Football: Wright comes to Arsenal's rescue

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The Independent Online
Norwich City. . .1

Arsenal . . . . .1

A BOOKING, a missed penalty and then an equalising goal: Ian Wright's night turned from bad to worse and then to delight. Returning from injury it was impossible to keep him out of the picture at Carrow Road and finally Norwich found it impossible to deny him the opportunity to inflict more damage on their championship prospects.

Eight minutes from the end it was the England striker, inevitably, in the right position to club home Kevin Campbell's cross for his 23rd goal of the season. It could have been worse for the third-placed team, Wright's finishing proving less than deadly from 12 yards at the start of the second half though criticism for his side's fifth miss from the spot has to be tempered by the excellence of Bryan Gunn's save.

A second home draw in four days leaves the Canaries six points adrift of Aston Villa and now they have only one game in hand. Both Villa and Manchester United have to come here in the next five weeks and Norwich will not call off the chase at least until then but for all their spirit and endeavour they are frozen in their inability to create the number of openings which came Arsenal's way last night.

Against any other team Norwich could have been heavy losers. Arsenal are the lowest Premier League scorers, and it showed, George Graham critical of that aspect of their performance afterwards. 'The forwards are not anticipating quickly enough,' the manager said.

He did not say it this time but they are in the middle of a heavy schedule. This was the second of a four-in-10-days' log-jam and there were even more changes than at Chelsea on Monday, six in all.

Needless to say Wright's recall after groin trouble was the most significant alteration. In a busy first 45 minutes he made three scoring attempts and was cautioned for disputing a free-kick.

Then Norwich took the lead in delightful fashion, Daryl Sutch showing great control and composure to present Ruel Fox with a rare scoring header and his first goal since August.

Arsenal's increasingly threatening attempts at a reply saw John Polston trip Paul Davis in the area though Wright was to be denied from the penalty. He was so again by Polston soon after, as was Campbell by Gunn but finally Arsenal broke through and thus avoided going into their FA Cup quarter-final at Ipswich on Saturday dispirited and down at heel.

Norwich City: Gunn; Culverhouse, Bowen, Sutton, Polston, Smith, Sutch, Power, Robins, Fox, Phillips. Substitutes not used: Woodthorpe, Crook, Walton (gk).

Arsenal: Seaman; Dixon, Winterburn, Davis, Linighan, Keown, Jensen, Wright, Parlour, Carter, Limpar (Campbell, 70). Substitutes not used: Lydersen, Miller (gk).

Referee: J Martin (Alton).

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