Arsenal 3-3 Norwich City: What We Learned From The Game

  on May 06 2012 4:59 AM
Arsenal v Norwich
Arsenal's Koscielny challenges Norwich City's Holt during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium in London Reuters

Arsenal played out an unimpressive 3-3 draw against Norwich City at home Saturday. Realistically, they were on the verge of a defeat against the Canaries at the Emirates, but were saved at the crucial time by the heroics of Dutchman Robin van Persie.

Burning defensive issues and errors eventually lost them the opportunity to register full points on the table to book a place in the next season's Champions League. Now, both the team and the fans are looking forward to the upcoming games when Aston Villa play Tottenham while Manchester City takes on Newcastle.

So what really went wrong for the Gunners? Let's have a look.

Fatigue Really Matters: Although some may disagree and call it thoroughly unprofessional, yet most of the fans, after following the Gunners' game against Norwich City, believe that Arsenal are finding it hard to deal with fatigue and tired legs that has resulted in the team's dip in form in the last few weeks.

Arsenal are not a poor side and can never be written off from a game, but back-to-back draws now clearly portrays a gameplay that is devoid of any kind of clinical finishing touches and the inability to see games when it is being played deep.

Injuries are also a major let down that arrives with fatigue and could very well be the deciding factor that could cost the Gunners their Champions League position next season. While Englishman Theo Walcott and Spaniard Mikel Arteta were suffering, Bacary Sagna broke the very same fibula which kept him out of action for months after October's North London Derby.

The Influential Robin van Persie: No matter what the score was at the end of the day, Gunners' Dutch skipper Robin van Persie deserves a special mention for the effort he put up to land all the three points.

Had Steve Morison's 85th minute strike not ruined the Gunners' attempt to land full points to secure their Champions League spot for next season, the game would have been all about van Persie's heroic attempt and success in leading his side to victory by example.

Arsenal were initially losing the game and would have even went on to finish the game without registering a single point from it, but van Persie remained persistent and eventually dug deep to strike twice in eight minutes that brought his side from 2-1 down to 3-2 up.

The skipper, except for his goal mouth action, was also instrumental throughout the game, creating chances, smashing in free kicks and doing everything possible on his part to avoid a shock defeat at home against the Canaries. There are a host of reasons why Arsene Wenger is tensed about van Persie not signing the contract extension, and the game against Norwich was just one of them.

Old Defensive Problems: To the disbelief and horror of both fans and the team, Arsenal are once again being haunted by their old defensive problems which has caused the team all sorts of problems in the past.

The poor defensive judgments and errors in the back became prominent every time Norwich counterattacked. It is safe to say that Norwich didn't really face too much resistance in the back from the Gunners, which is normally expected from one of the heavyweights of Premiership football, and Grant Holt made the most of it.

The second Norwich goal, for example, showed how it is absolutely necessary for the midfield to track back and help out in the defense and what can happen in the Premiership if you don't. Holt saw the error, was quick to react and penetrated the Gunners' defense with extreme ease. Later he sent a looping shot into the goal that took an unfortunate deflection off Kieran Gibbs.

Wojciech Szczesny Is Still Young: This was, undoubtedly, one of Szczesny's most poor performances in the Premier League in an Arsenal shirt. Otherwise a fantastic goalkeeper, Szczesny would like to forget about this game and prepare for the next as soon as possible.

It would be unfair if Szczesny's amazing season would be judged by the way he performed in this game, but this was a very important game for the Gunners and when the 22-year-old was expected to rise up to the occasion, he faltered.

The shot from Wes Hoolahan, that bounced off his hands and penetrated the near post, almost summed up his day in front of the goal.

The Dominance of Grant Holt: The Gunners could not compete with physique and pace of the Englishman Grant Holt. It became more obvious with the way Holt just bullied past several players at a time, and when he was inactive in front of goal, he created chances for his team mates to finish off the opposition.

Arsenal always had a dark history while dealing with strikers with a physical presence on the field in the past and the game against Norwich was no different when Holt was going past the Gunners' defense with extreme ease. It is a well-known fact that this could have been avoided with better defensive organization.

There is a reason why Arsene Wenger, in midweek, called the player a revelation and Holt went out to prove why the Frenchman has high respect for his abilities in the field.

Basically, Arsenal failed to contain Holt's rampage at the Emirates.

Join the Discussion