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WE'RE GUNNER NNER STAY UP; ARSENAL 1 NORWICH CITY 0 Aubameyang 66 Fans serenade relieved Arteta who says: It was a funny song.

Byline: IAN BAKER at the Emirates Stadium

JUBILANT Arsenal fans sang "we are staying up" as Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang finally broke their Premier League points and goal duck.

It gave under-pressure boss Mikel Arteta a reason to smile at last.

This was simply must-win for the Gunners after three straight goalless defeats from a match billed as a relegation six pointer.

They did that thanks to Aubameyang's fortunate effort after Nicolas Pepe had hit both posts, with VAR ruling the Gabon striker was just about onside.

Instead of the Gunners, it is Norwich who are bottom of the pile.

But you have to feel sorry for Daniel Farke's side who produced a spirited display of their own.

Arteta said: "I got pretty emotional at the end. I didn't hear the song but it was funny anyway.

"We have to be one of the best teams in this country in terms of performance and trophies.

"It's probably been the best last 15 days I've ever had in football.

'' I've had reflect criticism. our fans incredible, trying inspire They they ready "They weren't the easiest - but probably the best. We've had to find out our purpose. And it all made sense.

"It was all about relationships and trust.

"I've had to reflect on the criticism. We've been extremely open. Our fans were incredible, trying to inspire us. They said they were ready to suffer.

"The team were aggressive and wanted to please everyone."

Prior to yesterday, Arsenal had simply not been good enough - summed up by their shambolic showing in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City last time out.

to on the But were

This time around they gave league debuts to keeper Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu and started with a real purpose.

to us.

said were to suffer

Aubameyang should have done better early on when Kieran Tierney found him in acres of space down the left but the chipped effort went over.

Albert Sambi Lokonga was next to go close but Norwich could have taken the lead themselves as Kenny McLean headed over from Max Aarons' cross.

Aubameyang then should have scored after running on to Martin Odegaard's long ball but Tim Krul bravely denied him.

The Canaries were belying their own poor start to the campaign and giving as good as they got with Kieran Dowell twice going close.

Pepe's free-kick went wide at the other end while Tomiyasu then volleyed over.

Despite their nerves, Arsenal fans remained in good voice although it was uncertain a goal would come. Their England midfielder Bukayo Saka saw his effort deflected away from goal while Pepe was foiled by the impressive Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams, who threw his body on the line to block the shot.

Eventually that goal came on 66 minutes, started by Saka.

The ball found its way to Pepe who was foiled by Krul and the post, the rebound finding its way back to him only for the other post to be rattled.

At that point Aubameyang was offside but Pepe, now ahead of his team-mate, got another touch to deflect the ball to the centre-forward who could not miss.

No flag but a VAR check. Goal given despite lengthy protests from the Norwich players and bench Arsenal tension eased as Emile Smith Rowe was foiled by overworked Canaries keeper Krul.

There was still time for Gabriel to stick out a boot to prevent Teemu Pukki scoring late on.

"One nil to the Arsenal," sang relieved home fans. Not the Arsenal of old but it was a start at least.

On the decisive goal, Farke said: "I have not watched it back because even if it was a VAR mistake it would not change the result. It's not my topic, we have to accept it.

"It was unlucky for my players. "There is no replacement for points - you don't get rewarded for great performances. But we have to accept the class of Arsenal's players."

HOW THEY RATED

ARSENAL 4-2-3-1 Ramsdale.......................................7 Tomiyasu....................................... 6 White BOOKED............................... 6 Gabriel............................................7 Tierney...........................................7 Maitland-Niles............................... 6 Lokonga.......................................... 6 Pepe...............................................7 Odegaard...................................... 6 Saka............................................... 6 Aubameyang..................................7 SUBS Smith Rowe (Tomiyasu 62).......... 6 Partey BOOKED (Lokonga 62)...... 6 Soares (Maitland-Niles 81) SUBS NOT USED Leno, Lacazette, Tavares, Chambers, Mari, Martinelli.

NEXT FIVE MATCHES...

ARSENAL Sat Burnley (a)........... PL Sep 2 AFC Wim'don (h) EFL Cup Sep 26 Tottenham (h)...... PL Oct 2 Brighton (a).......... PL Oct 18 C Palace (h).......... PL

MAN OF THE MATCH

BRANDON WILLIAMS

After a poor debut v Leicester, Norwich's on-loan left-back was the best player on show

Norwich 4-2-3-1 Krul................................................ 8 Aarons BOOKED..............................7 Hanley BOOKED..............................7 Omobamidele.................................7 Williams......................................... 8 Lees-Melou................................... 6 McLean.......................................... 6 Rupp.............................................. 6 Dowell........................................... 6 Tzolis............................................. 6 Pukki............................................. 6 SUBS Cantwell (Dowell 62).................... 6 Rashica (Tzolis 69)........................ 6 Idah (Rupp 80) SUBS NOT USED Gunn, Gibson, Gilmour, Kabak, Normann, Sorensen.

NEXT FIVE MATCHES...

Norwich Sat Watford (h)........... PL Sep 21 Liverpool (h) EFL Cup

Sep 25 Everton (a)........... PL Oct 2 Burnley (a)........... PL Oct 16 Brighton (h).......... PL

VITAL STATS ARSENAL Norwich 6............ Shots on Target...........1 13........... Shots off Target..........3 11..............Blocked Shots...........6 8....................Corners...................4 9.......................Fouls....................11 2....................Offsides.................0 2................Yellow Cards.............2 0..................Red Cards...............0 83.7.... Passing Success %. 79.0 54................Duels Won..............51 51.4....... Duel Success %....48.6 17....................Tackles.................19 58.8....... Tackles Won %.....68.4 51.5............Possession........48.5 57.3......Territorial Adv %.....42.7 429...........Total Passes........405 20.............Total Crosses...........19 121................. Lost Balls............ 135 63...............Recoveries..............52 51.9..........1st Half Poss %...... 48.1 51.2........ 2nd Half Poss %....48.8 Referee: Michael Oliver 7

MATCH FACTS | |In their first win of the Premier League campaign, Arsenal bombarded Norwich with 30 efforts on goal, their most in a league game since attempting 33 against Manchester United in December 2017.

||This is Norwich's worst-ever start to a season after four games (0 pts, -10 goal difference), and the third time they've started a season with four league defeats (1938-39 and 1963-64, in the old Second Division).

||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's winning effort, Arsenal's first Premier League strike of the season, ended a run of 365 minutes without a goal in the competition for the Gunners (including last season).

'"I've had to reflect on the criticism. But our fans were incredible, trying to inspire us. They said they were ready to suffer

CAPTION(S):

OFF THE FLOOR Arteta rouses his side who are replaced at the bottom by Norwich
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAN BAKER at the Emirates Stadium
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 12, 2021
Words:1031
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