Arsenal hit new aesthetic heights, scoring two of the goals of the season so far, as they extended their lead at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over Norwich.
Mesut Ozil was on the scoresheet twice as the Gunners went two points clear of Chelsea and Liverpool, with Jack Wilshere finishing off a remarkable team goal and Aaron Ramsey continuing his stunning form with a brilliant solo effort.
Wilshere was asked to perform in an unfamiliar right-sided role to accommodate the returning Santi Cazorla, but it was from a central position which he instigated the outstanding team move that brought the opening goal on 24 minutes.
The midfielder snuck away from his marker deep in his own half, carried the ball forward and then fed Cazorla to trigger a mesmerising move of five successive first touches, the penultimate one of which was a gorgeous flick from Olivier Giroud to play in Wilshere, who finished superbly for one of the goals of the season.
Giroud then struck the post but it was two after 58 minutes as Ozil finished off another nice team move. Arsenal hit Norwich on the break and the German sprinted 60 yards to meet a lovely Giroud cross and head past Ruddy for his first Premier League goal.
Norwich pulled one back when Johnny Howson pounced on a weak clearance from Per Mertesacker to drill a lovely effort past Wojciech Szczesny, but Ramsey claimed his 11th goal for club and country this season to seal the win with seven minutes remaining, turning past two defenders before slotting the ball home.
Ozil added a fourth with two minutes remaining, tapping home from a Ramsey pass, as Arsenal burnished their title credentials with a stylish and comprehensive victory.
18’ - GOAL: Arsenal 1-0 Norwich - Wilshere with a slightly risky manoeuvre in midfield but he starts a wonderful passing move and then rounds it off with a fine finish from Giroud’s flick. Gorgeous, gorgeous goal.
37’ - ARSENAL HIT THE POST: Awful from Russell Martin as he gifts the ball to Gibbs and the left-back crosses for Giroud, who sees his low effort turned onto the post by Ruddy.
58’ - GOAL: Arsenal 2-0 Norwich - Ozil heads Arsenal into a two-goal lead as he leaps to meet Giroud’s cross after a quick break from Arsenal.
62’ - CHANCE FOR NORWICH: A huge opportunity for the visitors as Norwich break quickly and Pilkington drags his shot across goal and wide. Arsenal opened up too easily there.
70’ - GOAL: Arsenal 2-1 Norwich - Howson with a brilliant finish. Mertesacker sticks out a limp leg to a cross and Howson controls with his thigh before drilling a low shot past Szczesny.
83’ - GOAL: Arsenal 3-1 Norwich - WHAT A GOAL! Ramsey with a sensational solo effort. He jinks away from two men before slotting the ball past Ruddy. Absolutely brilliant.
88’ - GOAL: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich - Rosicky dinks a cross to the back post and Ramsey flicks it back to Ozil, who sweeps the ball past Ruddy with contemptuous ease.
Jack Wilshere has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time (Opta).
Wilshere scored his first Premier League career home goal for Arsenal (Infostrada).
Mesut Ozil has four assists and three goals in seven games for Arsenal since joining the club from Real Madrid.
Arsenal are now unbeaten in their last six Premier League home matches against Norwich, since a 4-2 defeat at Highbury in August 1992 on the opening day of the inaugural Premier League season (Infostrada).
TALKING POINT: Arsenal are title contenders, no doubt about it. The signing of Ozil was a watershed moment for the Gunners, elevating their play on the pitch and the perception of the club off it. Arsenal are playing with the flair and arrogance of old, and this was a stunning display of their capabilities. It wasn’t the most dominant performance, but the quality of the goals were exceptional and few can now doubt that Arsene Wenger has a team that can win a trophy this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal): Even if Wilshere and Ramsey scored better goals, Ozil claimed two as he turned in another highly influential performance in the No. 10 role. He dictated Arsenal’s attacks and continues to make his team-mates play to a higher standard.
Arsenal: Szczesny 6, Sagna 6, Koscielny 6, Mertesacker 5, Gibbs 7, Wilshere 8, Arteta 6, Flamini 6, Cazorla 6, Ozil 8, Giroud 8. Subs: Ramsey 8, Rosicky 7, Bendtner 6.
Norwich: Ruddy 7, Martin 5, Bassong 6, Turner 6, Olsson 5, Tettey 5, Fer 6, Howson 6, Snodgrass 5, Pilkington 5, Hooper 5. Subs: Redmond 6, Hoolahan 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET