New man­ager, same old Arse­nal held at Nor­wich

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Nor­wich, UK - Care­taker man­ager Fred­die Ljung­berg could not end Arse­nal’s long wait for a win as Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang’s dou­ble only sal­vaged a 2-2 draw at strug­gling Nor­wich on Sun­day.

The Ca­naries twice led through Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell only for Aubameyang to level, first from the penalty spot and then with a clin­i­cal fin­ish af­ter the break.

But Arse­nal also had goal­keeper Bernd Leno to thank for com­ing away with a point as the Ger­man saved bril­liantly from Kenny McLean, Pukki and Emil­iano Buen­dia.

Unai Emery was sacked as Arse­nal man­ager af­ter seven games with­out a win in all com­pe­ti­tions that had seen the Gun­ners fall well off the pace in the race for a top-four fin­ish.

Ljung­berg re­mains a fans’ favourite from his ti­tle-win­ning days as an Arse­nal player, but he suf­fered the same prob­lems as his pre­de­ces­sor as the vis­i­tors’ fire­power up front was needed to cover up their de­fen­sive prob­lems.

Granit Xhaka re­turned to the Arse­nal side for the first time in the Premier League since an ex­plo­sive clash with the club’s fans as he was sub­sti­tuted against Crys­tal Palace last month that cost him the cap­taincy among four changes from Emery’s last start­ing line-up in the league.

Shko­dran Mustafi was sur­pris­ingly re­called for his first out­ing in the Premier League this season, but it did not take Ljung­berg long to re­alise the Ger­man is not his an­swer to Arse­nal’s prob­lems a cen­tre-back.

Ljung­berg’s side had made a bright start, but fell be­hind to Nor­wich’s first dan­ger­ous at­tack when McLean’s pass played in Pukki, who twisted and turned David Luiz be­fore see­ing his shot de­flect in off Mustafi for his first goal in nine games.

How­ever, Nor­wich have also made a habit of giv­ing them­selves a moun­tain to climb this season with de­fen­sive er­rors and gifted Arse­nal a route back into the game when cap­tain Cristoph Zim­mer­man han­dled a free-kick in­side his own box.

Aubameyang saw his first spot-kick saved by Tim Krul, but was given a se­cond chance af­ter a VAR re­view for en­croach­ing by the Nor­wich play­ers and fired home the re­taken penalty.

Aubameyang has now scored half of his side's 20 Premier League goals this season as the Gun­ners’ new cap­tain led by ex­am­ple to smash home at the back post from a cor­ner just be­fore the hour mark.

Nor­wich re­main in the bot­tom three, but inch to within three points of safety.

Wolves, Sh­eff Utd main­tain un­beaten runs

Wolves and Sh­effield United edged closer to­wards the Euro­pean places in the Premier League af­ter shar­ing the points from a 1-1 draw at Mo­lineux on Sun­day.

Vic­tory for ei­ther side would have taken them up to fifth in the table and the vis­i­tors got off to a fly­ing start as Lys Mous­set struck in the se­cond minute to give Chris Wilder's men the lead.

United had chances to ex­tend their ad­van­tage, but were waste­ful and they were pun­ished when Matt Do­herty headed home an equaliser 26 min­utes from time.

The draw means Wolves ex­tended their un­beaten run to nine league matches, while the Blades are now with­out a de­feat in seven games and re­main un­beaten on the road this season.

(AFP)

Arse­nal's Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing a goal

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