Five things we learnt from Norwich's win over Arsenal at Carrow Road
Norwich City 1 Arsenal 0: Norwich are improving, Tettey looks good, and having no internationals can be helpful
Monday 22 October 2012
1 Reports of Norwich City's demise have been greatly exaggerated
After seven games without a win and only QPR below them in the table, it was looking grim for the Canaries. And consecutive defeats by Liverpool and Chelsea, to an aggregate of nine goals, made it seem an unfortunate time to be facing Champions League opposition again.
Beating Arsenal deservedly was a result few anticipated. The success doubled City's points tally, lifting them out of the bottom three, and its manner will give them heart for the challenges ahead. So too will the resolution of a defence in which Michael Turner and Sebastian Bassong, playing together for the first time, looked like a seasoned partnership.
2 … as have those of Arsenal's post-RVP renaissance
Plenty wrote off Arsenal's chances of scoring enough goals this season, with just as many willing to alter that verdict after their first seven League outings brought 13 of them. There were games last season, though, in which Arsenal created as few chances as at Carrow Road, but which they won because those chances fell to Robin van Persie.
Saturday's blank was due in part to the excellence of Norwich's defending, but also to the lack of threat posed by Lukas Podolski, along with the capacity of Gervinho to beat himself with his own trickery.
3 Alexander Tettey's name will not be unfamiliar for long
Aged 26 and with 14 caps for Norway, Tettey is hardly a tyro, but this was only his fourth game in English football. He will play many more and, if this one was any guide, not all will be for a less favoured, less well-funded club. Tettey's performance was towering, both in defensive-midfield and in occasional forward charges – it was his splendid shot, spilt by Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone, that brought Grant Holt's winner.
4 Financial disadvantage can be overcome, if only on occasion
Though Norwich (wage bill £29.6m) outperformed Arsenal (wage bill £143m), a glance at the league table suggests that you get what you pay for.
But these clubs are among the Premier League's best-run. This win came on the day that Norwich announced a pre-tax profit for last year of £17m and the expectation of wiping out all their debts by the end of the season.
5 Having only a few international players is not all bad
Arsène Wenger was phlegmatic – having 14 of his squad away representing their countries "shows we have good players", he said. But he also admitted that Santi Cazorla, Arsenal's best player so far this season, was "a bit jaded" against Norwich, as were most of his internationals.
Chris Hughton, by contrast, had only two players absent, allowing "a good fortnight" of defensive coaching. It paid off, also recovering the team spirit that was Norwich's trump card last season.
Arsenal will need to compete better when Schalke visit on Wednesday, and Wenger admitted: "I hope this will have a positive impact – it was a shock for the team. That was not at the level we have produced."
The Arsenal manager is optimistic of having Kieran Gibbs back against Schalke, but Theo Walcott is unavailable. So too is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who lasted only eight minutes as a substitute before succumbing to a kick on the hip – though he ought not to be out of action longer than a week.
Norwich: RUDDY 7/10, MARTIN 7, TURNER 8, BASSONG 8, GARRIDO 7, TETTEY 9, JOHNSON 8, E BENNETT 7, HOOLAHAN 8, PILKINGTON 8, HOLT 7
Arsenal: MANNONE 6, SANTOS 6, VERMAELEN 5, MERTESACKER 5, JENKINSON 6, PODOLSKI 5, ARTETA 8, CAZORLA 6, RAMSEY 7, GERVINHO 6, GIROUD 6
Goal: Norwich Holt 19. Subs: Norwich Snodgrass (E Bennett, 79), R Bennett (Hoolahan, 90), Morison (Holt, 90). Arsenal Oxlade-Chamberlain (Podolski, 65), Arshavin (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 74), Gnabry (Ramsey, 83). Booked: Nor Johnson, Hoolahan, Holt, Turner. Man of match Tettey. Match rating 8/10. Poss: Nor 38%. Ars 62%. Attempts on target: Nor 3. Ars 7. Referee L Probert (South Gloucs). Att 26,825.
Champions League: eye on the opposition
* Schalke head into Wednesday's trip to Arsenal on the back of a 2-1 victory at German champions Borussia Dortmund that was marred by violence. About 200 fans were taken into custody after a snack bar was destroyed and police were attacked as trouble broke out on Saturday.
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