All eyes will be on assistant referee Richard West after Arsenal scored three late goals to earn an important win over Norwich City, following West’s strange decision to award Arsenal a penalty in the eighty-sixth minute. The match started slowly, with Arsenal enjoying much of the possession, and the first chance of the match came in the twentieth minute when the returning Jack Wilshere’s lovely flick from the edge of the Norwich box put Aaron Ramsey in on goal. But Ramsey the ball was just to far ahead of Ramsey, allowing Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn to collect. Seconds later the Gunners almost took the lead, with Bacary Sagna’s cross from the right finding Olivier Giroud in the center of the box, and the Frenchman’s looping header hit the top of the crossbar before bouncing out.
Norwich started to get themselves back into the game, but couldn’t create any chances, and Arsenal shortly returned to dominance. Santi Cazorla hit a thumping shot twenty-five yards out from goal in the thirty ninth minute that Bunn did well to save, and Steven Whittaker just managed to tip Olivier Giroud’s bullet header at the back post from Cazorla’s corner wide five minutes later. But the Gunners could not score, and after two minutes of added time referee Mike Jones the halftime whistle.
Norwich looked a much better side in the second half, although it took some last ditch defending from Michael Turner to tackle the returning Wilshere’s shot wide following a mad scramble in the six yard box. Turner did his job in the attacking half of the field to, and ten minutes into the half he scored the first goal of the half when Robert Snodgrass’s free-kick from the right found Turner wide open in the center of the box, and the Englishman flicked a header to the far post that flew into the back of the net. Norwich looked very bright, and they could have doubled their lead in the sixty-fourth minute, but Russel Martin’s low driven shot from the right side of the box after Sebastien Bassong had put him in on goal was straight at Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Arsenal came to life with fifteen minutes left, and the Gunners almost took the lead in the seventy-eighth minute, when Giroud chested the ball down for substitute Lukas Podolski, who hit a dipping volley eight yards out from goal, that Bunn just managed to tip onto the crossbar. While Arsenal were unlucky to miss that chance, they took a fair amount of luck five minutes later, and when Kei Kamara slightly pulled Giroud inside the box, referee Mike Jones, who was stationed only ten yards from the play, did not award a penalty, yet assistant referee Richard West, who was on the opposite side of the field, awarded one. After a fair amount of arguing from the Norwich players, which saw Bunn get a yellow card, Arteta buried the penalty into the bottom right corner, even through Bunn managed to get a hand to it. Seconds later Arsenal doubled their lead, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing a nice one-two with Podolski to give him space down the left side of the box, before cutting the ball across goal to Giroud, who tapped in Arsenal’s second. Although Norwich forced a save out of Fabianski in the dying seconds of the game, Arsenal scored a third goal, in the first minute of added time. Theo Walcott ran down the right flank, cut the ball back to Podolski at the edge of the box, who turned with the ball before curling a beautiful low shot past Bunn into the back of the net. Norwich put some last minute pressure on Arsenal, but the Gunners saw out the game, and they climb into third place in the Premier League with their 3-1 win.
Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud