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    Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City: Jeers turn to cheers for a selection of Arsenal fans


    By Chris Lincoln

    Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Ramsey, Iwobi, Sanchez, Ozil, Giroud

    Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, O'Neil, Brady; Hoolahan; Jerome

    The pressure was well and truly on for both managers as Arsene Wenger's Arsenal met Alex Neil's Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.

    For Wenger, it was a case of being at war with the fans. During the week he blamed the paying public for his side's poor record at home because of the 'negative atmosphere'. He also suggested that the bank managers 'would only provide loans for the construction of the Emirates if he signed a five year deal with the club'. The man taking charge of his 750th Arsenal game was clearly under pressure.

    Alex Neil faced a different task as his side began the game 19th in the table, following a win for relegation rivals Newcastle United and late draw for Sunderland. Norwich had to get something out of this game with just three remaining until the close of the season.

    The Emirates was plagued by fan protests

    Arsenal lacked creativity and precision as they dominated possession in the first half but failed to create an opportunity of note. For the protesting Arsenal fans it is an all too familiar sight for the side that has not won a Premier League title in twelve years, as the Gunners seemed to run out of gas and drop their tempo towards the latter end of the campaign.

    It was actually Norwich who created the best opportunities of the opening half. Five minutes into the 45 and the same time before the end, England Under-21 international Nathan Redmond had identical efforts parried away by Petr Cech from just inside the box. The attacking midfielder also lashed an effort wide just before the whistle blew.

    For the discontent home fans, the only half chances their side could muster were wayward headers from defenders Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, whilst Russell Martin bravely threw himself in the way of an Olivier Giroud shot. Surely an Arsene Wenger side who had 'only lost the title because of a negative atmosphere at the Emirates' could only get better in the second half?
    Danny Welbeck scored his 50th career goal

    For fifteen minutes the answer was emphatically no. Yet Arsenal's patient approach eventually paid off, just moments after Wenger was bemoaned for taking Alex Iwobi off instead of Olivier Giroud. It was that man Giroud who created the opening goal as his knock down fed substitute Danny Welbeck, in turn smashing the hosts into the lead.

    The goal sparked the Premier League's highest chance creator into life, as Mesut Ozil fed a delicious ball through to Alexis Sanchez, only for the Chilean to fire straight at John Ruddy. Ozil then whistled a long range effort just over the crossbar himself.

    Norwich struggled to break into the Arsenal half as they had done so successfully in the opening 45 minutes, with a last ditch tackle from substitute Gabriel preventing Dieumerci Mbokani from getting a shot away, closing out their best chance of the second half.

    Mohamed Elneny had a late effort turned over by Ruddy, as Norwich had no response and a lacklustre Arsenal edged their way to a 1-0 win. The result brings Arsenal back to third in the table and in pole position for a Champions League spot, as jeers turned to cheers for the home fans at the final whistle. Meanwhile, Norwich find themselves two points from safety with just three games left.

    Photos by Reuters and Getty Images
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    Item Reviewed: Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City: Jeers turn to cheers for a selection of Arsenal fans Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Chris Lincoln
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