Arsenal scrape draw at Norwich
Interim Arsenal manager Freddie Ljungberg said that he still believes that the Gunners can finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, following their disappointing draw with Norwich City on Sunday.
Arsenal, who parted company with manager Unai Emery on Friday, are without a win in their last eight games, and following the draw with the Canaries, they are eighth in the table, and seven points outside the top four, while they trail leaders Liverpool by 21 points.
However, speaking to the media on Sunday evening, Ljungberg responded to questions about whether they could make the Champions League places in positive style:
“Yes, a hundred percent. Like you have seen, people drop points here and there and we drop points and it is a bit of a crazy league at the moment.”
If they are to close the gap on the top four, Arsenal will need to improve on what they showed against Norwich as they once again flattered to deceive.
The visitors went into the game as slight favourites with sports betting companies, but after a solid start, they fell behind on 21 minutes to a goal by Teemu Pukki, who was ending his run of eight games without a goal, thanks to a shot that went into the net via defender Shkodran Mustafi.
To their credit, Arsenal fought back well and were level on eight minutes when Christoph Zimmermann was adjudged to have handled the ball and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang kept his nerve to score the penalty at the second attempt, after the first shot was saved but had to be retaken as four Canaries players had encroached.
However, Arsenal’s vulnerability at the back was exposed again just before half-time when Todd Cantwell scored Norwich’s second after gliding through the backline and scoring with aplomb.
The Gunners eventually salvaged a point, through Aubameyang once again, who pounced on an opportunity when the ball ran loose from a corner on 57 minutes.
This time, however, Arsenal’s array of attacking talent wasn’t enough to earn them a win, and in the short term, Ljungberg is faced with the same defensive fragility and lack of leadership in key areas that dogged the end of Arsène Wenger’s reign at the Emirates and that ultimately saw the end of Emery’s stint as Arsenal manager after just 18 months.
Words: Man Ngo