Norwich relegated after 2-0 loss to Arsenal
NORWICH, England (AP) — Aaron Ramsey scored a superb goal as Norwich bowed out of the Premier League with a 2-0 home loss against Arsenal on the final day of the season.
Norwich had a minuscule chance to avoid relegation but needed a big win over the Gunners on Sunday and fourth-bottom West Bromwich Albion to lose against Stoke. The Canaries also needed to overturn a massive goal-difference to edge out the Baggies, who lost 2-1 at home.
Ramsey put Arsene Wenger’s team in front in the 54th minute from Olivier Giroud’s fine cross, sending the ball into the top corner with a textbook volley for his 15th goal of the campaign.
Fullback Carl Jenkinson then scored his first Premier League goal for the London club with a deflected effort.
“We wanted to finish the job well and not concede,” Wenger said. “We have won 11 games away from home, I think it’s the best in the Premier League and it was our 17th clean sheet. That is remarkable as well.”
England midfielder Jack Wilshere made his return from injury at Carrow Road, a day before England manager Roy Hodgson announces his World Cup squad. French midfielder Abou Diaby also came on as a late substitute for his first match since March 2013 after a serious knee injury.
“The World Cup is in one month so there is plenty of time. He (Wilshere) can play now so it shows you that there is no problem for him to be available for England,” Wenger said.
Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, also hoping to be on the plane to Brazil, made three good saves in the first half before Ramsey opened the scoring.
Arsenal ended the season in fourth place — seven points behind champions Manchester City — and will be among England’s representatives in the Champions League next season alongside City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
“Unfortunately it’s the first time in the Premier League that you finish fourth with 79 points and it was very tight,” Wenger said. “I believe that Liverpool can be frustrated tonight, we can be frustrated, Chelsea can be frustrated because only one team can win it. But at the top the number of points made by all the four teams is top quality.”
Arsenal was in the hunt for the title for most of the season but away defeats against direct rivals damaged the Gunners’ ambitions. Wenger’s team has still a chance to end a nine-year trophy drought when it takes on Hull in the FA Cup final next weekend.
Norwich will be playing in the Championship next season with Cardiff and Fulham, the two other relegated teams.
“I am not passing the buck but it is a 38-game season and you need to pick up as many points as you can across the season. The biggest problem has been scoring goals, it has not been good enough this season,” said Norwich interim manager Neil Adams, who replaced the fired Chris Hughton with just five matches left. “The club is in good health going forward, they have cleared the debt and now the focus has to be on getting back in the Premier League.”