Football - Hughton left frustrated

Norwich manager Chris Hughton felt the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal was not "a true reflection of the balance of play".

PA Sport Report

The Gunners capitalised on Liverpool's draw at Newcastle with what proved to be a hard-earned victory over a determined Norwich side, who could consider themselves unfortunate not to take something from the match despite the final scoreline.

In the end, though, it was Arsenal's class which told, as Jack Wilshere opened the scoring with a sublime finish to a slick passing move which had cut Norwich open on 18 minutes.

After soaking up plenty of pressure, Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil headed in a second just before the hour, but Jonny Howson reduced the deficit.

Arsenal, though, made sure there would be no late drama when Aaron Ramsey, who has started on the bench, fired past John Ruddy from close range after jinking into the six-yard box.

Ozil stroked in a late fourth to ensure a somewhat flattering scoreline, but it was more evidence this Arsenal side look set for a long-overdue sustained title challenge in 2014.

Despite the quality of Arsenal's goals, there was more than a sense of frustration for Hughton, whose side were beaten at home by two late Chelsea goals last weekend.

He said: "The biggest disappointment for me is that I don't think 4-1 is a true reflection of the balance of play.

"We had some really good periods and what happens at 2-1 when we are back in it, I almost have to take responsibility for because we opened up a bit.

"However, with their first goals, I do not think there are many teams who can score that type of goal, which is probably testament to the type of form Arsenal are in."

Norwich host Cardiff next weekend with the pressure to get a win even greater.

"You are concerned every time you lose a football match but there are a lot of positives in our last two games," added Hughton, who hopes to have club record signing Rickie van Wolfswinkel fit again from a foot injury.

"Our level of performance has been good against teams that potentially could win the division."

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