Grabban goal pegs back Gunners at Norwich as Arsenal lose ground
Norwich City 1-1 Arsenal
- Gunners lose Koscielny and Sanchez to injury
- Ruddy error gifts Ozil opener
- Grabban goal levels score before half-time
Gunners lose ground but title race still open
Lewis Grabban marked his first Premier League start for three months by pegging back Arsenal at Carrow Road, as Norwich City stopped their opponents moving level on points with joint Premier League leaders Manchester City and Leicester City.
Mesut Ozil scored on the half hour to give Arsene Wenger’s Gunners the lead, but the home team rallied in Norfolk to deny the Londoners victory. Arsenal are now 3/1 with Coral to end their dozen-year wait for a league title.
Alexis Sanchez’s early sighter on a slippery surface from long-range flew wide, but the Gunners then lost centre back Laurent Koscielny to what looked like a muscle strain. Gabriel Paulista came on into the heart of their defence on 10 minutes.
Hero John makes Ruddy mess of opener
John Ruddy found his palms stung by Sanchez, but then the Canaries keeper made a huge mistake on half an hour that Arsenal punished ruthlessly.
Sanchez seized upon a poor clearance from Ruddy after Martin Olsson put him under pressure, and that allowed the Chilean to slip in Ozil, who lifted over the advancing goalie into the corner.
An away lead was short-lived, however, as Wenger’s men couldn’t kill the game off and instead succumbed before half-time.
Petr Cech had to palm away Robbie Brady’s effort, but the Republic of Ireland left-footer then teed up Grabban to slot home an equaliser.
Wes Hoolahan lifted over at the back post when Andre Wisdom’s right-wing cross came in, as Norwich deservedly went in level.
Further Gunners progress was hampered in the second-half by a recurrence of a hamstring problem for key attacker Sanchez.
Cech had to be at full-stretch to stop Gabriel nodding Olsson’s left-wing centre past his own keeper. Arsenal failed to clear their lines from the resultant corner, and Jonny Howson lifted over on the turn.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to action asked some questions of the Norwich defence, but honours ended even. The Gunners stay two points off the Premier League summit, while Alex Neil and his Canaries edge three points above the drop zone.