Eddie Nketiah had a home debut he will never forget as he equalised 15 seconds after coming on, before heading home the winning goal in extra-time of our Carabao Cup fourth-round clash against Norwich City.
Trailing to the Championship club with six minutes of normal time remaining, Arsene Wenger took a gamble and threw on the 18-year-old, who has been so prolific at youth level.
Nketiah barely broke stride as he ran on before converting a corner from close range to spark jubilant celebrations.
It was a ‘goosebumps’ moment for those watching on, so you can only imagine what it was like for the teenager. But, scarcely believably, things got even better for him at the start of extra-time when he powered a header into the roof of the net.
That proved to be enough to send us into the quarter-finals, but this rush of excitement was at odds with much of the match that had gone before it.
In a first half of few chances, Rob Holding came closest for us with a close-range header that was pushed away spectacularly by Angus Gunn.
We were struggling to fashion any real opportunities, and then, with 34 minutes on the clock, the visitors hit us with a suckerpunch as Josh Murphy was played in on goal and he beat Matt Macey with a cool finish.
We were indebted to our debutant goalkeeper minutes later when the Canaries broke again, with Nelson Oliveira bending a shot towards the bottom corner that Macey did really well to palm away.
Walcott twice had efforts saved by Gunn before the interval, but there was no way through – and our frustration continued after the interval, too.
Chuba Akpom stepped off the bench with 20 minutes remaining as we sought an increased goal threat, but it was Norwich who were next to go close as Murphy’s first-time effort sailed over the bar.
Mario Vrancic should have wrapped things up for the visitors moments later when played in on goal, but he dragged a left-footed shot wide from inside the area.
With six minutes remaining, Nketiah’s moment arrived – and how he took it. Then, in extra-time he did it again.
On to the quarter-finals we go – but this night was all about Eddie Nketiah. What a debut, what an incredible debut for this young man.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Young goalkeeper Matt Macey became the 850th player to represent the club when he made his debut against Norwich.
The 23-year-old performed well, and here are some of his key moments:
34 - Murphy is played through on goal and although Macey races out to close the angle, the Norwich forward keeps his composure and chips it past him and in
39 - Macey gets down and makes a fine save from Oliveira to keep us in the game after the forward had taken aim from the edge of the area
57 - Norwich work the ball well on the edge of the box, and Pinto chips the ball into the box to find Murphy but Macey saves his header from six yards out
58 - Macey gets a good hand to Murphy’s cross from the left to divert the ball away from the onrushing Oliveira
WHAT IT MEANS
We have booked our place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, with the draw due to take place at 4pm (UK time) on Thursday and streamed live on Twitter.
We return to Premier League action on Saturday when 15th-placed Swansea City are the visitors to Emirates Stadium.
The Welsh side have beaten us three times in north London, although we have won our last two games against them – the last being a 3-2 victory in October 2016, with Mesut Ozil volleying home a spectacular strike.
Copyright 2023 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.