Arsenal finished their Premier League season with a victory thanks to second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson that condemned Norwich to the Championship. In truth, Norwich’s fate had already been sealed before kickoff, requiring as they did a ridiculous swing in the goal-difference column to overhaul West Brom.
That was never going to happen and their players, who played out an encounter devoid of intensity, fully realized it. Arsenal can reflect on their season with mixed emotions. While finishing seven points off the Premier League lead that they held for much of the season, Arsene Wenger has again safely guided them to the riches of the Champions League. Next week he will get the chance to end Arsenal’s nine-year wait for a trophy when they take on Hull City in the FA Cup final. Given their impending trip to Wembley, there was perhaps some surprise in Wenger’s team selection then for this meaningless affair. Lukasz Fabianski, who has started throughout the FA Cup run, began in goal, while Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Ramsey were all involved. Encouragingly, there was a return off the bench for Jack Wilshere after more than two months out with a fractured bone in his left foot.
Arsenal perhaps should have been in front by half time. Both Lukas Podolski and Giroud had chances in quick succession, but Norwich keeper John Ruddy denied both impressively. There was nothing Ruddy could do to stop Arsenal taking the lead eight minutes after the interval from a superb strike. While perhaps not the most clinical of strikers, Giroud showed his fine linkup play once more with a chipped ball to the back post for Ramsey, who hammered a stunning volley into the net. It was the Welsh midfielder’s 10th Premier League goal of the season and Arsenal fans must reflect on what might have been had he not missed more than three months of the campaign.
The second goal came nine minutes later from a man far from regarded as a goal-scoring threat. Indeed, it was Jenkinson’s first goal for the club when Podolski’s shot deflected into his path six-yards out and he directed a low effort into the corner of the net.