Van Persie inspires Arsenal
Arsenal continued to climb up the Premier League table as they came from behind to defeat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road.
Last Updated: 19/11/11 9:00pm
Arsenal continued to climb up the Premier League table as they came from behind to defeat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road on Saturday thanks to an inspirational performance from captain Robin van Persie.
Steve Morison gave the hosts the lead against the run of play on 16 minutes but Van Persie restored parity 10 minutes later.
Then just before the hour mark the Netherlands international forward found the target yet again to put the Gunners into a lead that they did not relinquish.
Norwich had chances of their own but the margin of defeat could have been greater had Theo Walcott's shot late in the second half not come off the woodwork.
The Gunners signalled their intent early on as Walcott got away down the right and cut the ball back for Van Persie, but for once he failed to connect properly and dragged the shot wide.
After Norwich ventured forwards, the visitors were soon back on the offensive, Van Persie driving a low shot across the face of John Ruddy's goal after latching onto Andre Santos' pass.
After 12 minutes, it took an acrobatic clearance by Russell Martin to deflect Walcott's curling left-foot effort wide just when the ball was destined for the bottom corner following a quick counter-attack by Gervinho.
The Gunners continued to pour forwards as Norwich were stretched down both flanks.
However, yet again Arsenal were undone by a mistake at the back.
Per Mertesacker failed to shield what should have been a routine ball through to the goalkeeper, which allowed Morison to outmuscle the towering German before slipping a shot past Wojciech Szczesny to give the Canaries the lead on 16 minutes against the run of play.
After such a period of dominance, Arsenal were shell-shocked, but soon went back on the offensive.
Martin was again in the right place to knock Van Persie's looping header clear.
Norwich keeper Ruddy and the Scotland defender then combined to hack away Gervinho's angled drive after the Ivory Coast wideman had cut in from the left.
The equaliser eventually arrived on 26 minutes when Walcott skipped past Marc Tierney to cut the ball back through the six-yard box, where Gervinho failed to connect with a reverse flick, which fortunately presented Van Persie with a tap-in for his ninth goal in five Premier League games.
To their credit, Norwich were not overrun, and continued to make progress in the Arsenal final third, with Morison battling well supported by Anthony Pilkington.
However, more often than not, the home side opted for the wrong choice of pass with men over.
Walcott switched to the left and continued to torment the Norwich backline, but Arsenal could not find a way through ahead of the interval.
Norwich replaced David Fox with winger Elliott Bennett for the second half.
The change almost paid dividends when Bennett's ball from the right flew across the Arsenal area.
Thomas Vermaelen then scampered forward and his cut-back was glanced goalwards by Gervinho, but without any real power to trouble Ruddy.
Walcott was sent clear away down the right, and his near post cut-back was slotted into the side-netting by the onrushing Aaron Ramsey.
Norwich were cut open again when a sweeping Arsenal counter saw Van Persie slip Gervinho through the centre, but Ruddy was out quickly to block before the loose ball was then hacked away.
On the hour, the Dutchman showed him how it should be done when referee Phil Dowd played a fine advantage after Ramsey had been tripped, which allowed Alex Song to send Van Persie away in the right channel.
The Gunners skipper took one touch before clipping a superb, angled finish over Ruddy.
To their credit, Norwich quickly tried to get themselves back into the game, with Bennett's low cross only needing a touch from Pilkington at the near post.
Paul Lambert's men have shown a great deal of character this season, earning a 1-1 draw at Liverpool, and refused to accept defeat, with substitute Grant Holt giving Mertesacker a real test.However, the Norwich club captain was booked for taking a tumble in the box as Arsenal kept possession well during the closing stages to close out a fifth straight Premier League win as their resurgence continued.
|Norwich City||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||11|
|4||Shots off Target||5|