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Arsenal 2-1 Norwich - Super Eddie!

Eddie Nketiah, 17 years old, came on to spare Arsenal’s blushes and instantly make a name for himself with a display that will live long in his memory. 1-0 down with mere minutes left, Nketiah sprinted straight from the bench to equalise and take the match into added time. Six minutes into extra time, his excellent header gave us the lead and we had a teenager to thank for keeping us in the cup. A surprise was on the cards at the start, as young Matt Macey was given his first senior start. With Ainslie Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson in the side, Norwich may have been thinking they could capitalise on the Gunners inexperience. They nearly did, but youth was to have the last laugh. There was plenty of wisdom in the ranks to offset the youth as well. It was a healthy mix, and as expected, the majority of the lineup who played and defeated Red Star Belgrade last week made the team. Rob Holding, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Mohamed Elneny and Mathieu Debuchy were all present and they would have been eager to please.The bench though? The names were all regulars for the Under-23’s, but in terms of first team minutes they were lacking. If the game needed to be changed, then it would either present an opportunity for youth to shine, or leave a nightmare for Wenger.The first chance fell to Rob Holding and his point blank header was saved superbly by Canaries keeper Angus Gunn. Minutes later, there should have been a spot kick as Theo Walcott’s set-play was all set to be met by the aerial prowess of Olivier Giroud, but his shirt was held. It was Josh Murphy and Norwich who broke the deadlock against the run of play. Maddison won the ball in the centre and played a slide-rule pass to the rampaging Murphy. He was straight through the heart of the Gunners defence and Macey’s attempts to rush out and close the gap was not enough as Murphy finished well.Macey then kept us in the game with a smart low save to his left to keep out a curling effort. Norwich were growing in confidence, and we needed something to dig us out of the predicament we were facing.We slowly cranked the pressure up, and Theo Walcott won possession well near the final third , but his shot was saved by Gunn. The half time whistle ended any steam we had started to build, and Norwich went into the break with their heads up, knowing that not only have they a goal advantage but they also had handled everything Arsenal drummed up.The second half doled out more misery quickly for the home side too. Jack Wilshere, the ray of hope for many, started to move as if he had injured his groin. Movements hindered and chats to the bench made it appear as if it was only a matter of time before he succumbed to injury. This would also mean a reshuffle as the resources to be called upon were slim.It looked as if Norwich were to double their lead, as Mohamed Elneny appeared to hinder Oliviera. The Egyptian was the last man too, but got away with a booking - Norwich were on a roll, something had to change.Josh Murphy then skinned Elneny on the left for pace and put in a dangerous ball, only for Macey to divert the ball well. The home side needed to quell the uprising, and quickly.Jack Wilshere at least had overcome the niggle he had suffered, but there was no foothold to be found. Norwich were compact and the pace of Murphy always gave them an outlet to relieve pressure and pose a threat on the break.Chuba Akpom, the elder statesman of the bench, came on in the 65th minute for the injured Ainslie Maitland-Niles, but it did nothing to change the pattern of the game, and Norwich came close again. Josh Murphy nearly capitalised on a lofted ball but his lobbed effort went just over. Thankfully, Daniel Farke then took Murphy off, a strange decision as he appeared to be the most dangerous player on the pitch.The inevitable pressure tipped in our favour as the game wore on, but in terms of chances, Norwich had precious little to deal with. We grabbed the priceless equaliser thanks to an unlikely source. Eddie Nketiah had been on for 15 seconds for Reiss Nelson and he got on the end of a flicked header from a corner to blast in from close range.What a moment for the youngster and he saved our skin with his first ever goal. Five minutes left on the clock and it was pure dreamland stuff for Nketiah that got us out of the mire and kept us in the Cup. With seconds left, Jack Wilshere nearly won it with a close range effort, but Gunn saved well with his feet. We could smell the chance to kill this game, and Theo Walcott was scythed down just outside the box. It was a great chance but the effort from Giroud was blasted into the wall.Extra time loomed and there was nothing any side could do to avoid it. Chuba Akpom had the chance to win it with a minute left, but his shot was dragged wide under pressure. Another 30 minutes was on the table.Theo Walcott continued to apply pressure in extra time but was again denied by Gunn, but it was Eddie Nketiah’s night.Six minutes into extra time, Nketiah struck again. A corner was flung in and Nketiah leapt higher than everyone and produced a majestic header to give us the lead and show kids everywhere that dreams come true.Josh DaSilva came on for the cramped Alex Iwobi, and an unlikely victory was in sight for our side, to snatch a surprise win from Norwich’s enterprising side. Norwich were far from dead and buried, but Eddie’s intervention had taken the majority of the sting from the Canaries. Chances passed for both sides as the final minutes trickled by but in the end, Nketiah could not be denied.We can look forward to the next round thanks to a 17 year old and his immediate impact. Cheers Eddie!