Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bernd Leno were the only bright spots for a lackluster Arsenal, who held Norwich City to a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Arsenal were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, but fell behind against the run of play. Norwich City grabbed the lead through Teemu Pukki, whose shot took a heavy deflection from Shkodran Mustafi and past a helpless Bernd Leno. Moments later, though, the game was back on level terms after Christoph Zimmermann handled the ball inside the Norwich box.
Up stepped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to take the resulting penalty, only to see his spot-kick being saved by Tim Krul. However, after an encroachment was spotted, the penalty was retaken. This time, the Arsenal captain made no error in finding the back of the net. Heading into half-time, though, Norwich had their lead back, as Todd Cantwell struck a wonderful close range goal.
However, the scores were levelled up for a second time by Aubameyang, whose driven finish made it 2-2. On the other end, Leno made a number of top class saves to ensure Norwich never scored a third goal, as the game ended in a stalemate, a whimper of a start to Freddie Ljungberg’s time as the interim manager. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ljungberg’s charges.
Bernd Leno: 8/10
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might be getting most of the plaudits for his game changing displays. But, at the other end, Leno continues to be just as crucial to preserve the points that Aubameyang is earning. This time around, Leno made six saves, with the flying stop to deny Kenny McLean standing out among the other top class efforts. Simply colossal.
Calum Chambers: 4/10
Chambers started the game strongly, providing a constant outlet in the final third, albeit without a noteworthy end product. However, as Norwich started to take the game to Arsenal, Chambers was pegged back more, where a lack of pace left him troubled against the trickery of Onel Hernandez. Worse still, he was out of position for both the goals that the hosts scored. Inexcusable.
Shkodran Mustafi: 4/10
A surprise inclusion by Ljungberg, Mustafi nearly scored from a corner before Hernandez cleared his header off the line. It was all downhill following that moment, though, as the German constantly afforded the opposition attackers too much space to work with.
This tendency was paved the way for both the goals, with both Mustafi and partner David Luiz just not looking up to the task of containing the Norwich attack. His first Premier League start of the season might just end up being his last for the foreseeable future.
David Luiz: 5/10
Much like Mustafi, Luiz was culpable of not closing down the Norwich forwards, especially for the first goal, when he could have stopped Pukki from aiming his shot at goal. With his experience, he really needs to do better at the back instead of letting the opposition derive joy from running at him.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
Another surprise starter, ahead of Kieran Tierney. Kolasinac made quite an impression, particularly when charging forward. Defensively, he was in trouble at times, but the highlight of his performance was his strong link-up with Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang. Showed a lot of purpose in his bursts as well. A strong display.
Matteo Guendouzi: 5/10
Arsenal’s most consistent midfielder this season had a slightly different role than usual to play on Sunday. Assigned to be the ball carrier in the middle of the park, Guendouzi did not really suit the role all that well. Did not perform ably in the defensive phase either, as Norwich bypassed the Arsenal midfield rather easily.
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
Speaking of the midfielders being bypassed, Xhaka was rather disappointing on his return to Premier League action. Like many of his teammates, the former Arsenal captain started strongly, looking to set a quick tempo to the game. But, when he faded, it went horribly wrong, with his lack of mobility rendering him a passenger. Needs to address his defensive deficiencies.
Joe Willock: 5/10
The best of the three midfielders, but only slightly so. Willock showed a lot of energy, helping out on both ends of the pitch. However, the end product was lacking in his game and inexperience began to show as the minutes wore on. Needless to say, there is scope for improvement.
Mesut Ozil: 6.5/10
A decent performance by Ozil, who created a great deal of threat with his deep, incisive deliveries from set-pieces. His link-up with Kolasinac was the biggest source of chances for Arsenal, with Ozil creating four in the first half alone. A little after the hour mark, though, the playmaker started fading, which is when his influence started to wane. Nevertheless, a rare positive on the day.
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
Lacazette was bright in the early exchanges, getting into scoring positions. After the initial stages, the Frenchman was barely involved, which is quite surprising considering the nature of the game. Will hope to move on from this blip, especially with Nicolas Pepe lurking on the sidelines.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8/10
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now scored more Premier League goals since making his debut (42) than any other player in the competition.
Arsenal’s only hope. pic.twitter.com/bW6srmEZup
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 1, 2019
As was Leno at the back, Aubameyang was Arsenal’s saviour in the final third, scoring each of the goals for his side. Could have easily ended with just one, though, had VAR not spotted an encroachment when he missed his penalty the first time around.
Did not miss at the second time of asking. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen in the latter stages, perhaps affected by Ozil’s drop in level. Even so, Aubameyang did as much as he could, bailing Arsenal out for the umpteenth time this term.
Lucas Torreira: 6/10
The first substitution for Arsenal, Torreira was brought on to add more control in the middle of the park, which he did for the most part. Made a stunning block towards the end of the game, making it easy for Leno to connect the ball.
Bukayo Saka: N/A
Brought an injection of energy in its latter stages, but could not find a way to influence the proceedings, frustratingly even losing the ball at times.
Gabriel Martinelli: N/A
Martinelli was introduced with just a couple of minutes left in the game and he did not have time to make an impact.