By Rob Kelly at Carrow Road
We won our fourth Premier League match on the bounce – five in all competitions – with a comprehensive victory at Norwich on Boxing Day.
In a match we dominated for large parts, Bukayo Saka scored once in each half, sandwiched by a fine Kieran Tierney strike and an Alex Lacazette penalty and Emile Smith Rowe’s injury-time strike ensured we moved to within three points of third-placed Chelsea.
Having been hit with a spate of Covid absences, Mikel Arteta had to shuffle his pack and with no fit specialised right back, Ben White moved across and Rob Holding came into the heart of the defence.
Our recent fine form had given us confidence to attack the Premier League’s bottom club right from the off, and it only took us six minutes to open the scoring.
Martin Odegaard – outstanding in recent weeks – was once again at the heart of it, receiving the ball in the box after good work from Gabriel Martinelli and Lacazette, and feeding Saka to sweep home.
We continued to press forward and Lacazette had a good chance to double our advantage but miscued a header wide from close range, while Saka and then Martinelli also tried their luck.
Two minutes before the interval we finally made our pressure count as Odegaard picked out the onrushing Kieran Tierney in plenty of space on the left, and the Scotland international raced into the box and found the far corner.
We continued to dominate after the restart and thought we had a third when Martinelli’s shot deflected into the far corner – but the Brazilian was flagged for offside.
But we did not have long to wait to extend our lead, Saka collecting the ball on the right of the area, wrapping up Brandon Williams in knots and firing a fierce shot into the far corner.
We were handed the chance to make it four when Lacazette was barged down in the area, and the skipper made no mistake from the spot.
Smith Rowe only on the pitch a matter of minutes wrapped things up in injury time with a close-range finish, capping off a fine win on the road.
WHAT IT MEANS
It’s a sharp turnaround for us as we host Wolves at Emirates Stadium in less than 48 hours, before a New Year’s Day test against Manchester City.
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