Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rediscovered his form while Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka ran the show as Arsenal beat Norwich City 4-0 on Wednesday.
In what was a thoroughly dominating performance by Arsenal, who were barely troubled by Norwich over the course of the game bar a couple of instances. Going forward, the hosts had their chances from the early exchanges itself, but had to wait till the half hour mark to take the lead, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced Tim Krul into a mistake before tapping into the open net.
Aubameyang was then involved in his side’s next goal as four minutes later, he provided the assist for Granit Xhaka, whose thumping shot found its way past the Norwich keeper. Midway through the second half, the Arsenal captain scored his second after being gifted the ball by Josip Drmic.
The win was then rounded off with ten minutes left in regulation time, as Cedric Soares, making his debut for Arsenal, scored his first goal for the club, with a driven left-footed long range shot. The result took the Gunners up to seventh on the table, with the north Londoners now just eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mikel Arteta’s men.
Emiliano Martinez: 7/10
Starting another game in the Arsenal goal, Martinez enjoyed one of the easiest evenings of his career. Tested just a couple of times, the Argentine was equal to whatever Norwich threw at him, with the save from Kenny McLean’s free-kick standing out. Kept things simple with the ball, only misplacing 7 long balls.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6/10
Continuing his upward trajectory under Arteta, Mustafi put in another largely solid performance, shutting off the threat of Todd Cantwell quite well. Dominant in the air, the German international won each of the 4 aerial duels he contested. However, his passing rate was a paltry 78 percent and he gave away a cheap foul late in the first half. Taken off for Rob Holding at the break.
David Luiz: 7/10
Making his first Premier League appearance since the disastrous evening against Manchester City, Luiz was much improved from his last memory in the top-flight. The Brazilian hardly complicated matters, keeping a check on Teemu Pukki superbly.
His numbers at the back were mighty impressive, with Luiz making 6 clearances in addition to blocking a shot and winning 3 duels. Also crucial in the build-up to Granit Xhaka’s goal, as it was his pass that opened up play beautifully before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang laid on the assist. Could Luiz be an asset for Arsenal going forward, or is this just a false dawn?
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
Starting a second successive game in the back-three, Kolasinac was hardly troubled, thanks to Arsenal’s domination over Norwich. This allowed the Bosnian to take up positions higher up the pitch and link up well with Xhaka and Dani Ceballos. Precise with the ball, he also completed 51 of the 58 passes he attempted. Decent enough.
Hector Bellerin: 5/10
Deployed in the right wing-back slot, which suits his strengths, Bellerin really ought to have had a good time against Norwich. But, the Spaniard was well off his best and was barely involved, making just 33 passes, with most of Arsenal’s attack flowing through the left flank. Decision-making needs improving, though, as he squandered two crossing opportunities. Reasonably solid at the back.
Dani Ceballos: 8/10
Back into the side after scoring the winner against Sheffield United, Ceballos produced one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt so far. The Spanish midfielder thoroughly controlled the proceedings, combining well with Xhaka to pull the strings from the middle of the park. Ceballos also created a couple of chances, which Bellerin and Aubameyang could not convert. Good signs.
Granit Xhaka: 8/10
A top drawer performance by Xhaka, wherein he helped Arsenal dominate the game. Extremely accurate with the ball at his feet, the Swiss star misplaced just 2 of his 51 passes, while also playing in 1 key pass. The big moment for Xhaka, though, came in the first half as his powerful shot after receiving the ball from Aubameyang beat Tim Krul for Arsenal’s second. Growing in stature again.
Kieran Tierney: 7/10
Starting a third successive game, Tierney showed signs that he is finally establishing a foothold in the Arsenal first-team setup. The Scottish defender was involved quite a bit, including in the lead-up to Xhaka’s goal. Tierney also won his duel with Max Aarons, never allowing the Norwich full-back to get past him. His fitness and availability will be crucial for Arsenal in the run-in.
Reiss Nelson: 6/10
Handed a rare start, this was Nelson’s opportunity to impress, especially with Nicolas Pepe blowing hot and cold. However, the young winger was an isolated figure despite Arsenal’s dominance, with just 25 touches on the ball. Having said that, he barely lost the ball, completing 16/17 passes while also playing in 3 key passes. Some positives but still a long way to go for the 20-year-old.
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
As the game began, Lacazette linked up well with Ceballos, Xhaka and Aubameyang. The French striker even took aim at goal a couple of times. However, as the minutes ticked by, he found himself being on the periphery, with Aubameyang taking charge of things. Needs a couple of goals to get that lost confidence back.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10
No Arsenal player has reached 50 Premier League goals faster than @Aubameyang7.
And he finished the day with 51 😤 pic.twitter.com/QWHS7mmY7d
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 1, 2020
The wait was long but Aubameyang finally has his 50th Premier League goal. In doing so, the Arsenal captain became the quickest player to achieve this feat for the Gunners, taking four games fewer than Thierry Henry. Only Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Fernando Torres and Mohamed Salah have now scored 50 Premier League goals quicker than Aubameyang.
Top notch for the first goal, as he pressed Krul into making a mistake before passing the ball into the open net. Aubameyang then found Xhaka for Arsenal’s second goal before pouncing on another mistake by a Norwich player for his brace. Even created a chance for Lacazette. The goals are back and so is the smile. Now, he needs to deliver consistently to help his side’s cause in the run-in.
Rob Holding: 7/10
With Mustafi taken off at half-time, Holding was given the chance to impress. The young defender was unassuming at the back, making a couple of clearances and winning 2 duels as well. Completed 10/13 passes, moving the ball along quickly to midfield. Solid effort.
Joe Willock: 6/10
Given the final 30 minutes or so, Willock took up an advanced position on the field. Aimed a couple of shots at goal, although both were off target. Created the pressure high up with his pressing and enabled the mistake that Aubameyang took advantage of for his second goal.
Cedric Soares: 7/10
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 1, 2020
It took six months, as Cedric made his Arsenal debut at long last. Just five minutes after being introduced, the Portuguese defender celebrated his first appearance for the Gunners with a goal, as his powerfully driven shot went into the bottom right corner. Even won 3 duels in the short time he was on the pitch. With Bellerin being inconsistent, Cedric could get a run of games going ahead.
Eddie Nketiah: N/A
A bundle of energy late on, Nketiah ensured Arsenal’s levels did not drop and even set up a chance for Willock.
Nicolas Pepe: N/A
A late introduction, Pepe helped see the game out.