A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double secured Arsenal a 2-2 draw against Norwich, in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game as Arsenal caretaker manager.
Teemu Pukki gave Norwich the lead against the run of play on 21 minutes, but just eight minutes later Arsenal were level. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a re-taken penalty after Tim Krul saved the striker’s initial effort, which was taken again for encroachment.
In first half stoppage time Norwich restored their lead, Todd Cantwell cooly finishing into the bottom corner to make the score 2-1 at half time.
Aubameyang then scored his second goal of the game with 10 minutes played in the second half. The Gabon international rifled the ball into the top corner to make the score 2-2.
Despite an entertaining game, neither side were able to find a winner and had to settle for a point each.
With just one win in nine games in all competitions, Unai Emery was sacked as Gunners boss earlier this week. Arsenal came in to the clash with Norwich at Carrow Road eight points off the top four in the Premier League.
Under the interim charge of former Gunners legend Ljungberg, Arsenal started brightly. Norwich had to thank some desperate defending to stop Joe Willock and then Alexandre Lacazette giving the away side an early lead.
Arsenal were dominant in the opening stages of the game. A dangerous corner was headed towards goal by Shkodran Mustafi after Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul came out to deal with an arial ball and miss-timed his punch. Onel Hernandez was well placed to head the ball off the line.
Norwich’s best chance of the opening 15 minutes came through Kenny McLean. The 27-year-old found space following Hernandez’ lay-off, but his ferocious shot was well held by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
But despite Ljungberg’s side’s control in the game it was the home side who took the lead. Pukki managed to race away on the break and found space on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. His deflected shot wrong-footed Leno and found its way into the back of the net to give Norwich the lead against the run of play.
But just two minutes later and Arsenal had a glorious chance to level the score. Christoph Zimmermann was guilty of handling the ball inside the Norwich penalty area and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the penalty spot.
Aubameyang stepped up and saw his tame spot-kick saved by Krul. But in controversial circumstances VAR decided that due to encroachment from Norwich players, the penalty would be re-taken. Aubameyang’s second attempt was converted and Arsenal were level.
An entertaining first half ended 1-1
Into stoppage time and Norwich ended the half in perfect fashion. Arsenal switched off momentarily and Hernandez found space down the left flank. His short pass back to Cantwell on the edge of the penalty area was hit first time by Cantwell who guided the ball past Leno to restore Norwich’s advantage.
An entertaining first half finished 2-1.
For the second time in the match Arsenal needed to come from behind to get something from the game and that is exactly what they did. On 56 minutes Aubameyang found space after Norwich failed to clear the danger from a corner. The 30-year-old rifled into the top corner to level the scores at 2-2.
The Canaries almost restored their lead immediately. Matteo Guendouzi gave the ball away in the midfield and McLean’s low, powerful effort was expertly saved by Leno.
Norwich were well on top following the Arsenal equaliser and the impressive Cantwell was inches away from scoring his second goal of the game. His first time effort was narrowly wide of the post.
The home fans were enjoying what they were seeing as Norwich created chance after chance. Pukki expertly turned Mustafi in the penalty area, but once again Leno was in the way to make the save.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Arsenal looked the more likely to find a winning goal. A series of half chances meant that the Norwich defence began to sit deeper as the game reached its conclusion.
Despite an opening final few minutes, neither side were able to find a winner despite a stunning late save by Leno from a Rolando Aarons deflected strike.
The matched finished 2-2 with Ljungberg taking a point from his first game in temporary charge.
Arsenal face Brighton next on Thursday evening. Norwich are in action agasint Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium a day earlier.
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