Premier League

Norwich City 0-5 Arsenal: Player ratings as five-star Gunners rout sorry Canaries

Grey Whitebloom
Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal's fourth from the penalty spot
Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal's fourth from the penalty spot / Harriet Lander/GettyImages
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Norwich City were thumped 5-0 by a rampant Arsenal side on Boxing Day at Carrow Road.

Dominating possession and feverishly pressing on the rare occasions Norwich got a boot to the ball, the Gunners continued their fine, recent form with an opening goal in the sixth minute. Bukayo Saka provided the clinical finish to a fluid counter-attack.

Norwich grew into the contest after a groggy opening ten minutes in what was clearly their first game for 12 days. Successfully engaging their opponents higher up the pitch, the Canaries managed to reduce (rather than entirely cut off) the tide of Arsenal chances - though carved out precious little themselves.

Yet, just as Norwich threatened to see out the first half with a niggling spate of fouls that disrupted Arsenal's rhythm, Tierney doubled the visiting side's lead. In a mirrored move of Saka's opening goal, Arsenal swept from right to left after a stealing back the ball, though Martin Odegaard was again the player to make the final pass.

The Scot's scuffed strike left Dean Smith locked in a grim thousand-yard stare through the December drizzle as his players trudged off 2-0 down at the interval.

Despite Smith's existential doom, his side actually enjoyed their best spell of the match after his team talk. Limiting Arsenal to little more than a correctly disallowed Gabriel Martinelli goal in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, the Canaries continued to languish in front of the posts themselves.

Having been caught out in transition for Arsenal's first two goals, Norwich had a raft of yellow shirts between Saka and their goal three-quarters of the way through the match. Nevertheless, Arsenal's ebullient 20-year-old spotted a chink among the rearguard and fizzed in his second and the Gunners' third.

As the oles rang around a sodden Carrow Road in the second half, Arsenal turned the screw against the division's bottom side in the closing stages. Minutes after Alexandre Lacazette converted an 84th-minute spot kick he won himself, Emile Smith Rowe made it five with another goal off the bench in stoppage time.


Norwich player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

FBL-ENG-PR-NORWICH-ARSENAL
Max Aarons (left) and Angus Gunn watch on as Kieran Tierney doubled 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 keeper was beaten by efforts that were rolled more than rattled past him.

Max Aarons (RB) - 4/10 - Caught on his heels for Arsenal's opening goal, Aarons offered little going forward.

Ozan Kabak (CB) - 4/10 - Lured into tracking Alexandre Lacazette dropping deep, the boisterous centre-back came out without the ball from those tangles more often than not, eventually ceding a penalty against the forward.

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

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

2. Midfielders

Martin Odegaard, Kenny McLean
Kenny McLean (left) getting up close and personal to Martin Odegaard, though not all that near the ball / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

Kieran Dowell (CM) - 4/10 - Shunted to the fringes of the contest. Unsurprisingly Smith's first choice for a substitution.

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

Kenny McLean (CM) - 5/10 - Eager to actually alert Arsenal that there were some opposition players present but more often through fouls than anything on the ball.

3. Forwards

Gabriel Magalhaes, Teemu Pukki
Teemu Pukki (left) vying for the ball with Arsenal's Gabriel / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

Josh Sargent (RW) - 3/10 - Panting his way up and down the right flank with little to show for his exertion.

Teemu Pukki (ST) - 4/10 - Afforded barely a sniff of the ball.

Przemyslaw Placheta (LW) - 5/10 - The scarce source of any threat at the sharp end of the pitch - though that is hardly a glowing assessment of his contribution.

4. Substitutes

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

Adam Idah (RW) - N/A

Christos Tzolis (LW) - N/A


Arsenal player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

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

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) - 7/10 - Carried out what little work he had with an unerring sense of confidence and ease.

Ben White (RB) - 7/10 - Shunted wider in the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu, White executed his defensive duties efficiently despite the added impetus to get forward.

Rob Holding (CB) - 6/10 - Needlessly tangling with Pukki off the ball in the first half, Holding didn't have many opportunities to show the rust his slide down the pecking order may have prompted.

Gabriel (CB) - 7/10 - Coolly and repeatedly played his way through Norwich's admittedly disjointed press, largely untroubled off the ball.

Kieran Tierney (LB) - 8/10 - Comfortable up against Sargent, Arsenal's swash-buckling Scot dominated his flank.

6. Midfielders

Martin Odegaard (CM) - 8/10 - Floating unchecked throughout the entirety of the contest, Norwich's midfield could barely get near Odegaard's lengthening shadow.

Thomas Partey (CM) - 7/10 - Enjoying one of his better performances of the season, Arsenal's midfield anchor managed to actually exert a notable influence over proceedings by peppering the game with some piercing passes.

Granit Xhaka (CM) - 7/10 - Playing in an unfamiliarly advanced role, both halves of Arsenal's normal midfield pivot seemed to benefit from playing on different lateral lines to one another.

7. Forwards

Bukayo Saka (RW) - 8/10 - The epicentre of many an Arsenal attack, Saka took his goals superbly after tormenting another hapless left back.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) - 7/10 - Dropping deeper than Xhaka at times, Arsenal's stand-in skipper linked play superbly (again) but missed a decent chance early on.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) - 8/10 - No Christmas Day aftereffects for the red hot Brazilian, zipping around the pitch with as much bubbling zest on and off the ball.

8. Substitutes

Mohamed Elneny (CM) - 6/10

Nicolas Pepe (RW) - 7/10 - Laid Smith Rowe's goal on a plate for his fellow substitute.

Emile Smith Rowe (LW) - 7/10 - Continued his stunning form off 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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