Arsenal boosted their chances of securing European football for next season with a comprehensive 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Norwich.
The Gunners again benefited from some poor goalkeeping as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capitalised on Tim Krul’s error to open the scoring before Granit Xhaka finished a fine move to double his side’s advantage at the break.
Aubameyang extended the lead after the break with his 19th Premier League goal of the season, pouncing on another unforced error from the visitors before Cedric Soares made an instant impact on his Arsenal debut to seal a big win for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Victory sees Arsenal move above rivals Tottenham into seventh, six points behind sixth-placed Wolves ahead of the Gunners’ crucial clash at Molineux, which is live on Sky Sports on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Norwich’s survival hopes are hanging by a thread. Defeat leaves Daniel Farke’s side six points adrift of safety with six games remaining.
How Arsenal cruised past Norwich
Arsenal dominated possession from the first whistle as Norwich needed Krul to keep out Aubameyang’s well-struck shot in the 10th minute.
The visitors were struggling to lay a glove on the Gunners, but they were inches away from taking the lead against the run of play when Ben Godfrey’s thunderbolt of a strike from 30 yards clipped the outside of Emiliano Martinez’s post.
However, Arsenal would take the lead shortly after the half-hour mark. Just like Eddie Nketiah’s opener at Southampton last week, they capitalised on an error from the opposing goalkeeper as Krul dwelt on the ball for too long before hitting his clearance straight at Aubamayang, who had the easiest of tasks, rolling the ball home into an empty net.
The lead was doubled moments later as David Luiz’s inch-perfect diagonal pass picked out Kieran Tierney on the left flank. The Scot played in Aubameyang, who cut the ball back for Xhaka to rifle past Krul for his first goal of the season.
Arsenal needed a fine save from Martinez to keep out Kenny McLean’s free-kick just before the break and the goalkeeper was called into action again moments after the restart, saving substitute Adam Idah’s powerful low effort.
Idah was part of a triple substitution from Farke, who brought on Josip Drmic and Onel Hernandez, and the changes sparked the visitors into life.
However, another defensive lapse ended any hope of a resurgence as Drmic turned the ball inside into his own box and straight into the path of Aubameyang, who made no mistake for his second of the night.
Then came the icing on the cake for Arsenal as Soares, signed on loan in January and permanently last week, came off the bench for his first appearance following injury.
And the former Southampton man needed just four minutes to mark his debut with a goal, powering a left-footed strike past Krul from the edge of the penalty area to wrap up a big win for Arteta’s men.
Norwich are back in action on Saturday when they host Brighton at Carrow Road at 12.30pm before Arsenal travel to Wolves on Saturday at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event.