Arsenal move two points clear at the top

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Arsenal claimed an outright lead at the top of the table as Mesut Ozil scored his first and second Premier League goals to move the club two points clear of Liverpool.

Jack Wilshere, who retained his place ahead of Aaron Ramsey as Santi Cazorla returned, found the net for the second game in succession after a beautifully constructed move, while Ozil headed in a cross from Olivier Giroud shortly before the hour mark.

Jonny Howson gave the visitors a lifeline nine minutes later, but a solo goal from Ramsey put the result beyond doubt, before the Welshman turned provider for Ozil's second and Arsenal's fourth.

Wilshere, whose place in the Arsenal midfield appeared to be the most perilous following the return of Cazorla, opened the scoring to reinforce his worth, having found the plaudits reserved for Ramsey and Ozil so far this season.

It was a goal typical of Arsenal's play of late, although including neither of this campaign's star turns, as Wilshere, Cazorla and Giroud navigated through Norwich's defences with a passing move of the highest order.

Cazorla prodded into the feet of Wilshere, who returned the pass first time, before the Spaniard coaxed an exquisite flick from Giroud, which landed in the path of the advancing Arsenal No.10. Wilshere then proceeded to poke past a rooted John Ruddy, unchallenged by the Norwich defence.

It was Wilshere's second goal in two games, having previously not scored for three years, and his first ever at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League.

Ozil's contribution had been restrained at best for much of the first hour, but the Germany international - a club record acquisition in the summer transfer window - was able to double the advantage for the home side in somewhat unexpected circumstances.

It was something of roles reversed as Giroud found himself occupying the space in right channel and, as Ozil darted into the area, the centre-forward caressed the perfect cross for the £42.5 million playmaker to steer past Ruddy with his head.

A second goal seemed like it would be enough to extinguish any threat Norwich may have posed, but the visitors attempted to ensure it would not be a comfortable last 20 minutes when they clawed a goal back courtesy of Howson.

Arsenal were unable to sufficiently deal with a cross from the left and, as the ball bounced in the penalty box, Howson seized control of the situation, and fired a crisp and clinical strike from 18 yards and into the bottom corner.

The Norwich fightback was over, however, 13 minutes later when Ramsey - who came on as a first-half sub for the injured Mathieu Flamini - scored a goal that oozed class and confidence.

It was a lovely solo effort in which he danced his way through the Canaries defence, leaving two players on the floor, before striking a right-footed finish through Ruddy. That was Ramsey's fifth Premier League goal so far this term and, quite amazingly, his 11th in all competitions for club and country.

Ramsey's now vital influence for Arsenal - how few would have expected that a year or so ago - continued as he turned provider for Ozil, himself proclaimed as the king of the assist.

Tomas Rosicky whipped the ball deep into Ramsey and, as it appeared likely to find touch, the Wales international managed to turn it back to Ozil, who cushioned a simple side-footed finish into the net.

Arsenal's season began in seemingly ominous circumstances with a defeat on this very ground against Aston Villa but, since that moment, they have won all but one of their games across all competitions.

Their record now stands at six wins, one draw and a single loss in eight Premier League fixtures, and Arsenal fans can be forgiven for daring to dream, even if the clocks have yet to go back.

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