Arsenal beats Norwich 4-1 in EPL
LONDON (AP) — German playmaker Mesut Ozil justified his status as Arsenal’s most expensive player, scoring twice as the Gunners showed great offensive power and extended its lead in the English Premier League to two points with a 4-1 win over Norwich on Saturday.
Now unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions, Arsene Wenger’s team dominated and was rewarded with a superb goal in the 18th minute when Jack Wilshere concluded a swift collective move after Olivier Giroud flicked the ball between four defenders to set up the England striker.
Having recovered from the knee injury he sustained while playing for Germany midweek, Ozil scored his first league goal to double his team’s lead with a header from Giroud’s cross in the 58th after a fast counterattack.
Jonathan Howson pulled one back for Norwich before Aaron Ramsey and Ozil put the game to bed.
With Santi Cazorla also returning to midfield, Arsenal did not lack creativity but struggled to unsettle Norwich in the first 15 minutes, as the visitors enjoyed good spells of possession.
Arsenal broke the deadlock when Wilshere beat the offside trap and the Gunners then took control of the game, pressing for the ball high and producing the type of free-flowing football they have been playing since the start of the season.
Giroud came close in the 37th minute after Kieran Gibbs cut the ball back for the Frenchman in the area, but Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy produced an excellent reflex save at the near post to deny his left-footed effort.
Norwich worked hard to come back into the game and created its best chances towards the end of the first half. Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was forced to stretch out to deny Leroy Fer’s effort from outside the area.
Norwich continued its good spell after the break and put Arsenal under pressure, but its defense held firm before Ozil doubled his team’s lead with a header.
Norwich players did not give up as Arsenal sat back and Howson made the most of Per Mertesacker’s attempted clearance to put the Canaries back in the game, sending the ball past Szczesny in the bottom corner in the 70th minute.
Arsenal pushed hard afterwards and substitute Ramsey scored a brilliant goal after dribbling past two defenders to make it 3-1 with his ninth goal of the season before Ozil slotted home from Tomas Rosicky’s cross.
“We were well in the game and at halftime we felt that if we had good periods like we did in (the) first half, we could get something from the game,” Norwich manager Chris Hughton said. “But they have wonderful players who, when they have half-chances, can turn them into goals.”