Arsenal deliver Arteta plan perfectly to heap yet more gloom on Norwich
Just in case the message was not clear enough, Mikel Arteta would deliver it in a second language. And then a third. “Press,” he screamed at Reiss Nelson. “Va,” he yelled in Spanish at Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerin. “Allez,” he said to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Three languages, one instruction: get after Norwich City. And for the second time in two Premier League games, it worked to spectacular effect. Eddie Nketiah stole the ball from Southampton’s goalkeeper to score Arsenal’s opener at St Mary’s last week and Aubameyang did the same to Norwich’s Tim Krul here.
When it happens once, it might be luck. When it happens in backto-back Premier League games, it is clearly part of a strategy. It was the moment that gave Arsenal the breakthrough and they did not look back. Four minutes after Aubameyang (right) had picked Krul’s pocket, he set up Granit Xhaka to slam in Arsenal’s second.
On a day of encouraging news, with Bukayo Saka committing to a new contract, this was as pleasing a result as Arsenal could have hoped for. Aubameyang struck again in the second half and there was a debut goal for full-back Cedric Soares, slamming a firm shot into the corner soon after coming off the bench.
Aubameyang’s brace took him beyond the 50-goal mark in the Premier League. The sooner he signs a new contract, the better for the club and Arteta. “Hopefully he will score another 100,” said Arsenal’s head coach. “What he has achieved says everything about his mentality and the way he works. Hopefully we can keep him here.” That is three wins in a row for Arsenal, now up to seventh in the Premier League, and four league defeats in a row for Norwich. Their relegation looks more inevitable by the minute and Daniel Farke’s rage was obvious as early as the 10th minute, when he screamed at his team to be more “aggressive”. He then hooked three of his players, including top scorer Teemu Pukki, at half-time.
“We know we have to be at our best level to win against the best teams,” said Farke. “Once you make mistakes at key moments in the game, the other teams have the quality to punish us.”