Arsenal vs. Norwich City  3 - 1

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Giroud: Pressure is mounting on Spurs

15 April 2013 18:14

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud said Tottenham will be feeling the pressure as the end of the season looms.

He said the Gunners' 3-1 win over Norwich on Saturday will add to pressure on Spurs as the three points enabled them to move above their north London rivals into third place in the Premier League.

After going 1-0 down to the Canaries 11 minutes into the second half, three goals in the final six minutes from Mikel Arteta, Giroud and Lukas Podolski saved Arsenal from a shock defeat and won them a vitally important three points.

Arsene Wenger's side have now won seven of their last eight league games, as well as winning their last four games in a row, and Giroud believes that this winning run that they are on is bound to pile the pressure on Tottenham as the two fight for a Champions League place.

"We never give up, and try to play until the end of the game; that's one of our qualities," the Frenchman told reporters.

"We had a little bit of luck and it's so good to win this game because we can put the pressure on Spurs.

"We know that all games will be difficult to win so we have to continue to keep focussed and take one game after another and grab maximum points."

Article

Premier League: Arsenal 3 Norwich 1

13 April 2013 18:19

Arsenal produced a remarkable comeback to earn a 3-1 victory over Norwich on Saturday to move to third in the table.

Arsene Wenger's side dominated a tense affair but a flat first-half display meant they could not break down a resolute Norwich back-line before half-time.

Matters were made worse when Michael Turner headed home in the second half but a late penalty from Mikel Arteta was followed by strikes from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski at the death as Arsenal sealed their seventh league win in eight games in the most dramatic of circumstances.

The headline team news was undoubtedly the return of England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who replaced the injured Tomas Roiscky in one of three changes from Arsenal’s 2-1 win at West Brom.

From the off, the creative trio of Wilshere, Gervinho and Santi Cazorla sparked to life as the home side pursued the strong start Wenger had stressed the importance of before kick-off.

Aaron Ramsey, Giroud and Gervinho all came close thereafter as the home side began to knock on the Norwich door with some determination.

And the hosts' persistence would continue and after the break as a melee in the penalty area saw several attempts at goal either palmed away by Mark Bunn or blocked by a defender.

But minutes later, it was the visiting fans who were celebrating against all the odds as Turner headed home a Robert Snodgrass free kick.

Wenger's response was immediate: off went Wilshere and Gervinho, with Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott coming on.

And after 64 minutes, the England winger almost made an impact as he surged into the box only to be brought down by Whittaker.

Once again, though, referee Mike Jones dismissed any penalty appeals as the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium grew more and more tense.

Fifteen minutes later, it was Walcott's fellow substitute who went close as Podolski smashed a sweet strike towards goal that needed a superb Bunn save to send it crashing against the crossbar.

But Arsenal would finally get their equaliser with just five minutes left – though it came in the most controversial of circumstances.

Giroud was felled in the box and the assistant referee signalled for a spot-kick as Kei Kamara was penalised for a foul.

The decision was dubious but Arteta's penalty was not as it hit the back of the net despite a late touch.

And the Gunners were not done there as a surging run and cross into the box from substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain late on ended with a timely tap-in from Giroud.

Shortly after, Podolski smashed home from the edge of the area and Arsenal's remarkable comeback was complete.

Article

Wenger wants Arsenal to start fast

12 April 2013 09:12

Arsene Wenger says scoring early in games will be important if Arsenal are to qualify for the Champions League this season.

The Gunners are hoping to secure a top-four finish as they head into the latter stages of their Premier League campaign, with Norwich next on the fixture list at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger said it is important they continue their good recent form by starting well against the visitors this weekend, as it forces teams who set up to defend to change their tactics and style of play.

"Once we are in front the teams who usually defend against us have to come out and that gives us space to develop our game even better," he told The Sun.

"That shows you that when we start our games in a positive way, we can dominate. It highlights just how important the confidence is to go into the games and to have a strong start.

"Our team has always developed a way to play that makes them stronger throughout the season."

Arsenal sit fifth in the Premier League table, two points behind Tottenham and Chelsea in the race for fourth but hold a game in hand over their north London rivals.

After Norwich, they face Everton, who still hold faint hopes of finishing in the top four, before rounding off their season with matches against Fulham, league leaders Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, Wigan and Newcastle.

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Wilshere, Walcott set for Arsenal return

11 April 2013 16:31

Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott are both expected to return from injury against Norwich City on Saturday.

Wilshere has been out of action for just under six weeks since aggravating an ankle injury during the north London derby defeat at the beginning of March, and it had been feared that he could be out for the rest of the season.

However, the 21-year-old has been undergoing a special rehabilitation program at the club's new medical centre in Colney, and is now ahead of schedule to return to the first team.

Walcott has been sidelined since injuring his hip whileaway on duty with England last month, but is now ready to be involved alongside his fellow international for Norwich's visit to the Emirates.

"Jack has joined normal training since Wednesday and Theo should join in tomorrow. They are 90 percent available for Saturday," Wenger said on Thursday.

There is less positive news concerning the fitness of Tomas Rosicky, who scored both goals in last weekend's victory over West Brom, with the club confirming he is expected to miss out.

"The other uncertainty we have from last Saturday is Tomas Rosicky, who has a little hamstring irritation," Wenger added.

"His involvement is yet to be decided as well but it's fair to say that he is a big doubt for Saturday."

Meanwhile, Wenger praised Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen for his 'remarkable' reaction to being left out of the side in recent weeks.

The Belgian defender was handed the captain's armband following Robin van Persie's departure in the summer, but has struggled to recapture his best form this season and has been on the bench for the last four games, with the Gunners winning every one.

However, his manager has been thoroughly impressed with the centre-back's reaction to being dropped.

"He took it in a remarkable way (when he lost his place)," Wenger said.

"He is a great man and I didn't make him captain by coincidence.

"I knew there is something mentally special there. He responds in positive situations and in less positive situations like when you don't play.

"They know there could be rotation with the three centre-backs from the start of the season, depending on good and less good periods of any individual player.

"He took that remarkably well."

The skipper is expected to return to the starting line-up for Saturday's game against Norwich in place of the suspended Per Mertesacker, who was sent off in last weekend's win at West Brom.

Article

Premier League preview: Arsenal v Norwich

11 April 2013 13:30

Inconsistent winger Gervinho could be the key for Arsenal when they host Norwich in the English Premier League with third spot on the line.

Gervinho has been a popular target for disgruntled Arsenal fans this season as the London-based side have failed yet again to challenge for the Premier League title but with two goals and three assists in Arsenal's past three fixtures, the 25-year-old Ivory Coast international has found top form.

Arsenal can boost their UEFA Champions League qualification hopes and move from fifth into third spot in the English Premier League with a win over Norwich at the Emirates on Saturday and Gervinho could well be critical to the home side's chances.

The former Lille man set up the opening goal in Arsenal's 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion last week, while he played a role in three of his team's four goals in their 4-1 thumping of Reading on March 30.

With Tottenham Hotspur, who sit in fourth, and third-placed Chelsea out of action this weekend due to the latter's involvement in the FA Cup semi-finals, Arsenal will rise to third on 59 points, one point ahead of the other two London clubs, if Arsene Wenger's side can beat their East Anglian opponents.

Norwich should have some confidence heading to north London, however, as they have only lost to Arsenal once in three games since they were promoted to the Premier League at the end of the 2010/11 season.

That loss came in November last year, followed by a 3-3 draw at the Emirates in May before a 1-0 win at Carrow Road in October.

While Norwich have some good memories in matches against Arsenal, manager Chris Hughton will no doubt be concerned about his side's form since the start of March.

Hughton's side have not won since they defeated Everton 2-1 on February 23, losing twice and drawing three times, including last week's 2-2 draw against Swansea.

Norwich, who sit 14th in the Premier League, four spots and four points above the drop zone, will take any points they can get as the relegation battle continues.

In a boost for Hughton, injured duo John Ruddy (thigh) and Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) could both be available against Arsenal, while the home side expect Theo Walcott (hip/thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) to press for selection.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25