Aubameyang underlines his importance to Arsenal with brace, 9/10 showing in win over Norwich

Olley: Arsenal's margin for error is virtually nil (1:15)

James Olley stresses the importance of Arsenal winning their home game against Norwich City. (1:15)

Arsenal ran out convincing 4-0 winners on Wednesday against a hapless Norwich City, who took yet another big step towards relegation.

The home side took the lead in the first half following a catastrophic mistake by Tim Krul. The Canary stopper gifted the ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who converted into an empty net -- scoring his 50th Premier League goal for the Gunners in the process. It was 2-0 just minutes later, Aubameyang again involved in a fine Arsenal move, which was powerfully finished off by Granit Xhaka. In the second period Aubameyang added a third from close range, before Cedric Soares netted his first goal for the club thanks to a rather kind deflection.

The result moves Mikel Arteta's side up to seventh place in the Premier League table, just above fierce rivals Tottenham, who have a game in hand and will visit Sheffield United on Thursday.


Norwich may have been targeting the relatively untested partnership of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos as the Gunners were without Matteo Guendouzi, however the pair worked wonderfully in tandem, with the Spaniard enjoying one of his best ever performances in an Arsenal shirt. Furthermore, Kieran Tierney showed a great deal of promise in the wing-back position, linking up effectively with Aubameyang on the left.

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The one negative will surely be the brief second-half period in which they almost presented Norwich with a way back into the game. Arsenal were dominant for the most part, but the back three did have a habit of switching off and allowing their opponents to have a sniff at goal. They got away with it on this occasion, but going forward, the coaching staff will surely want to see a full 90-minute display.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Arteta's team selection was bold but calculated, with standout performers from the weekend Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka both missing out. Neither would be greatly missed, with Tierney deputising superbly for Saka. The 3-4-3 system also functioned well, as it provided David Luiz with good defensive support whenever Norwich threatened Arsenal's final third. Overall, the gaffer can reflect on a job well done.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Emiliano Martinez, 8 -- Pulled off a number of superb stops, including a magnificent reach to deny a goal-bound Kenny McLean free kick. He picked up a yellow card late on, but his overall display is still worthy of praise.

DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- The wing-back returned to form following a number of slightly worrying performances. With room to run in to, he's still a very potent asset going forward.

DF David Luiz, 7 -- The defender appears to have taken on board the criticism he's faced in the past few weeks, in what was a very mature outing. The Brazilian's remarkable distribution almost makes up for the glaring errors.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- Only lasted 45 minutes, in what was a solid, if unremarkable appearance.

DF Sead Kolasinac, 7 -- Functioned well on the left of a back three. His power and added speed also seemed to help his defensive partners, whom he bailed out on a handful of occasions.

DF Kieran Tierney, 7 -- Stepped in for the prodigiously talented Saka, and didn't look one bit out of place. His movement was incredibly intelligent, allowing him to link up with Aubameyang very effectively.

MF Granit Xhaka, 8 -- Took his goal beautifully, drilling the ball past Krul with conviction. Dani Ceballos was arguably the more creative of the two, but it was nonetheless a welcome return to form for the 27-year-old.

MF Dani Ceballos, 8 -- Acting as the side's creative hub, he was excellent. The on-loan midfielder showed why he was once so highly touted within Spanish football.

FW Reiss Nelson, 7 -- Had a relatively quiet evening compared to his strike partners. With that being said, the 20-year-old did show one or two flashes of skill before being replaced in the second half.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- The Frenchman showcased intelligent movement, but in dangerous areas, his end product was often wasteful.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 9 -- Operating on the left of a front three, the former Borussia Dortmund man was a menace throughout. His historic brace highlighted once again just how crucial he is to this Arsenal side.


DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Replaced Mustafi at half-time, filling in well for the German international as Norwich attempted to claw their way back into the game.

MF Joe Willock, 6 -- Threatened late on with a rasping shot that sailed just wide.

DF Cedric Soares, 7 -- Finally got to pull on the Arsenal shirt, and wouldn't you know it, he scored with one of his first touches.

FW Eddie Nketiah, N/R -- Got on the ball a handful of times but was unable to carve out an opportunity of his own.

FW Nicolas Pepe, N/R -- Was introduced late on with the game already settled.