A much-changed Arsenal eked out their first Premier League victory of the season with a 1-0 win at home to newly promoted Norwich on Saturday afternoon.
With five of their six summer signings in the starting XI, Arsenal began the first half with a crackle and thrust that betrayed their lowly league standing. Yet, as the home side’s wait for a Premier League goal dragged on, Norwich grew into the contest, going into the interval as arguably the better side.
After an hour, Mikel Arteta introduced Thomas Partey who immediately introduced an element of gusto which had been lacking, and that led to the long-awaited goal. At the culmination of a move which began with Partey, Nicolas Pepe managed to hit both posts with a pair of shots before the ball favourably fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tap Arsenal into the lead in the 66th minute.
Arsenal, who finished the match with as many as five attacking players littered across the top of the pitch, had chances to extend their lead against a Norwich side that showed plenty of promising signs, but eventually settled for just the one goal.
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 7/10 – Showed exactly why Arteta targeted and then thrust him into the starting XI half an hour in with a body-swerve any winger would have been proud of inside his own area.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – 6/10 – Tasked with tucking inside and offering an option higher up the pitch depending on the situation, Tomiyasu charged head-first into his Arsenal debut – quite literally, winning seven headers in an hour.
Ben White (CB) – 7/10 – In a proactive home debut both on and off the ball, White offered a glimpse of the promise that attract such a lofty price tag.
Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) – 7/10 – In his first appearance of the season, the young Brazilian managed to quell the fizzing Teemu Pukki, sliding in to deny the Finland international in the 90th minute.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 6/10 – Given and gleefully accepted his licence to bomb forward though failed to pick out a teammate with most of his deliveries.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (CM) – 5/10 – Beginning the game in his preferred midfield position, the academy product was keen to play progressively but was let down by his execution and shunted into right back by the hour-mark.
Albert Sambi Lokonga (CM) – 6/10 – Starting in the absence of midfield regulars Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, Sambi couldn’t unpick the lock from the middle before being replaced an hour in.
Martin Odegaard (AM) – 5/10 – Floating into threatening pockets in the final third, Odegaard all too often selected the safe pass.
Nicolas Pepe (RW) – 7/10 – Never put off by a misplaced touch (of which there were many), failed dribble or wayward shot, Pepe’s undeterred display eventually led to Arsenal’s goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – 7/10 – Perennially looking for the early ball over the top, Arsenal’s captain was in the right place at the right time to end a five league game goalless run – but could have had more.
Bukayo Saka (LW) – 7/10 – In a typically enthused performance, Saka was – as ever – involved in anything positive Arsenal carved out.
Thomas Partey (CM) – 7/10 – Instantly got his boot on the ball and provided some much needed incision to Arsenal’s blunt attacks.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 6/10 – Should have doubled Arsenal’s lead in the closing stages but had one-on-one attempt beaten away by Tim Krul.
Cedric Soares (RB) – N/A
Tim Krul (GK) – 5/10 – Too often the weak link in Norwich’s build up play but solely responsible for keeping the score down.
Max Aarons (RB) – 6/10 – Increasingly able to tiptoe up the right flank, forcing Saka back into his own half.
Grant Hanley (CB) – 6/10 – As the senior figure in a young Canary backline, the club captain marshalled his junior teammates with an air of composure.
Andrew Omobamidele (CB) – 6/10 – On his Premier League debut, the 19-year-old Republic of Ireland international hardly looked like a newcomer at this level.
Brandon Williams (LB) – 7/10 – Despite the frequency of his forays into the Norwich box, Williams largely dealt with Pepe’s dribbling impressively and provided a crucial block from point blank range approaching the hour mark.
Pierre Lees Melou (CM) – 6/10 – Drifting around the central third of the pitch, the former Nice midfielder flung many a pass out to the flank around Arsenal’s narrow wingers.
Lukas Rupp (CM) – 4/10 – Dropping behind his fellow midfielders, Rupp struggled to exert an influence on proceedings.
Kenny McLean (CM) – 5/10 – Ever eager to leap into a tackle and receive the ball, McLean certainly threw his weight around the Emirates.
Kieran Dowell (RW) – 4/10 – In his first Premier League start for five years, the former Everton perennial-loanee floated in off the flank looking for the ball with mixed results.
Teemu Pukki (ST) – 6/10 – Haring around the pitch with characteristic selflessness, Norwich’s only Premier League scorer this season was a constant nuisance.
Christos Tzolis (LW) – 6/10 – Tracked back diligently and repeatedly to help his fullback while also posing the most penetrative outlet for the visitors.
Todd Cantwell (RW) – 5/10
Milot Rashica (LW) – 5/10
Adam Idah (ST) – N/A