Norwich 2-1 Wigan: Hoolahan winner sends hosts above Arsenal

The 30-year-old and Anthony Pilkington scored to sweep aside Roberto Martinez’s men as the Canaries gave an assured performance to make it five league wins in a row at Carrow Road
Norwich comfortably came through an attacking game on Saturday afternoon as they beat Wigan 2-1 at Carrow Road.

The hosts led through midfielder Anthony Pilkington in the 15th minute after good work by Wes Hoolahan on the edge of his own half, playing in his fellow midfielder to fire past Ali Al-Habsi.

The visitors equalised early in the second half thanks to a good strike by substitute Shaun Maloney before Hoolahan restored the Canaries' lead with a header from a Pilkington cross.

Norwich boss Chris Hughton made five changes from the midweek Capital One Cup defeat by Aston Villa with Leon Barnett, Marc Tierney and Russell Martin all making way for the returns of Steven Whittaker, Michael Turner and Javier Garrido. Meanwhile, Jonny Howson and Steve Morison dropped out for Alex Tettey and Hoolahan.

Wigan were looking to build on their 2-2 draw with QPR last weekend and manager Roberto Martinez brought in Mauro Boselli and Jordi Gomez to replace the duo of Franco Di Santo and David Jones.

The game started at a lively tempo as both sides looked to break the deadlock but it was the hosts who grabbed an opener after tenacious work by Hoolahan as he dispossessed Boyce to slide in Pilkington - his ferocious left-foot strike flew past Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal.

The home side should have doubled their lead more than once as the half went on as Pilkington shot wide from two yards after good work by Robert Snodgrass. Then Snodgrass himself missed from the same distance as he got his head on the end of a Garrido cross only for Al-Habsi to make a good save.

Wigan finished the first half better and after good initial work by Arouna Kone, the ball arrived at Ronnie Stam on the right flank. He delivered a precise cross which was met by a decent header by Boselli but Bunn saved easily.

It looked as though Norwich’s dominance would continue after the break as Grant Holt forced a good save from Al-Habsi from the kick-off. However, Wigan responded well and half-time substitute Shaun Maloney scored after unleashing a powerful shot from 20-yards after a fine run by Kone down the left.

The visitors looked like a different side in the second period as they started to control the game in the manner Norwich did in the first 45. But the hosts rallied on the hour mark as striker Holt had a good opportunity, volleying wide from inside the box.

And soon after the home-side restored their lead after great work down the left by Pilkington, who turned Boyce inside out abd crossed for Hoolahan to head home.

The third looked to be on the way as first Bradley Johnson, then Pilkington were both denied by great saves by Al-Habsi. Still, the Canaries held on to move above Arsenal and into seventh in the Premier League.