Arsenal managed to scrape their first win, and indeed their first goal of the season too, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang placed the ball over the goal-line in the 66th minute after a desperate scramble involving Nicolas Pepe on one side, and Brandon Williams and Tim Krul on the other. It seemed the goal could be disallowed at one point, with Aubameyang clearly in an offside position as Pepe fought with Williams for the ball, but the officials in the VAR room appeared to have judged that the ball came off the Manchester United loanee, which would obviously make Aubameyang’s position irrelevant.
After three games it seemed as if things couldn’t get much worse for Arsenal in the Premier League, but it’s funny how much tension can come with playing the worst team in the league at home. Norwich City were always going to put up a fight but if the Gunners were serious about vaulting back into the top six race, they needed all three points – and it didn’t really matter how they got them.
In the end a 1-0 win handed Arsenal the spoils and after the match, manager Mikel Arteta spoke of his relief at finally getting a victory on the board after three straight PL defeats.
It’s a bit dramatic to suggest that any one game will determine the future of a football manager’s career but if Mikel Arteta can’t guide this Arsenal side to a win over Norwich City tomorrow, serious questions are going to be asked about his longevity in the role. The Gunners are currently stuck at the bottom of the Premier League table without a goal or a point to their name, and the only other sides joining them down there are Norwich and Wolves.
Ahead of this huge clash against the Canaries, Arteta spoke about what he’s hoping to see from the fixture.
Speaking to the press ahead of Arsenal’s encounter with Norwich City on Saturday, manager Mikel Arteta said he wasn’t looking for any excuses for the poor results of the first three Premier League rounds, but he is looking forward to having some players, previously absent, available for selection.
“Well, I’m really looking forward to having everybody available and trying to start the season the way we want,” Arteta said.
“We don’t want to use any excuses. We know how difficult the start was, with injuries, with a lot of COVID issues that we had, and with difficult games we had to play. We have to reset now, and hopefully get everybody back on track, and start winning football games, which is what we have to do.”
Norwich, Norwich, Norwich.
Fans can talk all they want about Arsenal’s summer transfer window and what they were able to do on deadline day, but in the end, that doesn’t really mean a whole lot. The international break has given us all some time to sit back and dwell on what our clubs are getting up to both on and off the pitch but in reality, it probably doesn’t matter what Mikel Arteta has been doing with regards to incomings and outgoings.
Arsenal haven’t stopped monitoring Emiliano Buendia of Norwich City and could move for his signature this summer if they fail to keep Martin Odegaard, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic.
The Gunners aren’t the only club interested, however. Aston Villa are watching his situation as well, and there has been contact from an unnamed ‘top club’ from the continent after his maiden call-up to the Argentina national side recently. The Canaries would apparently prefer to keep the 24-year-old attacking midfielder at Carrow Road following their Premier League promotion, but they have reluctantly accepted that it is the right time for him to move on to continue his development, quite apart from his wish to do so.
Arsenal made no secret of their search for an attacking midfielder in the January transfer window. They had previously tried to sign Houssem Aouar from Olympique Lyon but failed, and one of the names that appeared in the press as a potential alternative was Norwich City’s Emiliano Buendia.
The 24-year-old Argentinian is certainly a talented player, very creative. He was a standout performer in what ultimately ended as a doomed Premier League campaign for the Canaries. However, Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber has recently dismissed the reports of interest from Arsenal, or any other club, for his services.
As David Ornstein repeatedly claims, Arsenal remain on the hunt for an attacking midfielder. Mesut Ozil has gone to Turkey where he will be playing for Fenerbahce after having his contract terminated, but manager Mikel Arteta obviously feels the team needs a player of similar qualities. If you remember, the pursuit of Houssem Aouar came to nothing towards the end of last summer’s transfer window, and although a number of reports since suggested that the interest would soon be reignited, there has been no further developments.
The expectation was that Arsenal would come flying out of the blocks against Norwich City, mainly because they really had to if they wanted to keep their European hopes alive. Sure, they’ve got their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to look forward to, but the Premier League still feels like a more realistic avenue for them if they’re serious about playing in either the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League next season.
There’s no rest for the wicked in the Premier League as teams up and down England’s top flight attempt to push forward towards a positive end to the campaign. One team who is caught up in that mire is our beloved Arsenal, and while it may seem unlikely, it does still feel like there’s a chance they could end up qualifying for some form of European competition next season.
The next step towards doing so will come against Norwich City who, as we all know, have their own set of problems to deal with.