Arsenal scored three times in the final five minutes to get a dramatic 3-1 over Norwich City at the Emirates and move above both Tottenham and Chelsea in the battle for Champions League places.
The Gunners appeared to be heading toward a frustrating defeat after Michael Turner put the visitors in front in the 56th minute. But Mikel Arteta equalized from the penalty spot after Kei Kamara tugged Olivier Giroud’s shirt in the box. And just three minutes later Sebastien Bassong turned the ball into his own net from close range before Lukas Podolski added a third in injury time.
Arsenal can breathe a huge sigh of relief as they record their fourth successive win but Norwich will surely feel aggrieved at refereeing decisions that went against them for both the first and final Arsenal goals.
Norwich remain firmly in relegation trouble, but Arsenal are now primed for a 16th successive season in the Champions League, after capitalizing on their game in hand over Tottenham.
It looked like it might be a very different story, however.
Arsenal had been on top in the opening 45 minutes, but were unable to take advantage as several chances went begging.
And not long after the interval the visitors took a surprise lead. Robert Snodgrass whipped in a fine free-kick and Turner was allowed far too much space 10 yards out to direct a strong header past Lukasz Fabianski in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal struggled to find their passing rhythm, but things started to turn when Podolski and Theo Walcott came off the bench.
Podolski hit a powerful strike from Giroud’s chest down that Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn did superbly to touch onto the cross bar with 12 minutes later.
But it would not be long before Arsenal were level, although in controversial circumstances. Norwich’s first complaint came when the home side were awarded a corner when it appeared that the ball had gone out for a goal kick.
From the resulting set piece, Kamara tugged at Giroud’s shirt in the area before the French striker fell to the ground. Strangely, though, it was the referee’s assistant that awarded the penalty, although it would be hard to argue that the correct call wasn’t made.
Arteta stepped up and just squeezed his penalty past the dive of Bunn and Norwich never recovered. Three minutes later Arsenal were in front.
Another substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain burst toward the penalty area before exchanging passes with Podolski to get in behind and then put an inviting ball along the six-yard box that was turned into his own net by Bassong under pressure from Giroud.
The third goal arrived in the second minute of injury time, with a debatable refereeing decision again involved. Walcott was in an offside position from Giroud’s flick on but the flag never came and the winger laid the ball back to Podolski on the edge of the box who drilled a clinical finish past Bunn.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.