Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was gifted two goals as the Gunners thumped Norwich City 4-0 at an empty Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Aubameyang was teed up by opposing players in either half, and also set up Granit Xhaka for the midfielder’s first goal of the campaign. There was even time for Cedric Soares, who was signed on loan from Southampton in January in a move made permanent last week, to mark his return from injury with a goal after making his debut off the bench.
Aubameyang ended a four-game run without scoring－his worst spell in five years－to reach 50 Premier League goals in 79 appearances. He is the fastest Arsenal player to reach a half-century.
“A player that is able to score as many goals as he has done in that short space of time tells you everything about the importance that he has for us,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
The goals against last-place Norwich helped Arsenal move up to seventh place and ahead of north London rival Tottenham.
Arsenal had opened the scoring at Southampton last weekend following a goalkeeping error and Norwich stopper Tim Krul mimicked Alex McCarthy in north London, dawdling in possession and striking his clearance straight at Aubameyang, who slotted into an empty net in the 33rd minute.
The lead was doubled inside four minutes when Kieran Tierney and Aubameyang combined before the latter fed Xhaka, who hit his first league goal in almost 14 months.
After the break, Norwich was incensed when referee Peter Bankes and the video assistant referee decided that Sead Kolasinac had not fouled Todd Cantwell inside the box.
The Canaries had looked sharper for most of the second half until the visitor made another defensive mistake.
A Norwich throw-in inside its own half was sent toward substitute Josip Drmic, whose back pass in the penalty area went straight to Aubameyang, who netted again in the 67th.
Soares then needed just four minutes to mark his long-awaited debut with a goal as he struck from the edge of the box in the 81st.