    Gazza

    Friday, November 25, 2011

  • Trouble is MickH, many of us who try to submit hopefully sensible comments and a little good-humoured banter, find our efforts disappear into the ether. Yes, indeed, Gibberish seems to be the primary language of many, with English a poor second. I agree with your football comments, too! My pre-season prediction was 47 points and 14th place. We`ll see! OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • An excellent result! One we should be hugely proud of. To get away with only conceding two goals in a match where we should have been about 5 down after 20 minutes is a remarkable achievement. To keep RVP down to only two goals was amazing. He must have thought all his Christmas's had come at once when he saw our statuesque 3rd rate defenders floundering around the pitch. Lambert needs to start earning his cash on the training ground this week, Morison needs to be taught some footballing basics like how to trap a football, he was very poor yesterday and ass for Holt.........embarrassing, just embarrassing. He needs to practice his diving because at the moment it is nothing more than cheating. All in all a pathetic performance from the defence and a disgraceful performance from the rest, Holt in particular.

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    Ged Steroo

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

  • In a week when racism has hit the sporting headlines, I was dismayed by the display of Fatism by some Norwich fans, ok is was directed at the referee, but even so it doesn't make it right. I had my overweight friend with me and to say he was upset is putting it lightly. Some think that Fatism ought to made illegal on the same grounds as race, age, and religious discrimination are and I totally agree as there is no place in sport or life for that matter for fatism as it’s equally nasty and completely unnecessary, especially at Carrow Road.

    Report this comment

    Old Long Balls

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

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