And breathe. Having waited so long for Arsenal to not only record their first points of the 2021/22 season but also grab their first goal, supporters were then treated to the customary nerve-wracking finale.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settled the tie with the only goal of the game after the ball fell kindly to him following a crazy passage of play in which Nicolas Pepe somehow struck both posts.
It was an immensely welcome relief in the 66th minute after a positive opening 20 minutes for Arsenal fizzled out en route to a goalless first half. A raucous Emirates Stadium crowd tried to push the hosts on but it took until the final minute of half-time for the best chance to fall to Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Pre-game, going in at half-time level and without scoring was concerning. Knowing how fragile confidence is at this moment in time, as soon as the doubt would creep in there would be few nails left to bite.
5 talking points as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal secure 1-0 Premier League win over Norwich thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second half goal
However, Arsenal kept their composure and while there was some wayward finishing, the shots were flying in from all angles.
Aubameyang’s goal came at a crucial point as the frustration and tension could be felt in and around the stadium, with what followed being a series of missed opportunities where Arsenal somehow spurned netting a second goal.
A vital block from Gabriel kept Arsenal in front and were it not for expert time-waster Tim Krul then the game could have been ended as a contest sooner.
In the end, it’s a win. Craving a commanding and dominant performance with goals aplenty, the solitary strike had to make do. Most importantly of all, it’s three precious, precious points.
Here are the talking points.
1. Aaron Ramsdale Gets His Clean Sheet
When the team sheets were announced and Aaron Ramsdale was selected in goal it was the surprise inclusion of the lineup.
It wasn’t totally out of the realms of possibility that he would get the nod over Bernd Leno, who had been away with Germany, so being chosen here doesn’t confirm that it’s a change that will remain all season.
But for this performance, grabbing another clean sheet and his first in the Premier League for Arsenal is a heart warmer. For a goalkeeper arriving on such a fee in an environment that isn’t especially ideal, it’s the perfect outcome.
He wasn’t tested with shots aplenty but everything he had to deal with he did so comfortably. Therefore, it was his distribution that would be most discussed and barring a few heavy passes in the first half, he looked very solid in that department.
After the break was where his passing looked at its best and getting through his Emirates debut without having to pick the ball out of his net will do him, and Arsenal, the world of good. He couldn’t do much more.