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Norwich City 2-2 Arsenal: Freddie Ljungberg says Gunners can '100%' make the top four

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang has scored 10 goals in 11 league appearances against newly promoted sides for Arsenal

Arsenal can "100%" make the top four according to Freddie Ljungberg, whose first match as interim manager ended in a draw against struggling Norwich.

The Gunners, with the Swede at the helm after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, have not won for eight games.

The result leaves Arsenal eighth in the Premier League, seven points off a place in the top four, while Norwich remain 19th, three points from safety.

However, asked if they can get into one of the automatic Champions League spots, the 42-year-old said: "Yes, 100%. 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."

While Arsenal started brightly, familiar defensive failings resurfaced as Teemu Pukki ended his eight-game goal drought with a shot that deflected off Shkodran Mustafi.

The hosts' lead only lasted eight minutes though, with Christoph Zimmermann penalised for handball and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelling for the visitors with a retaken penalty, after four Norwich players had encroached when his original effort was saved by Tim Krul.

More calamitous defending allowed Todd Cantwell to re-establish Norwich's lead, with the midfielder slicing through the Gunners defence and placing an effort into the bottom corner on the stroke of half-time.

However, Aubameyang again drew the visitors level, turning in a loose ball from a corner to ensure Arsenal gained a share of the points.

New boss, same leaky defence

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Norwich 2-2 Arsenal: Freddie Ljungberg says first few days have been steep learning curve

Arsenal have a number of issues that they will need to resolve before they can hope to compete for a Premier League title again, and the most pressing remains in defence.

The Gunners arrived in Norfolk having kept just two clean sheets in the league all season and left with the joint worst defensive record of any club in the top half of the table.

An absence of leadership or quality in central defensive areas appears a fundamental flaw and not one easily addressed in the short term by Ljungberg.

Arsenal have bought defenders in recent years, but none fit the mould of a Tony Adams, Sol Campbell or Martin Keown, who were known for being commanding and who seemed to enjoy nullifying their direct opponents.

For both Norwich goals, Arsenal's current central defenders played a passive role. With the opener, David Luiz was not tight enough to prevent Pukki from turning once he had reached Kenny McLean's ball forward.

The Brazilian and his defensive partner Mustafi compounded matters by standing off and inviting the Finland forward to shoot.

For Norwich's second, Cantwell was allowed to run towards the Arsenal goal and Mustafi remained stationary as the England Under-21 international placed his effort into the far right corner from the left of the area.

On a trying afternoon for Luiz and Mustafi, Pukki was unfortunate not to add to his tally after turning the German inside out.

The duo were also thankful to goalkeeper Bernd Leno for pushing McLean's effort on to the post after he had run through the centre of the Arsenal defence unchecked.

Unfortunate Norwich

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Canaries boss Farke says his side deserved to win

While Norwich may remain in the bottom three, they can consider themselves unfortunate not to have claimed back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April 2016.

They matched the Gunners for shots on target and arguably had better chances overall in a performance full of energy, grit and determination.

Pukki's willing running provided an outlet from which to launch attacks, while Ibrahim Amadou showed plenty of industry in midfield and Max Aarons was solid at right-back.

Daniel Farke's side also appear to have been buoyed by the renewal of their first-choice central defensive partnership - Christoph Zimmermann and Ben Godfrey.

The solidity of that pairing was noticeable when the Canaries captain returned from injury at Everton eight days ago, and while the German conceded a penalty here he was otherwise excellent.

The 26-year-old read the game in exemplary fashion throughout and completed more clearances (eight) than any other player.

Man of the match - Max Aarons (Norwich)

Max Aarons
Aarons was excellent in defence and attack for Norwich

'Only winning that counts' - what they said

Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg told Sky Sports: "We started the game really well, that's how I want to play football.

"But we need to work on the transitions, we dominated and they break us too easily. In the beginning I saw a lot of things we worked on in training, but we need to score goals and take the lead. I want this club to do well, it is only winning that counts. I wanted to win the games so I am disappointed but I have also seen some positive things.

On the penalty incident: "From what I heard it was quite obvious, that's what the results are for. The most important thing was for Aubameyang to have the mental strength to score the second penalty after missing the first one."

Norwich manager Daniel Farke told Match of the Day: "We put a great performance today against a great side: one point against Arsenal is always a great result. But we deserved to take all the three points.

"In general I was not happy with the quality of the decisions, each and every throw-in or corner-kick was given against us. Also the situation that led to the penalty against us, it was never a free kick on [Granit] Xhaka.

"And to retake this penalty was also a strange decision, just because somebody's foot was inside the area. There were some strange decisions against us. But also because of some top-class saves from Leno we have not been able to win this game."

Arsenal's worst run for eight years - the stats

  • Arsenal are now winless in six Premier League games (D4 L2), their worst run since August 2011 (also a run of six).
  • Norwich City have avoided defeat in back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time this season.
  • Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 27 goals in games played on Sundays - more than any other player has scored on a day of the week in that time.
  • Norwich City's Teemu Pukki ended a run of 18 shots and 773 minutes without a Premier League goal, scoring his first league goal since September against Manchester City.
  • Arsenal have won none of their past 40 away Premier League matches when losing at half-time (D10 L30) since a 5-3 win at Chelsea in October 2011.

What's next?

Norwich travel to St Mary's to face fellow strugglers Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday (19:30 GMT). Arsenal host Brighton in their next Premier League game on Thursday (20:15 GMT).

Line-ups

Norwich

  • 1KrulBooked at 26mins
  • 2Aarons
  • 6Zimmermann
  • 4Godfrey
  • 3Byram
  • 24Amadou
  • 19Trybull
  • 14CantwellSubstituted forBuendíaat 83'minutes
  • 23McLeanBooked at 44mins
  • 11Hernández
  • 22Pukki

Substitutes

  • 7Roberts
  • 8Vrancic
  • 12Lewis
  • 17Buendía
  • 18Stiepermann
  • 21Fährmann
  • 32Srbeny

Arsenal

  • 1Leno
  • 21ChambersBooked at 66mins
  • 20Mustafi
  • 23David Luiz
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 34Xhaka
  • 29GuendouziSubstituted forSakaat 78'minutes
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 28WillockSubstituted forTorreiraat 70'minutes
  • 10ÖzilSubstituted forMartinelliat 89'minutes
  • 9Lacazette

Substitutes

  • 3Tierney
  • 5Papastathopoulos
  • 11Torreira
  • 19Pépé
  • 26Martínez
  • 35Martinelli
  • 77Saka
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
27,067

Match Stats

Home TeamNorwichAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home8
Away7
Corners
Home7
Away12
Fouls
Home8
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Norwich City 2, Arsenal 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Norwich City 2, Arsenal 2.

Attempt blocked. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Max Aarons.

Attempt saved. Kenny McLean (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía with a cross.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Bernd Leno.

Attempt saved. Max Aarons (Norwich City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Gabriel Martinelli replaces Mesut Özil.

Offside, Norwich City. Sam Byram tries a through ball, but Tom Trybull is caught offside.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Bernd Leno.

Attempt saved. Max Aarons (Norwich City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.

Foul by Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Sead Kolasinac.

Attempt missed. Ibrahim Amadou (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Norwich City. Emiliano Buendía replaces Todd Cantwell.

Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

Kenny McLean (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal).

Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ben Godfrey.

Attempt blocked. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Bukayo Saka replaces Matteo Guendouzi.

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).

Christoph Zimmermann (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Mesut Özil (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Max Aarons (Norwich City).

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by David Luiz.

Attempt blocked. Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Trybull.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Lucas Torreira replaces Joe Willock.

Foul by Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal).

Max Aarons (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Bernd Leno.

Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

Onel Hernández (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ben Godfrey.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool14131032122040
2Leicester1410223392432
3Man City1492339162329
4Chelsea148242820826
5Tottenham145542421320
6Wolves144821917220
7Sheff Utd144731713419
8Arsenal144732021-119
9Man Utd144642117418
10Burnley145362020018
11Crystal Palace145361318-518
12Bournemouth144461820-216
13West Ham144461723-616
14Newcastle144461322-916
15Aston Villa144372122-115
16Brighton144371621-515
17Everton144281422-814
18Southampton143381532-1712
19Norwich143291530-1511
20Watford14158928-198
View full Premier League table

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