Norwich 0 Arsenal 2 match report: Jack Wilshere eases in as Norwich slip away

Ramsey and Jenkinson give Gunners momentum ahead of their FA Cup final as Wilshere returns from ankle injury

Carrow Road

There was not much drama or trauma at Carrow Road on Sunday, as Norwich City slipped quietly out of the Premier League. They did not make up a 17-goal swing over West Bromwich Albion – in fact they lost 2-0 to Arsenal – and there was never any doubt how the story would end.

Resignation, rather than anger, was the feeling from the stands. The Norwich players were applauded off at the end even after a performance which Neil Adams described as “flat”. Adams should find out this week whether he will be in charge in the Championship next season, taking the team on trips to Brentford and Bournemouth.

Arsenal, secure in fourth, can look forward to Milan and Madrid again next season. They played, quite understandably, as if they had at least one eye on their FA Cup final next Saturday. As brilliant as Aaron Ramsey’s opening goal was, the most important development – for Saturday and for the World Cup – was the return of Jack Wilshere after nine weeks out with a broken foot.

Wilshere played almost 30 minutes and looked perfectly comfortable, reassuring Roy Hodgson ahead of this afternoon’s squad announcement.


“The World Cup is in one month so there is plenty of time,” Arsène Wenger said. “There is no problem for him to be available.” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, missing again here, will train this week and should be fit for the important matches ahead.

John Ruddy, though, is likely to be on Roy  Hodgson’s seven-man standby list, but he made a persuasive case for a place on the plane here. Ruddy, who could well still be a Premier League goalkeeper next season, was Norwich’s outstanding player making two brilliant first-half saves.

Arsenal were nowhere near their best but did create a few first-half chances, all of which Ruddy kept out. The first was when Olivier Giroud backheeled to Lukas Podolski, only for Ruddy to dart off his line so quickly he blocked the shot. The next was even better; Giroud exchanged passes with Podolski and had time to pick his spot but Ruddy, off his line, reached high enough to turn it over. A third, from Giroud, high and diving to his right, was important too.

Clearly, Arsenal needed something special to beat Ruddy but that is precisely what they produced eight minutes after the restart. Giroud floated a square cross to Ramsey, to the right of the goal. Ramsey back-pedalled into position and volleyed through the ball so perfectly that it flew straight past Ruddy and into the opposite top  corner, in off the angle of post and bar.

Wenger rules out any chance of becoming Monaco manager

It was one of the goals of the season, and deserved a game far more significant than this one. Some of the Norwich fans applauded and understandably so; they might not see many that good next year.

The second goal, nine minutes later, was not quite as artistic. Özil played in Kieran Gibbs, overlapping down the left. He pulled the ball back to Podolski, whose shot was blocked, but the ball fell to Carl Jenkinson, who stabbed the ball into the net before celebrating his first Arsenal goal with the fans of whom he is one.

Wilshere came on soon after – as did Abou Diaby, after 14 months out injured – but there was very little else in a game that had ceased to matter.

Norwich City continued to play and Lukasz Fabianski even had to make two saves, from substitute Jamar Loza and then running out to deny Robert Snodgrass, Norwich’s player of the season and another who is probably too good to stay next season.

That was as much as Fabianski had to do. Wenger, who confirmed again that this would not be his last league game as Arsenal manager, would not be drawn afterwards as to whether his selection meant that Wojciech Szczesny will start at Wembley instead.

It is a difficult decision for him but one that Norwich, of course, would like to have.

Suggested Topics
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
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

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

Day In a Page

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
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own