Norwich 0-5 Arsenal: Player rating

5

Norwich City were beaten 5-0 by a raging Arsenal team on the second day at Carrow Road.

By dominating ball possession and feverish pressure on the rare occasions when Norwich got a boot for the ball, the Gunners continued their fine, latest form with an opening goal in the sixth minute. Bukayo Saka struck a 30 meter free kick home 25 minutes into the match.

Norwich grew into the competition after a dull opening ten minutes into what was clearly their first match in 12 days. By successfully engaging their opponents higher up the pitch, the Canary Islands managed to reduce (instead of completely interrupting) the flow of Arsenal chances – even though they created very little themselves.

Still, just as Norwich threatened to look like the first half with a steady stream of fouls disrupting Arsenal’s rhythm, Tierney doubled the visitors’ lead. In a mirrored move of Saka’s opening goal, Arsenal swept from right to left after stealing the ball back, even though Martin Odegaard was once again the player who made the final pass.

The shots’ worn shots left Dean Smith locked in a grim look at a thousand yards through the drizzle in December when his players stumbled away with 2-0 during the break.

Despite Smith’s existential downfall, his side actually enjoyed the game’s best playing time after his team talk. By limiting Arsenal to a little more than a correctly failed goal by Gabriel Martinelli in the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Canary Islands continued to fade away in front of the posts themselves.

After ending up in the transfer window for Arsenal’s first two goals, Norwich wore a series of yellow shirts between Saka and their goal three quarters of the match. Still, Arsenal’s exuberant 20-year-old discovered a crack in the back guard and whizzed in his second and Gunners third.

When the Olers rang around a wet Carrow Road in the second half, Arsenal turned the screw towards the bottom of the division in the final stages. Minutes after Alexandre Lacazette converted a goal in the 84th minute that he won himself, Emile Smith Rowe scored five with another goal from the bench in stoppage time.

Max Aarons (left) and Angus Gunn watch as Kieran Tierney doubles Arsenal’s lead in the first half / LINDSEY PARNABY / GettyImages

Angus Gunn (GK) – 5/10 – On his first Premier League outing of the season, Norwich’s replacement goalkeeper was beaten by efforts that rolled more than rattled past him.

Max Aarons (RB) – 4/10 – Caught in the heels of Arsenal’s opening goal, Aarons offered a bit ahead.

Ozan Kabak (CB) – 4/10 – Attracted to track down Alexandre Lacazette who dropped deep, the noisy midfielder more often than not came out without the ball from these ropes, and eventually waived a penalty against the forward.

Ben Gibson (CB) – 4/10 – Struggled to gather a porous backline in the absence of his skipper.

Brandon Williams (LB) – 3/10 – Shyly tried (and failed too often) to knock Saka off his jet-heeled steps.

Kenny McLean (left) comes close and personal to Martin Odegaard, but not so close to the ball / Harriet Lander / GettyImages

Kieran Dowell (CM) – 4/10 – Protected to the edge of the competition. Unsurprisingly, Smith’s first choice for a change.

Billy Gilmour (CM) – 5/10 – Flickered into life with sporadic – to say the least – penetrating passes but swamped off the ball.

Kenny McLean (CM) – 5/10 – Eager to actually draw Arsenal’s attention to the fact that there were some opposing players present but more often through fouls than anything else on the ball.

Teemu Pukki (left) competes for the ball with Arsenal’s Gabriel / Harriet Lander / GettyImages

Josh Sargent (RW) – 3/10 – Puffed up and down on the right edge with a little to show for his effort.

Teemu Pukki (ST) – 4/10 – Barely offered a sniff of the ball.

Przemyslaw Placheta (LW) – 5/10 – The scarce source of any threat at the sharp end of the pitch – although it is hardly a brilliant assessment of his contribution.

Pierre Lees-Melou (CM) – 5/10 – After a decent opening 20 minutes into the second half, Norwich conceded within seconds of the Frenchman’s arrival – a pure coincidence but not exactly the impact he, or Smith, was looking for.

Adam Idah (RW) – N / A

Christos Tzolis (LW) – N / A

Kieran Tierney celebrates his first Premier League goal since January 2, 2021 / Stephen Pond / GettyImages

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 7/10 – Performed the little work he had with an unfailing sense of confidence and ease.

Ben White (RB) – 7/10 – White wider in the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu, White performed his defensive duties efficiently despite the extra drive to move forward.

Rob Holding (CB) – 6/10 – Unnecessarily tangled with Pukki from the ball in the first half, Holding did not have many opportunities to show the rust his slide down the pick order may have caused.

Gabriel (CB) – 7/10 – Cool and repeatedly played through Norwich’s admittedly incoherent pressure, largely effortless from the ball.

Kieran Tierney (LB) – 8/10 – Comfortable against Sargent, Arsenal’s winding shot dominated their flank.

Kieran Tierney has doubled Arsenal’s advantage at Carrow Road!

Martin Ødegaard has contributed with six goals + assists in his last six matches, with two assists already today. ? pic.twitter.com/j2TrAfmeWl

– 90 min (@ 90min_Football) December 26, 2021

Martin Odegaard (CM) – 8/10 – Floating unchecked throughout the competition, Norwich’s midfield could barely come close to Odegaard’s extending shadow.

Thomas Partey (CM) – 7/10 – Arsenal’s midfield anchor enjoyed one of his better performances of the season and actually managed to exert a remarkable influence over the procedure by peppering the match with some penetrating passes.

Granit Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – In an unusually advanced role, both halves of Arsenal’s normal midfield seemed to benefit from playing on different lateral lines to each other.

10 – Bukayo Saka (20 years, 112 days) is the second youngest Arsenal player to reach 10 Premier League goals for the club, after Nicolas Anelka (19 years, 225 days). Gooner. https://t.co/ADKd8m2pmP

– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2021

Bukayo Saka (RW) – 8/10 – Epicenter of many Arsenal attacks, Saka took his goals excellently after tormenting another unfortunate left-back.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 7/10 – Arsenal’s substitutes, who fell deeper than Xhaka at times, paired the game excellently (again) but missed a decent chance early.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – 8/10 – No repercussions on Christmas Day for the fiery Brazilian, who spins around the field with just as much bubbling desire on and off the ball.

Mohamed Elneny (CM) – 6/10

Nicolas Pepe (RW) – 7/10 – Put Smith Rowe’s goal on a plate for his replacement.

Emile Smith Rowe (LW) – 7/10 – Continued his fantastic form from the bench with a no-look pass in the build-up to Lacazette’s penalty before scoring a third substitute goal.

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