Arsenal: Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Holding, Nelson, Coquelin, Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud
Subs: Iliev, Osei-Tutu, Sheaf, Dasilva, Willock, Nketiah, Akpom
Arsenal came from behind thanks to two Eddie Nketiah goals to beat Norwich 2-1 at the Emirates this evening.
Arsene Wenger made plenty of changes, interestingly deploying Alex Iwobi in central midfield alongside Francis Coquelin, with Jack Wilshere in the more advanced role he’s been playing in the Europa League this season.
The game began in cagey fashion, with both sides trading possession and it took 13 minutes for the first attempt on goal – Alex Iwobi curling a shot from outside the box over the bar.
A good move saw Ainsley Maitland-Niles break through the visitors defence, and while he could have had a shot on goal he decided to pull the ball back and saw it cleared. Elneny was next to try his luck, his shot from distance deflected over the bar, and from the resulting corner Norwich keeper Gunn made a superb save from a close range Rob Holding header.
The Gunners enjoyed most of the possession and territory, with Norwich sitting very deep, but as ever that proved a challenge – breaking down an 11 man rearguard is never easy.
Maitland-Niles took a pop from distance but it didn’t trouble the keeper too much, and despite all the possession Arsenal fell behind in the 34th minute. Maddison fed Murphy who got behind the Arsenal defence, before dinking the ball over the oncoming Matt Macey. 0-1.
Coquelin attempted to get Arsenal back on terms with a shot from outside the box, but it squirmed wide like a dog scooching along on it’s hole to get the last bit of a poo to detach from his arse.
The visitors almost extended their lead in the 39th minute after a nice move saw Oliviera shoot towards the far post, but Macey made a good save on the stretch. Walcott had a pop on target but his shot was saved well by the keeper, and another from distance was well watched by the Norwich stopper as the Canaries took the lead into the break.
There were no changes at the break and the first attempt at goal came from Iwobi but he skewed his shot miles wide and then got a talking to from the referee for trying to get the ball back from Zimmerman who dylan’t release it for a free kick.
There was a chance for Wilshere to shoot from inside the box but he took a touch and ended up seeing the chance snuffed out. Not long after that my stream died and I could only sit and ponder my own existence as the little loading thing went round and round and round but nothing loaded.
Then it came back without any change the scoreline and I had to ponder the existence of Walcott and Coquelin which hurt my brain. Elneny picked up a yellow which could easily have been a red as he hauled down Oliviera as the striker went through on goal, and from the play that stemmed from the free kick Macey had to be alert again to save from Murphy.
The Arsenal debut keeper made a smart intervention moments later, getting a hand to a low cross. Iwobi cracked a shot straight into the face of a defender, before Walcott was found offside for the nine-hundredth time in the game.
Then my stream went again and I wondered what if none of this is real? What it it is actually a computer simulation? It would explain so many things about this football club that we could blame on errant programmers who had eaten too many cheese biscuits.
Coquelin got a yellow card and Chuba Akpom came on to replace Maitland-Niles as the game entered its final 20 minutes, but it was Norwich who came closest as Murphy once again found himself in behind but he put the ball over the bar with just the keeper to beat. That was his last involvement as he was then taken off for some bloke called Stiepermann, a man with a name like a superhero whose powers make no sense to anyone.
At this point my stream more or less gave up. It would work for a couple of seconds, then just freeze and become useless, which was probably something you could apply to Arsenal too.
Then some kind people on Twitter gave me links to streams and I saw some of it but all of them had ads over the picture and every time I clicked some mad pop-ups happened and then they closed but then there was one I just couldn’t get rid of but it was good because I was able to win $20,000 instantly which was quite the bonus all things considered.
Wilshere got a yellow and Eddie Nketiah came on in the 85th minute for Reiss Nelson, and the substitute scored with his first touch after a corner fell to him in the area. 1-1.
Akpom picked up a yellow, as did some Norwich lad for a foul on Wilshere, and the England international almost rifled home the winner in the final minute only for a save from Gunn to deny him. The visitors brought on Hoolahan and some other bloke in injury time, and an Akpom effort was deflected wide but no corner was given.
1-1 after 9-0 minutes meant extra-time, and a good Holding block prevented danger in the Arsenal box, and a good save denied Walcott after the ball rebounded to him in the box. From the resulting corner though Nketiah rose high to plant a header into the top corner and to make it 2-1.
The crowd chanted ‘Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!’, as they rightly should have for Eddie is the light, the truth and the way. A Giroud effort was blocked and Akpom’s follow up was deflected wide, before Iwobi went down with cramp, and was replaced by Josh Dasilva.
Oliviera shot over as the first half of injury time came to a close, and in the second a dangerous Dasilva cross was put behind for a corner as Giroud looked to get in on the act.
Then my stream went again and I pondered the fact I have an early flight to Australia tomorrow and how I could have done without extra time but then I pondered the Emergence of Eddie and I was pleased because without Eddie there is nothing but a vast wasteland, an abyss into which the downtrodden and broken exist and I did not want to be there.
Norwich complained they didn’t get a penalty after a wanker fell down under a challenge from Debuchy, and Arsene Wenger brought on Joe Willock for Jack Wilshere with just 6 minutes to go. The 18 year old had a chance to trouble Gunn but shot over the bar, and Nketiah almost got his hat-trick in the final moments curling just over the bar.
Walcott was offside for the twelve-thousandth time but in the end the two goals from the youngster saw Arsenal into the fifth round.
What an impact. What a man. In Eddie we trust.