Arsenal 3-1 Norwich: Late comeback sees Gunners leapfrog Tottenham
Second half strikes from Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski moves Arsene Wenger's men up to third after Michael Turner's opener gave the visitors a shock lead.
Arsenal left it late to move up to third in the Premier League table as a remarkable comeback gave the club a 3-1 victory againstNorwich on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger’s side dominated a tense affair but a flat first half display meant it could not break down a resolute Norwich backline before the break.
Matters were made worse when Michael Turner headed home in the second half but a late penalty from Mikel Arteta was followed by strikes from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski at the death as Arsenal sealed its seventh league win in eight games in the most dramatic of circumstances.
The headline team news was undoubtedly the return of England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who replaced the injured Tomas Roiscky in one of three changes from Arsenal’s 2-1 win at West Brom. Kieran Gibbs replaced Nacho Monreal, while skipper Thomas Vermaelen came in for the suspended Per Mertesacker.
Norwich boss Chris Hughton, meanwhile, also made three changes from his side’s 2-2 draw against Swansea as Steven Whittaker replaced Javier Garrido, Alexander Tettey came in for Elliot Bennett and skipper Grant Holt returned in place of Wes Hoolahan.
From the off, the creative trio of Wilshere, Gervinho and Santi Cazorla sparked to life as the home side pursued the strong start boss Wenger had stressed the importance of before kickoff.
Aaron Ramsey, Giroud and Gervinho all came close thereafter as the hosts began to knock on the Norwich door with some determination.
And the hosts’ persistence would continue as a melee in the penalty area after the break saw several attempts at goal either palmed away by Bunn or blocked by a Canaries defender.
But minutes later, it was the visiting fans who were celebrating against the odds as Turner headed home a Robert Snodgrass free kick.
Wenger’s response was immediate: off went Wilshere and Gervinho, with Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott coming on.
And after 64 minutes, the England winger almost made an impact as he surged into the box only to be brought down by Whittaker. Referee Mike Jones dismissed any penalty appeals, though, and the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium grew more and more tense.
Fifteen minutes later, it was Walcott’s fellow substitute who came close as Podolski smashed a sweet strike towards goal that needed a superb Bunn save to send it crashing against the crossbar.
But Arsenal would finally get its equalizer with just five minutes left – though it came in the most controversial of circumstances. Giroud was felled in the box and the assistant referee signaled for a spot kick as Kei Kamara was penalized for a foul. The decision was dubious but Arteta’s penalty was not as it hit the back of the net despite a touch from Bunn.
And the Gunners were not done there as a surging run and cross into the box from substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain late on ended with a timely tap-in from Giroud.
Shortly after, Podolski smashed home from the edge of the area and Arsenal's remarkable comeback was complete.