Dean Smith was left bemoaning particular person errors because the Norwich head coach admitted after a Boxing Day thrashing by Arsenal that requirements had “dropped massively”.
A brace from Bukayo Saka both facet of a uncommon Kieran Tierney strike had Arsenal on the right track for 3 factors earlier than a late Alexandre Lacazette penalty and a purpose for the substitute Emile Smith Rowe secured a snug 5-0 victory.
The win leaves Arsenal six factors clear in fourth place – albeit with Spurs having three video games in hand – though they later discovered Tuesday’s sport in opposition to Wolves at Emirates Stadium has been postponed because of excessive numbers of Covid instances for the guests.
Whereas Arsenal continued a good run of kind, Norwich stay rooted to the underside of the desk. Smith was left sad with the pricey errors that noticed his facet fall in need of the degrees he has demanded since changing Daniel Farke.
“It was very tough to be trustworthy, I didn’t see that coming,” Smith mentioned. “The final sport [a 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa] the primary half was poor however two video games in the past we had been going toe‑to‑toe with Man United and had followers out of their seats.
“This was simply as flat a efficiency as we’ve had and it was suffering from unforced errors. We’ve obtained to be higher than that and we’re higher than that, sadly the requirements have dropped off massively from the Manchester United sport, there are causes for that however I’m not right here to make excuses.”
These causes are prone to be a combination of accidents and optimistic Covid instances, with Smith conceding he faces a “greater job” protecting Norwich up due to the state of his squad.
Mikel Arteta was in a a lot brighter place post-match. “I’m very blissful,” the Arsenal supervisor mentioned. “It’s not simple to win away from house on this league, the best way we carried out and the way dominant we had been, it was actually spectacular.
“I believe on the whole, collectively and individually, we had some huge performances and also you don’t win 5-0 away from house in case you don’t try this so I’m proud of all of the boys.”
Arteta additionally highlighted the development revamped the course of the season, having overwhelmed Norwich 1-0 in September when it was his facet – and never the Canaries – who kicked off on the foot of the desk.
Requested if the assumption his gamers had been displaying was a results of the totally different really feel inside the squad, he replied: “Sure, most likely. The route the workforce is taking, how we’re rising, the understanding between the gamers, the unity we’ve been displaying on the whole and the help we’ve been getting in each floor could be very a lot linked with the best way we are able to transmit and the best way we need to play.
“That’s what we’re right here for, to create enjoyment and in the event that they take pleasure in it I’m certain individuals will take pleasure in watching them play, they actually like one another, they take pleasure in taking part in with one another and you may see that.”
Saka set the tone early on, gathering a cross from the spectacular Martin Ødegaard earlier than slotting past Angus Gunn – the goalkeeper in for the common first-choice, Tim Krul, one in all quite a few optimistic Covid instances in Smith’s squad. Arsenal had been with out Calum Chambers, Ainsley Maitland‑Niles, Cédric Soares and Takehiro Tomiyasu due to Covid however they weren’t missed.
To their credit score, Norwich battled for intervals of the primary half however the sport slipped away. As half-time approached, one other wonderful ball from Ødegaard allowed Tierney to interrupt into the field and hearth in low throughout Gunn for his fourth purpose for the membership.
There by no means seemed like being an impressed second-half comeback for Norwich. Saka’s second purpose within the 67th minute was a wonderful end because the England winger reduce inside Brandon Williams earlier than hanging from the sting of the field to safe the win.
Lacazette was then bundled over by Ozan Kabak six minutes from time and he tucked away the ensuing penalty earlier than Smith Rowe scored off the bench for the second league outing in succession.