Arsenal 1-0 Norwich: Danny Welbeck deepens Canaries' relegation fears
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 01/05/16 9:08am
Danny Welbeck spared Arsene Wenger's blushes as Arsenal deepened Norwich's relegation fears amid fan protests with a 1-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
It took substitute Welbeck just three minutes to seal victory for Wenger on the Frenchman's 750th Premier League game at the club, rifling home Olivier Giroud's knock down on 59 minutes.
Disgruntled supporters voiced their concern at the club's stagnation on 12 and 78 minutes of the Saturday Night Football clash, but they were in the minority as most fans in the stadium declined to join in.
For Norwich, defeat sees them remain 19th in the table and staring relegation in the face after positive results for Newcastle and Sunderland earlier on Saturday.
Arsenal, meanwhile, leapfrog Manchester City into third and move to within two points of north London rivals Tottenham.
Wenger named the same side fielded in Sunday's goalless draw at Sunderland while Alex Neil was forced into five changes as Russell Martin, Ivo Pinto, Wes Hoolahan, Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome started in north London.
It took the Canaries just six minutes to create the first opening, but Redmond's low drive was denied by the legs of Petr Cech.
The first of two planned protests took place on 12 minutes - to signify the 12 years since Arsenal's last Premier League title win - with banners held aloft demanding change.
But the protest, carried out by a small minority, was met with a rousing chorus of "We love you Arsenal we do", with those holding placards subjected to boos.
The Gunners would go on to control the rest of a monotonous first half where Norwich, with relative ease, stood firm against a toothless Arsenal attack.
The passive hosts almost found themselves behind before half-time as Redmond gathered Hoolahan's cross on the right and stung Cech's palms on 42 minutes, before he dragged his shot a yard wide two minutes later as the visitors ended the half with a flourish.
Things continued in the same fashion after the break, with Arsenal unable to penetrate the resilient Norwich backline.
It took the introduction of Welbeck on 56 minutes, who replaced Alex Iwobi - much to the displeasure of sections of the Arsenal support - to open up the game.
Three minutes after his arrival the Gunners were in front as the England striker beat John Ruddy with a low effort which deflected off Sebastien Bassong.
Alexis Sanchez shot wide shortly after, as Arsenal grew into the game, before Norwich substitute Dieumerci Mbokani was thwarted by a last-gasp Gabriel challenge when the goal was gaping on 70 minutes.
Mesut Ozil fizzed a crisp volley over the bar on 73 minutes and that was the closest either side came to scoring as Arsenal eased the pressure on Wenger with victory that left his counterpart Neil with three games to save the Canaries' season.
Arsenal: Cech (7), Bellerin (6), Mertesacker (5), Koscielny (7), Monreal (6), Elneny (7), Ramsey (6), Sanchez (6), Ozil (6), Iwobi (6), Giroud (6).
Subs: Gabriel (6),Welbeck (8), Coquelin (5).
Norwich: Ruddy (6), Martin (7), Pinto (6), Bassong (7), Olsson (6), O'Neil (6), Howson (7), Redmond (7), Hoolahan (7), Brady (6), Jerome (6).
Subs: Naismith (5), Mbokani (6), Jarvis (5).
Man of the Match: Danny Welbeck.