Norwich City 0 Arsenal 2
16:49 11 May 2014
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Norwich City slipped out of the Premier League against a slick Arsenal who had far too much for the Canaries in a routine final day 2-0 win for Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup finalists.
Aaron Ramsey unleashed a dipping volley over John Ruddy seven minutes after the interval before Carl Jenkinson slotted a close range second just past the hour mark in Norwich’s top flight farewell.
Neil Adams’ side remained in 18th place - three points behind fourth-from-bottom West Brom - after Fulham drew at home to Crystal Palace and Cardiff lost to Chelsea, with both joining the Canaries in the Championship next season.
Adams made one change to the starting line up that drew 0-0 with Chelsea. Nathan Redmond came in for Steven Whittaker with Martin Olsson reverting to his more accustomed left-back berth.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Sebastien Bassong were both omitted from the match day squad with no place either for Luciano Becchio, Jonas Gutierrez or Wes Hoolahan. Academy product Jamar Loza was named among the substitutes along with Gary Hooper.
Arsenal’s Welsh international Ramsey was given a chance to prove his fitness ahead of next week’s FA Cup final but Jack Wilshere was kept in reserve.
Wenger did include the likes of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud from the start despite the Gunners already having secured fourth spot and a pre-qualifying place in next season’s Champions League.
Scottish international Robert Snodgrass was announced as Norwich’s player-of-the-year prior to kick off ahead of Olsson and Ruddy.
Redmond checked inside Jenkinson to roll in Johan Elmander who was flagged offside, but the Swedish international’s finish into an empty net drew ironic cheers from the home fans given the Canaries’ season-long struggles in front of goal.
Lukasz Fabianski then claimed Redmond’s spiralling shot with Elmander ready to profit from any spill.
Tomas Rosicky sprang Ramsey to launch a swift counter, but the Welshman’s miscue allowed Ruddy to gather.
Russell Martin burst clear after getting the wrong side of Kieran Gibbs in the 11th minute but Laurent Koscielny intercepted a near post cross destined for Snodgrass.
Redmond’s burst and swinging hit injected a much-needed degree of urgency into the proceedings but Fabianski shovelled his swerving effort behind. City pinned the visitors’ in from the corner but Alex Tettey hooked over from 20 yards out under pressure from Ramsey and Mikel Arteta.
Lukas Podolski found a pocket of space to rifle a left-footed strike that was always drifting wide of Ruddy’s far post.
City’s England keeper then denied the German with a sprawling stop after Giroud’s back heel fell invitingly into the path of the attacking midfielder.
Ruddy produced an even better save moments later to deny Giroud with a finger tip effort after City were again cut open by Arsenal’s slick one-touch interplay to free the bustling striker 10 yards out.
Michael Turner’s sliding block prevent Ruddy from further active involvement after Ramsey escaped far too comfortably from Bradley Johnson patrolling in front of his back four.
City replied in kind with a swift counter only for Olsson to hook his strike wide on the run after Snodgrass had sneaked past ex-Norwich loanee Gibbs.
Ruddy was required again five minutes before the interval to parry Giroud’s curling left-footed attempt after Turner was rolled by the inventive frontman on the edge of Norwich’s penalty area.
Ramsey picked out Jenkinson on the restart but Turner had sensed the danger to cut out the cross at the concession of a corner which Podolski headed over five yards out after climbing above Tettey to meet Rosicky’s set piece.
Ramsey hammered Arsenal in front in the 53rd minute with a stunning angled volley after connecting perfectly with Podolski’s clipped reverse pass which looped over Olsson at the far post.
Adams replied with a double change. Elmander was withdrawn for what was likely to be his final outing for the club to be replaced by Hooper. Loza was also introduced for his senior debut in place of Tettey.
The youngster wasted no time marking his big day with a confident trick deep in the Arsenal final third to release Redmond but the fellow teenage starlet carved a right foot strike over.
Arsenal doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Jenkinson reacted quickest to slot Podolski’s deflected strike after Ozil had fed the overlapping Gibbs.
Wenger elected to unveil Wilshere for Ramsey in the aftermath. The England international triggered a counter for the rampant visitors but Ryan Bennett denied Giroud at his near post. Redmond fended off his compatriot to feed Loza but Bacary Sagna had too much nous for the raw striker.
Snodgrass invited Johnson forward who picked out the overlapping Olsson but the Swede’s cross drifted aimlessly behind.
Elliott Bennett made his return for the final 15 minutes of Norwich’s Premier League season for his first involvement since the opening day after his long road back from knee ligament surgery.
Fabianski parried Loza’s rising strike in the 78th minute with the debutant looking to harass the Arsenal backline at every opportunity.
Elliott Bennett then miscued tamely at Fabianski following Snodgrass’ rolled first time cross. Namesake Ryan was booked for hauling down Yaya Sanogo but Arteta’s free kick lacked the venom to trouble Ruddy.
Fabianski needed to be alert to foil Snodgrass with his legs from Hooper’s throughball as City tried to finish on the front foot.
Ruddy produced one last act of defiance to flick away Sanogo’s poked effort after Wilshere brushed off Johnson in the dying embers of City’s top flight season.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Olsson, Tettey (Loza 58), Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Redmond (E Bennett 75), Elmander (Hooper 58). Subs (not used): Bunn, Whittaker, Fer, Josh Murphy.
• Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky (Diaby 74), Ramsey (Wilshere 63), Ozil, Podolski, Giroud (Sanogo 74). Subs (not used): Szczesny, Monreal, Kallstrom, Flamini.
• Booking: R Bennett (foul on Sanogo, 80)
• Goals: Ramsey (53), Jenkinson (62)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 2 minutes
• Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
• Attendance: 26,848