Arsenal were left 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea after being stunned by Norwich, who won their first top-flight game of the season.
Grant Holt put the home side ahead when he slotted in after keeper Vito Mannone had parried Alexander Tettey's shot.
Michael Turner headed wide for the Canaries as the subdued Gunners struggled to create chances.
Arsenal very, very poor - Wenger
Mikel Arteta had a late shot saved by John Ruddy but Norwich held firm to secure the victory.
Arsenal had seen Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United win before their game at Carrow Road but could not match the results of their rivals as they dropped further off the Premier League pace.
Manager Arsene Wenger's desperation to shake his side out of their stupor even stretched to giving attacking midfielder Serge Gnabry, 17, his league debut, although the move proved in vain as his side suffered their first away defeat this season.
Wenger left Jack Wilshere on the bench on his return from 14 months out with ankle and knee injuries, and his side were crying out for the midfielder's guile to break down their stubborn opponents.
Norwich winger Anthony Pilkington and Gunners striker Lukas Podolski had both gone close with early long range shots before Holt, who Wenger had highlighted as having caused his side problems last season, opened the scoring.
Steve WilsonBBC Match of the Day commentator
"Arsenal have had so much possession but relatively few chances. It's not just any team Norwich beat for the first win it was Arsenal. Celebrations all round at Carrow Road."
Canaries midfielder Tettey's 25-yard shot was only parried by Mannone and Holt was quickest to react as he beat defender Per Mertesacker to the ball to poke in his third goal in as many games.
The home side had conceded nine goals in their last two matches but manager Chris Hughton clearly addressed his side's defensive deficiencies during the international break.
Norwich were more disciplined in their shape and determined in the tackle as they kept Arsenal at arm's length in a manner that was comfortable for them and worrying for Wenger.
Arsenal lacked urgency and ideas, with Norwich's tactic of nullifying Santi Cazorla limiting the Gunners' threat.
Turner might feel he should have extended the home side's lead when he met Pilkington's corner only to head wide from six yards.
Holt and Gnabry make mark
Grant Holt has netted in three successive Premier League appearances - the first time he has managed that in his career.
Serge Gnabry, at 17 years and 98 days is the second youngest player to play in the Premier League for Arsenal after Jack Wilshere, who was 16 years and 256 day.
Arsenal's struggles were epitomised when Norwich keeper Ruddy pushed out a corner which fell to Olivier Giroud, who mistimed his hooked shot.
In contrast, the home side's confidence was growing as they built on their organisation by producing some promising passing play and threatening on the counter-attack.
Wenger threw on winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the hope of energising his side but he lasted just nine minutes before going off injured following a challenge by Sebastian Bassong.
Holt had a chance to put the hosts out of reach when he raced clear after capitalising on a slip by Thomas Vermaelen but the striker's ambitious chip fell straight into the grateful arms of Mannone.
Apart from Arteta's late strike and Gervinho seeing a chance disappear following a lunging Bassong tackle, Arsenal lacked any real threat as they suffered a first league defeat at Carrow Road since December 1984.
Norwich's first win worth wait says boss Chris Hughton
Norwich manager Chris Hughton:
"This has been a long time coming, which our performances have warranted. However, this league is unforgiving.
"I am delighted for the team, because the work-rate was outstanding and there is no coincidence in the result.
"We could have caught them on the counter more and made life easier for ourselves towards the end, but overall we restricted them and so it was a very satisfactory performance.
"We have deserved this by our play this season so far, so it is a very good feeling to get the win here at Carrow Road for the supporters."
Effort on goal by Santi Cazorla from long distance goes harmlessly over the target.
The referee gives a free kick against Steve Morison for handball. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.
Clarindo Andre Santos sends in a cross, clearance by Javier Garrido. Serge Gnabry produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.
90:00 +2:09 Substitution
Substitution (Norwich) makes a substitution, with Ryan Bennett coming on for Wesley Hoolahan.
Mikel Arteta takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Michael Turner.
Corner taken by Andrey Arshavin from the right by-line, clearance made by Russell Martin.
Substitution Steve Morison joins the action as a substitute, replacing Grant Holt.
Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastien Bassong.
Mikel Arteta challenges Grant Holt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Wesley Hoolahan.
Shot by Mikel Arteta from 20 yards. Save by John Ruddy.
Carl Jenkinson delivers the ball, clearance made by Sebastien Bassong.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bradley Johnson on Serge Gnabry. Andrey Arshavin takes the direct free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Snodgrass by Clarindo Andre Santos. Robert Snodgrass delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing. Grant Holt is caught offside. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.
Serge Gnabry produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
Substitution Serge Gnabry is brought on as a substitute for Aaron Ramsey.
Shot by Santi Cazorla. Sebastien Bassong gets a block in. Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line, Headed effort from inside the area by Thomas Vermaelen misses to the right of the target.
Grant Holt has an effort at goal. Vito Mannone makes a save.
Substitution (Norwich) makes a substitution, with Robert Snodgrass coming on for Elliott Bennett.
Andrey Arshavin crosses the ball.
A cross is delivered by Carl Jenkinson, clearance by Michael Turner.
Thomas Vermaelen concedes a free kick for a foul on Elliott Bennett. Free kick crossed by Anthony Pilkington, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
Substitution Andrey Arshavin on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Effort from outside the area by Grant Holt goes wide right of the goal.
Santi Cazorla has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save by John Ruddy.
Booking Michael Turner is booked.
Foul by Michael Turner on Olivier Giroud, free kick awarded.
Elliott Bennett gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clarindo Andre Santos. Vito Mannone takes the direct free kick.
Yao Gervinho produces a cross, Bradley Johnson manages to make a clearance.
Santi Cazorla takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Bradley Johnson makes a clearance.
Foul by Grant Holt on Clarindo Andre Santos, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Clarindo Andre Santos.
Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on in place of Lukas Podolski.
Santi Cazorla crosses the ball, save by John Ruddy.
The ball is sent over by Aaron Ramsey, Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
Thomas Vermaelen takes the indirect free kick.
Booking Grant Holt booked for dissent.
Grant Holt is caught offside.
Shot by Bradley Johnson from outside the box goes over the target.
The ball is delivered by Wesley Hoolahan, Thomas Vermaelen manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Carl Jenkinson on Wesley Hoolahan, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Javier Garrido.
A cross is delivered by Aaron Ramsey, John Ruddy makes a save.
Foul by Elliott Bennett on Thomas Vermaelen, free kick awarded. Lukas Podolski restarts play with the free kick.
Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.
Booking The referee books Wesley Hoolahan for dissent.
Wesley Hoolahan is flagged offside by the assistant referee.
A cross is delivered by Aaron Ramsey, Russell Martin makes a clearance.
A cross is delivered by Carl Jenkinson, Close range effort by Olivier Giroud misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is crossed by Javier Garrido.
A cross is delivered by Grant Holt, clearance by Carl Jenkinson.
The referee starts the second half.
45:00 +1:19 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.
A cross is delivered by Grant Holt, clearance by Mikel Arteta. Anthony Pilkington takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Carl Jenkinson.
The ball is swung over by Yao Gervinho, Michael Turner makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Santi Cazorla, save by John Ruddy.
A cross is delivered by Carl Jenkinson, Sebastien Bassong makes a clearance.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Grant Holt. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.
Anthony Pilkington is adjudged to have handled the ball. Carl Jenkinson takes the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Lukas Podolski. John Ruddy takes the indirect free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Thomas Vermaelen. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Elliott Bennett, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
Foul by Bradley Johnson on Santi Cazorla, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Mikel Arteta.
Grant Holt is caught offside. Carl Jenkinson restarts play with the free kick.
A cross is delivered by Russell Martin, Santi Cazorla makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Anthony Pilkington from the right by-line, Michael Turner produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
The official flags Yao Gervinho offside. Indirect free kick taken by John Ruddy.
Short corner taken by Yao Gervinho from the left by-line.
The official flags Grant Holt offside. Indirect free kick taken by Per Mertesacker.
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
Outswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla, clearance by Russell Martin. Corner taken by Santi Cazorla played to the near post, Elliott Bennett manages to make a clearance.
Mikel Arteta fouled by Grant Holt, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.
The offside flag is raised against Olivier Giroud. John Ruddy takes the indirect free kick.
The ball is sent over by Aaron Ramsey.
Lukas Podolski gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bradley Johnson. Direct free kick taken by Wesley Hoolahan.
Carl Jenkinson delivers the ball, save by John Ruddy.
The ball is delivered by Elliott Bennett.
Grant Holt delivers the ball, clearance made by Carl Jenkinson.
Foul by Aaron Ramsey on Elliott Bennett, free kick awarded. Russell Martin takes the free kick.
Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.
Booking Bradley Johnson receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
Santi Cazorla fouled by Bradley Johnson, the ref awards a free kick.
The ball is sent over by Russell Martin.
Russell Martin crosses the ball, clearance made by Per Mertesacker.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save made by John Ruddy.
Assist by Alexander Tettey.
18:59 Goal scored
Goal - Grant Holt - Norwich 1 - 0 Arsenal A goal is scored by Grant Holt from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Norwich 1-0 Arsenal.
Drilled right-footed shot by Alexander Tettey. Vito Mannone makes a save.
The ball is crossed by Russell Martin.
Carl Jenkinson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Anthony Pilkington. Javier Garrido takes the free kick.
Foul by Grant Holt on Clarindo Andre Santos, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.
Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt. Russell Martin takes the direct free kick.
The referee blows for offside against Yao Gervinho. Free kick taken by Javier Garrido.
Lukas Podolski produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
Corner taken by Santi Cazorla, clearance made by Elliott Bennett.
Effort from outside the penalty box by Anthony Pilkington goes wide left of the target.
The ball is sent over by Anthony Pilkington, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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