Premier League: Arsenal 3 Norwich 1
By Football News
Arsene Wenger's side dominated a tense affair but a flat first-half display meant they could not break down a resolute Norwich back-line before half-time.
Matters were made worse when Michael Turner headed home in the second half but a late penalty from Mikel Arteta was followed by strikes from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski at the death as Arsenal sealed their seventh league win in eight games in the most dramatic of circumstances.
The headline team news was undoubtedly the return of England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who replaced the injured Tomas Roiscky in one of three changes from Arsenal’s 2-1 win at West Brom.
From the off, the creative trio of Wilshere, Gervinho and Santi Cazorla sparked to life as the home side pursued the strong start Wenger had stressed the importance of before kick-off.
Aaron Ramsey, Giroud and Gervinho all came close thereafter as the home side began to knock on the Norwich door with some determination.
And the hosts' persistence would continue and after the break as a melee in the penalty area saw several attempts at goal either palmed away by Mark Bunn or blocked by a defender.
But minutes later, it was the visiting fans who were celebrating against all the odds as Turner headed home a Robert Snodgrass free kick.
Wenger's response was immediate: off went Wilshere and Gervinho, with Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott coming on.
And after 64 minutes, the England winger almost made an impact as he surged into the box only to be brought down by Whittaker.
Once again, though, referee Mike Jones dismissed any penalty appeals as the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium grew more and more tense.
Fifteen minutes later, it was Walcott's fellow substitute who went close as Podolski smashed a sweet strike towards goal that needed a superb Bunn save to send it crashing against the crossbar.
But Arsenal would finally get their equaliser with just five minutes left – though it came in the most controversial of circumstances.
Giroud was felled in the box and the assistant referee signalled for a spot-kick as Kei Kamara was penalised for a foul.
The decision was dubious but Arteta's penalty was not as it hit the back of the net despite a late touch.
And the Gunners were not done there as a surging run and cross into the box from substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain late on ended with a timely tap-in from Giroud.
Shortly after, Podolski smashed home from the edge of the area and Arsenal's remarkable comeback was complete.