The 66th minute winner scored by Pierre Emrick Aubameyang reduced the pressures in the Emirates Stadium and took his team away from the bottom of the Premier League standings.
Arteta had only four games to preserve his work following the most terrible start of Arsenal’s 67 years in the English Premier League.
Arsenal entered the match at the bottom of the table, one point behind nineteenth-placed Norwich in terms of goals scored, after suffering three consecutive defeats and scoring no goals prior to the international break. Arteta’s difficulties had been exacerbated by a Covid Outbreak and injuries to key players such as Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Martin Odegaard.
A disappointing start to the season came despite being the Premier League’s highest spenders in the summer transfer window, forking out almost £150 million. Arsenal have not competed in the Champions League since 2017 and last season failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1996. Despite that decline, a buoyant atmosphere lifted the home support before kick-off as news of north London rivals Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace filtered through.
Fans also gave Arteta a hearty round of applause and there were fresh faces in the starting line-ups as he handed Premier League debuts to goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. Aubameyang had Arsenal’s clearest first-half chance when he latched on to Odegaard’s lofted pass in the 20th minute, but Tim Krul parried his effort. Debutant Tomiyasu almost became an instant fan favourite as his thunderous volley flashed narrowly over and revived the Emirates faithful on the stroke of half-time.
Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams denied Nicolas Pepe a certain goal from point-blank range after the break following Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot. But Arsenal finally broke their Premier League duck 24 minutes from time in chaotic circumstances.
Pepe saw his effort tipped onto the post by Krul and hit the post again in a rebound tussle with Williams before Aubameyang tucked away the loose ball for his fifth goal in his last three games against Norwich. Referee Michael Oliver confirmed the goal to Norwich’s fury after a VAR review, with relieved Arsenal fans ironically chanting “We are staying up”.
Aubameyang, Emile Smith Rowe and Pepe all had chances to put the game to bed but Arsenal held out for a much-needed win.
Elsewhere, South Korea forward Hwang Hee-chan scored his first Premier League goal for Wolves in their 2-0 win at Watford. Wolves’ first league goal this season — an own goal by Watford’s Francisco Sierralta — was followed by Hwang’s 83rd minute tap-in in his debut appearance after joining from Leipzig last month.
Brighton won 1-0 at Brentford thanks to Leandro Trossard’s 90th minute strike, while West Ham striker Michail Antonio was sent off in their 0-0 draw at Southampton.