Ljungberg’s First Game As Arsenal Interim Manager Ends With Draw Against Norwich

Interim manager Freddie Ljungberg could not end Arsenal’s long wait for a win as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s double only salvaged a 2-2 draw at struggling Norwich on Sunday.

The Canaries twice led through Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell only for Aubameyang to level, first from the penalty spot and then with a clinical finish after the break.

But Arsenal also had goalkeeper Bernd Leno to thank for coming away with a point as the German saved brilliantly from Kenny McLean, Pukki and Emiliano Buendia.

Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal manager after seven games without a win in all competitions that had seen the Gunners fall well off the pace in the race for a top-four finish.

Ljungberg remains a fans’ favourite from his title-winning days as an Arsenal player, but he suffered the same problems as his predecessor as the visitors’ firepower up front was needed to cover up their defensive problems.

Granit Xhaka returned to the Arsenal side for the first time in the Premier League since an explosive clash with the club’s fans as he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month that cost him the captaincy among four changes from Emery’s last starting line-up in the league.

Shkodran Mustafi was surprisingly recalled for his first outing in the Premier League this season, but it did not take Ljungberg long to realise the German is not his answer to Arsenal’s problems a centre-back.

Ljungberg’s side had made a bright start, but fell behind to Norwich’s first dangerous attack when McLean’s pass played in Pukki, who twisted and turned David Luiz before seeing his shot deflect in off Mustafi for his first goal in nine games.

The hosts’ lead only lasted eight minutes though, with Christoph Zimmermann penalised for handball and Aubameyang levelling for the visitors with a retaken penalty, after four Norwich players had encroached when his original effort was saved by Tim Krul.

More calamitous defending allowed Cantwell to re-establish Norwich’s lead, with the midfielder slicing through the Gunners defence and placing an effort into the bottom corner on the stroke of half-time.

However, Aubameyang again drew the visitors level, turning in a loose ball from a corner to ensure Arsenal gained a share of the points.

This draw against Norwich leaves Arsenal eighth in the Premier League, seven points off a place in the top four, while Norwich remain 19th, three points from safety.

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