Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City: Welbeck's sweet strike seals three points for Gunners

Danny Welbeck's 50th career goal - fresh off the substitutes' bench - was enough for Arséne Wenger's side to prevail with a slender victory over relegation battlers Norwich City in a game overshadowed by the home supporters' protests.

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City: Welbeck's sweet strike seals three points for Gunners
Picture source: Getty Images
Arsenal
1 0
Norwich City
Arsenal: Čech; Bellerín, Mertesacker (Gabriel, 51'), Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey; Iwobi (Welbeck, 56'), Alexis (Coquelin, 84'), Özil; Giroud.
Norwich City: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin, Bassong (Jarvis, 89'), Olsson; Howson, O'Neil, Brady (Naismith, 78'), Redmond; Hoolahan (Mbokani, 68'); Jerome.
SCORE: 1-0, min.59, Welbeck.
REFEREE: Booked - Özil, 85'
INCIDENTS: Barclays Premier League fixture between Arsenal and Norwich City. The match was played at the Emirates Stadium, with 59,989 spectators in attendance.

Just minutes after being introduced into the fray, Danny Welbeck's sweet strike sealed all three points for Arsenal against relegation battlers Norwich City - despite the fixture being overshadowed by ongoing protests from sections of the Gunners' supporters. In an action-packed game filled with a multitude of goal-scoring opportunities for both sides, Welbeck's inclusion was instrumental as the former Manchester United forward was energetic and a handful for Alex Neil's side to deal with defensively.

Welbeck's thunderous strike foiled Ruddy and nestled into the bottom corner. | Photo: Getty
Welbeck's thunderous strike foiled Ruddy and nestled into the bottom corner. | Photo: Getty

An intriguing two halves at the Emirates

It wasn't just one-way traffic though, as Norwich had chances of their own. Nathan Redmond in particular, was a lively figure who was eager to stamp his authority on the game - testing Petr Čech from range and coming close to breaking the deadlock before the half-time whistle. For a side aiming to avoid relegation, Norwich gave a good account of themselves. They were tenacious in midfield and worked hard for one another as they aimed to isolate the likes of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sánchez, to initial good effect. 

This didn't last long though, as Arsenal's counter-attacking exploits were evident to see. Mesut Özil and Hector Bellerín in particular, were excellent going forward and if not for some important defensive contributions from the visitors, it could have easily been a more comfortable scoreline for Wenger's side.

Pointless protests?

Unsurprisingly, the game was overshadowed by some sections of the Arsenal supporters visibly protesting. In the 12th minute - indicating twelve years since their last Premier League triumph, as well as 78 and shortly after the final whistle, there was definitely an unusual atmosphere brewing in north London.

 | Picture: Getty
Wenger in, or Wenger out? A contrast of protests at the Emirates show fans' discontent over the way the club is being handled. | Picture: Getty

An unusual cocktail certainly made for uneasy viewing at home, but the protests didn't really have their desired effect. If anything, they spurred the team onto victory even further. Per Mertesacker limped off with a hamstring strain, being replaced in a like-for-like substitution for Gabriel - who made an excellent recovery interception to deny substitute Dieumerci Mbokani the opportunity to equalise from close-range.

Access denied: Gabriel's excellent sliding interception denied Mbokani the opportunity to equalise from close-range. | Image: Twitter
Access denied: Gabriel's excellent sliding interception denied Mbokani the opportunity to equalise from close-range. | Image: Twitter

Staying firm at the back, Laurent Koscielny was dominant in the air and effective in tackles as he helped the Gunners to a hard-fought clean sheet and three points too. Although Manchester City play away against Southampton tomorrow, there's potentially a chance that Arsenal could still finish second - as they're only two points behind rivals Tottenham