By Richard Clarke at Carrow Road
Arsenal slipped to a disappointing defeat at Norwich City on Saturday evening.
- Vermaelen (C)
- Andre Santos
- Ramsey 83
- Podolski 65
- Oxlade-Chamberlain 74 65
- Arshavin 74
- Gnabry 83
- Johnson Yellow Card
- Hoolahan 90 Yellow Card
- Bennett 79
- Holt (C) 90 Goal! Yellow Card
- Snodgrass 79
- Morison 90
- Bennett 90
The all-important goal arrived in the 19th minute when Vito Mannone spilled Alex Tettey's powerful drive and Grant Holt converted the loose ball.
Arsenal tried manfully to haul themselves back into the game but they only found a real threat in the latter stages when Mikel Arteta's low drive was saved by John Ruddy and Gervinho's shot was blocked by the sliding Sebastien Bassong.
You can only class this result as a deep disappointment. Arsenal had shown steel and style at West Ham a fortnight ago but they never found their game at Carrow Road and, as Arsène Wenger would later concede, the home side deserved their victory.
Fortunately he, and his side, have ample time to put this right.
The main talking point pre-match was the return of Jack Wilshere on the bench.
The starting line-up saw one alteration from win in East London a fortnight ago. Kieran Gibbs had picked up an injury at Upton Park so Andre Santos came in for his first Premier League start of the season.
This was the Premier League's tea-time kick-off and, as Wenger's side finished their warm-up, Chelsea and Manchester United were completing important victories.
Arsenal could not afford to allow them to get much further ahead in the table if they wanted to challenge for the title.
Anthony Pilkington and Lukas Podolski exchanged early shots as both teams enjoyed a lively start.
However the early impetus soon burnt out and, although Podolski fired wide, the game had lost its rhythm somewhat before Norwich took the lead in the 19th minute.
Mannone could only parry Tettey's low, swerving effort back into his six-yard area and Holt reacted quickest to slot home.
As you might expect, the goal was an adrenaline shot for the home side and their supporters. Suddenly there was enthusiasm and energy about their game.
In the 25th minute, Holt skipped through and drew Mannone away from his goal. The Norwich striker nearly found Pilkington in front of the keeper-less net only for Jenkinson to steal the ball at the final moment.
As the game reached the half-hour, Arsenal had recovered. They started to drive back Norwich with, as usual, Santi Cazorla the main creative force.
The visitors forced a flurry of corners and significant pressure but the ball in to the area sometimes lacked sufficient quality.
And Norwich would come closest to a goal when, from just six yards out, an unmarked Michael Turner headed wide from Pilkington's corner.
The home side were increasingly happy to defend deeply and snatched something on the break.
But they went into the interval in a comfortable position.
Arsenal came out for the second half with renewed urgency. They knew they had to improve if they were going to get anything from this game.
Five minutes in, Jenkinson's low cross was punched out by Ruddy to Olivier Giroud. The French striker had his back to goal and tried to hook an effort goalward. Unfortunately he miscued.
Arsenal were trying to work themselves back into the game. Ruddy held Gervinho's header and then Cazorla's free-kick. Inbetween Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Podolski in the 64th minute. The Englishman's first run was abruptly ended by Bassong.
Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to have picked up a knock in the challenge and was replaced by Andrey Arshavin eight minutes later.
Norwich were still dangerous on the break. Holt profited from Per Mertesacker's slip and burst through only to blaze wide. Ten minutes from time, the same striker found space again only to tamely chip an effort in the hands of Mannone.
A minute later, Wenger introduced Serge Gnabry from the bench for his Premier League debut. He drove wide with virtually his first touch.
Arsenal were now chasing the game frantically. Ruddy held Arteta's low, powerful cross-shot with Mertesacker in close attendance and Gervinho effort was charged down by Bassong. Both were crucial efforts.
But time ran out on Arsenal on a day when little went right for Wenger's side.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Oct 2012