|Lewis Grabban repaid the faith shown in him by manager Alex Neil as his strike helped Norwich to a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Arsenal.|
The former Bournemouth forward started his first Premier League match for three-and-a-half months and he capitalised on poor defending by Arsenal to put the Canaries level before half-time.
Arsenal had initially dominated the first half at Carrow Road and they took a deserved lead through Mesut Ozil, when the visitors capitalised on a mistake by John Ruddy.
The German was set through on goal and he made no mistake, punishing the English goalkeeper by cheekily lofting the ball into the net.
After a convincing 3-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, the Gunners took the ascendancy into this fixture.
It was a meeting between sides with far different ambitions at opposite ends of the table, but Arsene Wenger will see it as two points dropped as it leaves his Gunners side fourth in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Norwich will see it as a good point, although they could have had all three.
The north Londoners were the better side from the offset, as Alexis Sanchez went close before Ozil saw his shot deflected past the post.
Wenger’s game plan would have been altered slightly as the French boss had to use a substitute early on to replace the injured Laurent Koscielny, who was replaced by Brazilian defender Gabriel.
After good work by Nacho Monreal, the Gunners came close to taking the lead as Olivier Giroud’s volley went to the wrong side of the post.
Ruddy made a brilliant reaction save to deny Sanchez before the goalkeeper’s poor clearance led to the opening goal.
The Norwich stopper sliced a clearance which went into the air but no further than 40 yards and it led to a quick Arsenal attack. Ozil latched onto a through ball and neatly chipped the ball over oncoming Ruddy to give Arsenal the lead after 30 minutes.
The Canaries offered little attacking threat in the first half until Robbie Brady forced Cech into making a save before the interval, the Irishman’s curling effort nearly beating the former Chelsea stopper.
Then two minutes later, City were level.
Brady was involved again as he turned provider, splitting the Arsenal defence with ease as he found Grabben in the box and the 27-year-old coolly converted, tucking the ball under Cech.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the home side could have gone into the break ahead as Andre Wisdom crossed to the far post and Wes Hoolahan squandered a good chance by striking over.
Hector Bellerin nearly put the visitors back in front shortly after the hour mark after making a dangerous run into the box, his volley hitting the side netting.
Cech had to be on hand at the other end to make an outstanding reaction save when Martin Olsson’s cross ricocheted towards goal and he did well to get a hand to the ball.
Jonny Howson snatched at a shot following good play by Ryan Bennett and the former Leeds captain squandered a chance by hitting over the bar, while Giroud should have headed home for Arsenal as he fired over Bellerin’s cross at the other end.
The game was increasingly open in the closing stages and it could have gone either way with end-to-end chances, despite Arsenal dominating the majority of possession.
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