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19 November 2011
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 26801
S. Morison 17'
R. van Persie 27', 60'
Arsenal hold out for the victory as van Persie - who else - scores a brace to hold off a spirited performance from Norwich. Arsenal should have scored more goals but were unable to because of some last gasp defending from Martin.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Norwich get a dangerous free kick from just outside the area after Santos needlessly pushes Holt in the back. Jonhson's kick harmlessly finds Szczesny's hands.
90' + 1'
Three minutes of added on time for Norwich to find an equaliser. Hold on to your seats ladies and gentlemen!
Superb strike from Walcott, who has been very impressive today. Instead of shooting from the right hand side he shoots and it hits the angle of the post and crossbar before going wide.
Yellow CardGrant Holt
Shouts for a penalty from Norwich but the referee gives a free kick against Holt instead.
Arsenal taking the sting out of the game slightly by keeping the ball. Norwich eager to chase them down but they are chasing shadows for now.
Jackson comes on for Pilkington as Norwich go with three strikers now. Arsenal will need to keep their wits about them for now as Jackson represents a very different proposition to Holt and Morrison.
Yellow CardMarc Tierney
Benayoun comes on to try and give a bit more defensive stability to the team and with ten minutes to go we are entering a really key moment of the game. Arsenal might need another goal to safe guard this win.
Good couple of saves from Ruddy. First from a Ramsey drive on the edge of the area then Gervinho has his shot saved by the keeper. Arsenal feeding off the gaps being created but Norwich are looking increasingly dangerous.
Arsenal very much playing on the counter now as they try and quell the inevitable Norwich pressure.
Norwich just starting to see a bit more of the ball here and could they be sensing an equaliser as they go to two up front. Mertesacker has had a poor game today and it won't get any easier with the introduction of Holt into the game.
The game has opened up even more than it previously was. Arsenal aren't content with two goals and Norwich are trying to secure the point. Holt comes on for Hoolahan as Lambert rolls his dice.
Yellow CardElliott Bennett
Norwich should be on level terms here. Morrison gets some space on the right hand side from Santos and if Pilkington gets anything on it it will be 2-2. Or so you'd think, the winger somehow doesn't get enough on it and it goes harmlessly wide. Big let off.
It will be interesting to see how Lambert shuffles his pack to try and secure at least a point from this game. Captain Holt is likely to come on but how will it affect their shape. Arsenal will be looking to exploit any gaps appearing from Norwich chasing the game.
GoalRobin van Persie
GOOOAAALLLL!!! van Persie is just in incredible form right now. Martin gets caught in possession on the halfway line and Song plays a through ball to the Dutchman who deftly lifts the ball over the onrushing Ruddy with his right foot. That's his 30th goal of the calendar year.
Brilliant save from Ruddy. van Persie plays a delightful through ball to Gervinho who tries to round Ruddy and thinks he has done only for the keeper to spread himself and get hands to the Ivory Coast international's shot. The game is continuing at this break neck speed from the first half.
Another chance falls for Arsenal as Ramsey hits the side netting. Vermaelen sprays a superb ball onto the right hand side for Walcott who finds Ramsey's run into near post and his flick hits the side netting.
Norwich's turn to have a chance. Vermaelen commits a foul just outside the area and Pilkington strikes it towards goal. It was hit with plenty of venom but Szczesny deals with it relatively easily.
Another chance falls to Arsenal and Gervinho should have done better. Vermaelen of all people was set free on the left hand side and lifted a ball into the area for Gervinho who had a free header from six yards out. However, his header is easy for Ruddy to deal with. A big let off.
Bright start from hosts as they see plenty of the ball. Bennett could have been brought on to help out on the right hand side with defending Gervinho as both he and Walcott had plenty of room in the first half. The move should also see some space open up for the Gunners' midfield three.
This is a positive move. Bennett comes of for Fox as the Norwich looks to chase this game. Exciting half in prospect.
That is half time here at Carrow Road and it has been an very exciting 45 minutes. Both teams throwing caution to the wind and not particularly thinking about defending. Norwich's goal was the result of some shambolic defending from German international Mertesacker while Martin has cleared three chances off the line for the home side. All to play for in the second half.
The game has become a bit disjointed as the game peters toward the end of the half. Just one minute of added on time here.
The ferocious pace of the game seems to be taking its toll on the players somewhat as it slows down as the seconds run out towards the end of the half. Still neither team looking hugely comfortable when defending.
A very speculative effort from Morrison just goes wide. The Welshman is set free with a brilliant throw from Ruddy and instead of trying to pick out one of his team mates he attempts a chip from the right and it goes harmlessly wide. The game has had a bit of respite in the last couple of minutes.
Arsenal being a bit sloppy in possession with Ramsey and Gervinho losing the ball in decent positions for the home side but it comes to nothing. Ten minutes to go in what has been an enthralling half of football.
Norwich being spurred on by the vociferous home crowd, which is seeing their team growing in confidence as the game goes on. They seeing much more of the ball than they did in the opening ten minutes.
This is a really entertaining game here so far. Neither team plays to defend the goal for 90 minutes and I would expect to see plenty more goals. It's not difficult to see why both teams concede a far few goals.
GoalRobin van Persie
GOOOAAALLLL!!! It has been coming it has to be said. Once again Walcott does brilliantly to skip passed Tierney and provide a great ball across the area which van Persie couldn't miss from two yards. Game on here.
Well this is getting silly for Arsenal in the space of two minutes Martin makes his second and third clearances off the line. Are they going to regret these misses come the end of the game. Surely plenty more goals left in this game with such poor defences on show.
Well completely against the run of play Norwich have scored and it won't be easy for Arsenal to get back in the game against this committed Canaries team. It will be interesting to see how Arsenal react to the goal.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Where has this come from? Not for the first time this season Mertesacker has made a schoolboy error. The long ball is played over the top and instead of dealing with the ball he is brushed off easily and allows Morrison to slide home from ten yards. Really poor defending.
Norwich will need to get a foothold in the game soon because at the moment Arsenal are cutting through the Canaries defence right now. Excellent start from the Gunners but they will be disappointed not to have scored just yet.
What a save that is! It hasn't come from one of the goalkeepers though. Gervinho does well to find Walcott with plenty of space on the right hand side. He cuts in on his left foot and his shot is destined for the top corner before Martin comes across to tip it over with his leg. Norwich living dangerously at the moment.
Norwich just starting to see more of the ball now but they must ensure they mark the Arsenal players a little tighter than they are currently.
That was pretty close. Andre Santos is sent down the left and had plenty of space to run into. The Brazilian looked up and played into the path of van Persie on the edge of the area and his quick shot goes just wide of the far post. The Dutchman had far too much space there.
Bright start from Arsenal here as they create a couple of chances through the pace of Walcott and Gervinho. Norwich need to get on the ball a bit and settle the game down.
That is more than half a chance. Immediately Walcott finds space down the right and lays it back for the most in-form striker in the league and van Persie can only drag it wide with his right foot. Decent chance early on though.
The Gunners get us underway in an unseasonably warm Carrow Road with the home fans in fine voice.
The team's come out in front of a full house at Carrow Road, which this time two years ago played host to Tranmere Rovers. How times have changed.
Arsenal make one enforced change with Carl Jenkinson injured with a stress fracture, which means German international returns alongside Tomas Vermaelen while Laurent Koscielny moves to right back. The Gunners have been in superb form in recent weeks and are unbeaten since the beginning of October.
Norwich make two changes to the team that lost out to Aston Villa before the international break. Fox and Crofts come into the team in place of Bennett and Holt as Paul Lambert looks to remain solid against the in-form Gunners.
Arsenal line up: Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Arteta, Song, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.
Norwich line up: Ruddy, Naughton, Russell Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Crofts, Johnson, Fox, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Drury, Holt, Jackson, Surman, Bennett, Wilbraham.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen welcome Goal.com's first live commentary of the weekend as a resurgent Arsenal head to Norfolk to face Norwich City. The Canaries have made an excellent to the season and remain in the top half of the table and will be confident of getting a result.
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