Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended Arsenal’s long wait for a goal as the Gunners collected their first Premier League points of the season with a 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday.
Aubameyang’s tap-in just after the hour mark proved the difference as Mikel Arteta’s men avoided becoming the first Arsenal team to fail to score in their opening four league games.
Nicolas Pepe and debutant Takehiro Tomiyasu had both threatened but the Gabon forward managed to poke home to secure the hosts’ first win at the fourth time of asking.
Norwich, who had sat above Saturday’s opponents on goals scored, are rooted to the foot of the table and are yet to pick up a point.
Kieran Tierney’s curling pass created the first chance for Aubameyang but he could only scuff his left-footed effort as Tim Krul scrambled backwards.
Kenny McLean then flicked wide from Max Aarons’ delivery before Krul rushed out to deny Aubameyang, who had latched onto Martin Odegaard’s long ball.
Tierney injected energy into a slow-pace first half, driving down the left before standing up a cross to the back post where Tomiyasu smashed acrobatically over.
The second half started in attritional fashion as well, with Bukayo Saka spurning the only half-chance as his hesitation caused his right-footed attempt to be blocked.
Saka saw a second effort blocked moments later and the loose ball ricocheted to Pepe, who had the goal at his mercy at the far post, only for loanee Brandon Williams to produce a magnificent last-ditch intervention.
However, Aubameyang finally ended Arsenal’s long wait for a top-flight goal, tapping in from point-blank range after seeing Pepe strike both posts after an initial save from Krul.
Norwich thought the opener should have been ruled out for offside but VAR disagreed before Emile Smith-Rowe failed to double the hosts’ lead in the closing stages.
What does it mean? Arteta avoids unwanted record
Winless and goalless in their first three outings, Arsenal were facing an unwanted record of failing to score in their opening four league games for the first time in their history.
However, a narrow 1-0 win keeps Arteta’s job at Emirates Stadium safe for at least a little longer as his side extended their top-flight unbeaten run against the Canaries to eight games.
To make matters worse for Norwich, they have now lost their last 14 Premier League matches and are winless in 24 top-flight attempts in London as staying afloat in the top flight continues to seem a daunting task for Daniel Farke’s men.
Pepe may have frustrated the home crowd after giving away possession 24 times – the most in the game – but his saved effort teed up Aubameyang’s winner.
The Ivory Coast international, whose 80 touches were unmatched on Saturday, attempted a game-high six shots – two of those on target – and provided five key passes, another game-leading figure.
Teemu Pukki struggled against Ben White and Gabriel as he rarely saw possession, winning less than half of the 11 duels he competed for.
The Finland forward also managed just 27 touches – the fewest of any player to complete 90 minutes – as he failed to offer an outlet for Farke’s side.
Arsenal travel to Burnley next Saturday, while Norwich host Watford on the same day.
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