LONDON: Tottenham and Newcastle, contenders for the Champions League slots, were offered extra encouragement ahead of their Sunday dates when third-placed Arsenal were held 3-3 at home by Norwich in Saturday’s one Premier League game.
Substitute Steve Morison earned the Canaries a deserved point after Gunners skipper Robin Van Persie – newly-crowned Footballer of the Year – had earlier looked to have salvaged a win for the hosts.
Worse, Arsenal’s France rightback Bacary Sagna will miss the last game of the season and the European Championship finals after suffering a broken leg.
Yossi Benayoun opened the scoring after just one minute and six seconds but the visitors levelled through Wes Hoolahan after a blunder by keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Grant Holt then handed the Canaries a 2-1 half-time lead after his shot was deflected over Szczesny in the 26th minute.
Captain Van Persie came to the Gunners’ rescue in the second half. He pulled them level and then ahead but but Norwich were rewarded for a solid performance late on by Morison’s late and conclusive equaliser.
Arsene Wenger’s men are now in danger of being overtaken in the race for the Champions League, sitting just two points clear of nearest rivals Tottenham (who play Aston Villa) and Newcastle (facing Manchester City).
As for the luckless Sagna, he pulled up during the first half with a repeat of the fracture suffered against Tottenham last October. Wenger said: “It is broken fibula, the same leg. He was kicked on it, it has not happened alone. The guy closed him down and walked on him. I dont know if it was deliberate or not.”
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