Arsenal moved off the bottom of the Premier League standings and scored their first goal of the campaign after captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s scrambled 66th-minute effort gave them a 1-0 home win over Norwich City on Saturday. The result lifted Arsenal to 16th place on three points from four games and left Norwich, who are still looking for their first point of the season, propping up the table.
Mikel Arteta’s side produced an improved performance after their opening three defeats but were made to work hard by a rugged Norwich side before Aubameyang, who missed two first-half chances, broke the deadlock. The result eased some of the pressure off Arsenal manager Arteta, who said a dreadful start to the season had been a blessing in disguise.
“I must say it has been the best 10 or 14 days in my professional career,” the Spaniard told the BBC. “Not the easiest, but the best. You learn a lot in difficult moments, who you are with. Today and the last week everything glided together. We have to improve in a lot of things but today we made seven changes and already it looked different.”
Aubameyang fired wide in the 10th minute and was denied in the 20th by a superb save from visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul before Takehiro Tomiyasu volleyed over the bar for the dominant hosts on the stroke of halftime.
A timely intervention by left back Brandon Williams kept out a Nicolas Pepe sitter for Arsenal shortly after the break before the Ivorian played a major role in Aubameyang’s goal, given after a VAR check for offside. Pepe twice hit the post within a few seconds from a flowing move and the second rebound fell kindly to Aubameyang, who was perfectly positioned to tuck the ball into an empty net.
Arsenal missed several chances in the closing stages as Krul parried shots by Aubameyang and substitute Emile Smith-Rowe before Bukayo Saka fired inches wide of the far post. Aubameyang was delighted the Gunners got their campaign on track, although he conceded they still lacked cutting edge.
“We have to be a bit more clinical in front of goal but everyone gave everything on the pitch,” he said. “When you lose games as players we are the first to be touched inside. We had 10 days to prepare ourselves and to change things and this is what we did. Today we made sure we won this game and took three points.”