Danny Welbeck came off the bench to score the only goal on Saturday as Arsenal beat Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium and went third in the Premier League.
A pre-match positive was seeing Santi Cazorla on the bench but the XI was the same one that started against Sunderland six days ago. Knowing that, you could say the first half was predictable.
Arsenal had a lot of the ball but didn’t manage a single attempt on target.
The only talking point as far as the Gunners are concerned was the planned protest. Time for change, some fans cried from the stands. Others responded by voicing how embarrassed they are by their fellow Arsenal fans and chanted Arsène Wenger’s name.
Back on the pitch, Nathan Redmond had Norwich’s best chances and produced the only shots on target of the opening 45 minutes. Thankfully, Petr Čech was equal to both of them.
Per Mertesacker pulled up shortly after the break and was replaced by Gabriel but it was Arsenal’s second change that proved more noteworthy.
Coming off the bench, Danny Welbeck was played wide instead of down the middle; fans booed the decision to hook the quiet Alex Iwobi rather than Olivier Giroud.
Minutes later, Giroud teed-up Welbeck, who scored with Arsenal’s first shot on target of the game. Arsène Wenger’s decision was vindicated and more than just a handful of fans were left red faced. Not that they’d ever admit it.
Arsenal’s other sub Gabriel managed to prevent Norwich City striker Dieumerci Mbokani from equalising.
Mesut Özil suddenly came to life with 20 minutes to go. First, a stunning volleyed pass found Alexis but he shot straight at John Ruddy. Özil forced Ruddy to tip a nicely struck effort over the bar moments later as Arsenal looked for a second goal.
The next to force Ruddy into a save was Mohamed Elneny, with the goalkeeping tipping his outside of the foot effort onto the roof of the net.
Subbed off with seven minutes to go, Alexis Sánchez headed straight down the tunnel as Francis Coquelin took his place.
A late Norwich free-kick and Arsenal break brought nothing for either side, the visitors were made to rue not making the most of a number of late balls into the box.
Welbeck’s goal proved to be the winner and, amid the background noise of a muffled protest and fans backing Arsène Wenger, the result took Arsenal up to third in the Premier League for at least one evening with Manchester City playing tomorrow.