Arsenal 3 Norwich City 1 match report: Arsenal deserved lucky break, says Arsene Wenger after controversial victory

Late goals see Gunners maintain push for Champions League

Rules are rules, whether you are Guan Tianlang, Tiger Woods, or Richard West. Leaving aside the fact they are actually laws, what irks sportspeople most is their inconsistent application. Thus the perception around Augusta is that Guan has been made a scapegoat while Woods was treated with undue leniency.

At the Emirates on Saturday the focus was on the official rather than the player. West is the linesman who, from 40 yards, spotted Kei Kamara tugging Olivier Giroud's shirt as the two tussled for a loose ball. Referee Mike Jones, 10 yards away, waved play on. Giroud himself made no appeal. On Match of the Day ex-Arsenal stalwart Martin Keown thought it a penalty, but neither Alan Hansen nor Everton manager David Moyes did.

But West was certain. He flagged, buzzed Jones over the earpiece, and signalled a penalty. At that point Arsenal were pressing for, and threatening an equaliser to Michael Turner's header, but with seven minutes remaining Norwich felt they would hang on. Mikel Arteta's spot-kick broke their resistance, Arsenal ran out comfortable winners enabling them to move up into third place and force the visitors to continue to look down the Premier League table nervously.

Their manager, Chris Hughton, one of the most measured of men, conceded there probably was a foul, but questioned why the linesman gave it and not the referee.

His counterpart Arsène Wenger, who one suspects would have been apoplectic had such a penalty been given against his team, said: "A deliberate foul in the box is a penalty. Can you give every pull of the shirt? I don't know. Probably not."

While keen to reduce the grappling that now permeates every set-piece a balance does need to be struck. Had West been officiating at the infamous Champions League tie between Celtic and Juventus in February, the Scottish champions would have been given a penalty every time they had a corner. Kamara's tug was mild by the standards of the modern game.

Wenger said he was pleased that Giroud did not complain about the tug. "Don't reproach me that my players don't surround the referee. Maybe it's a bit naïve, but when they do people complain as well," he said. "We don't do it. I never encourage that but I have seen in some clubs it's a real culture."

Norwich certainly complained once the kick was given, so vociferously it may have contributed to their subsequent collapse, Giroud and Lukas Podolski giving Arsenal a 3-1 win . "I won't level everything at the officials because I'm almost as frustrated we didn't show that calmness and composure to see the game out at 1-1," said Hughton.

If fortune was with Arsenal, Wenger insisted it was hard earned. "Luck is a combination of attitude as well. When you attack 10 times, one time you have luck, five times maybe it doesn't work, and one or two times there is bad luck," he added.

Arsenal will hope to take that luck, and the momentum gained in the closing minutes, into tomorrow's match against Everton. Before then Wenger must decide if Podolski and Theo Walcott, both of whom made a significant impact off the bench, have done enough to earn a starting pace.

Goals: Arsenal Arteta pen 85, Giroud 88, Podolski 90. Norwich City Turner 56.

Subs: Ars Walcott 7 (Wilshere, 59), Podolski 8 (Gervinho, 59), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Sagna, 80). Nor Fox 5 (Johnson, 62), Jackson (Tettey, 90). Booked: Arsenal Sagna. Norwich Bunn, Snodgrass. Man of the match Cazorla. Match rating 6/10. Poss: Ars 49%. Nor 51%. Attempts on target: Ars 7. Nor 5.

Referee M Jones (Chester). Attendance 60,095.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders