Arsenal made it 5 Premier League wins in a row with a 2-1 victory at Norwich City this afternoon as they continue their push for a top 4 finish.
The visitors looked threatening down the wings as early as the opening seconds of the game when Theo Walcott whizzed past left back Marc Tierney only to see his cut back sliced wide by Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman was denied a few minutes later by a stunning goal line clearance from Russell Martin. Martin would make two further clearances off his goal line in the first half alone.
Completely against the run of play, it was Norwich City who went ahead in the 16th minute. Per Mertesacker was hesitant with a bouncing ball heading into the penalty area and as he fail to decide what to do with the ball, Steve Morison closed him down, stole the ball and finished the one-on-one with Wojciech Szczesny.
If this happened during the opening couple of games this season, perhaps Arsenal may have crumbled. This Arsenal side, playing with some confidence and an in-form Robin van Persie were not going to lose. My only regret not being connected to the internet to back Arsenal at 0-1 as I watched on from the pub amongst both sets of supporters.
Prior to the game this morning, I noticed Arsenal’s odds climbing from 1.73 to 1.82. As soon as the team sheets were announced, I quickly backed Arsenal some more. As I said in my preview, I loved the match ups for Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie against the Norwich defence.
The England forward continually got beyond his man down the right wing. In the 26th minute, it was his run down the right and low ball inside the 6 yard box that Robin van Persie tapped home from close range after Gervinho missed the ball with a fancy attempt.
Arsenal, much on top and getting themselves into good positions only had themselves to blame for poor deliveries and indecision that prevented them from taking the lead in the opening 45.
The lead did come on the hour mark though. Alex Song lead a counter attack, and instead of playing the easier option of a through ball to Gervinho, he played it across to van Persie on the right-hand side. At this point, Gervinho had missed two one-on-one’s in the game and I can only imagine Song had lost faith in his team mate.
A heavy first touch from van Persie dragged him out wide but a deft second touch with his right foot saw him chip the ball over John Ruddy in the Norwich goal and tuck inside the near post. 2-1.
My 25/1 bet on Robin van Persie did not come off and neither did the over 3.5 goals bet I was sure would. However, van Persie was backed at 11/10 to score once, and also the following bet that he would score twice:
Arsene Wenger’s side need to do more with the ball in the final third. They held on to their lead under little pressure but for a 94th minute free kick that must have had some fans biting their nails. In truth, Arsenal were much the better side and well-deserved victors. 3 goal bound efforts cleared off the line, Gervinho missed two one-on-ones, van Persie scuffing his lines early on and Theo Walcott hitting the post were just some of the chances, that on another day may have fallen the Gunners way.