You have to give credit to Norwich City; unlike most mid- to low-table teams that visit the Emirates, they did not set out to play defense for 90 minutes and hope for a draw. Instead, they kept coming after us, poking holes in our already porous defense. Safely out of the relegation zone, the Canaries had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
Birthday boy Yossi Benayoun scored in the second minute of the game, but Szczesny allowed a soft goal ten minutes later. Our goalkeeper was not to blame for the second Norwich goal, as Holt’s shot deflected off Kieran Gibbs’ boot and looped over his head. At the end of the first half, you could hear the boos as the Gunners walked off the pitch.
PFA Player of the Year Robin van Persie came to our rescue with two goals in the second half. RVP connected with a lob pass from Song to tie the score at 2-2. He scored again in the 80th minute, giving us a 3-2 lead. Unable to close out the last ten minutes, Arsenal allowed Morison to score at the 85th minute after yet another defensive blunder.
I’m not sure how many water bottles were thrown by Wenger during the match, but he was plenty mad when the final whistle blew. This was not how he wanted to celebrate his 900th game as manager.
As I write this, both Tottenh*m and Newcastle missed a golden opportunity to leapfrog over Arsenal in the standings. Unbelievably, Arsenal remains in third place with one game remaining. So we need to defeat West Brom next week in order to secure third place and a guaranteed Champions League spot. Newcastle may have a tough time at Everton, but I expect the Sp**s to get 3 points against Fulham.
Regardless of how we end this season, the canary perished in our coal mine a long time ago. This was not the first time this season that the Gunners let 3 points slip away. The fact that we can beat the top-level teams and then lose to the bottom feeders is a sign of immaturity. We can’t even use our youth as an excuse, as several players have been in the squad for awhile.
Wenger’s £11 million signing of Lukas Podolski indicates that management is not going to wait much longer for the current squad to find their groove. We need real depth, not just promising youngsters, because we can’t expect our starting XI to stay healthy all season. I can’t say we missed Per Mertesacker, but since Mikel Arteta went down with an ankle injury we haven’t won a game. As we reduce our stadium debt, and negotiate a new shirt sponsorship deal in 2014, we can expect to see even more Podolski-type signings in the near future.
Next match: Sun 13 May (10:00 Eastern) Arsenal at West Brom
Come on you Gunners!