Unreal good today. - Clive Mason
Arsenal defeat West Bromwich Albion to move up to sixth in the League.
1 - 0 Mikel Arteta pk 26'
2 - 0 Mikel Arteta pk 64'
Arsenal took all three points today at the Emirates Stadium to move up to sixth place in the Premier League as they pushed aside a loagy West Brom with a little help from referee Mike Jones. Make no mistake, though, Arsenal just about controlled this match from wire to wire, and if one is the sort that thinks teams "deserve" things, well, Arsenal deserved the three points today.
Bacary Sagna was the surprise inclusion for the Arsenal at right back, having been ruled out as recently as yesterday. Both sides felt each other out in the early going, but Arsenal won a corner on 4 minutes. Giroud bothered Boaz Myhill on the ball put back in, and the clearance only came as far as Gervinho, who put his volley wide of the far post. Liam Ridgewell took a knock as he slid in at the far post trying to keep it out.
Goran Popov would have to replace him on 6 minutes.
Arsenal took control for the next few minutes, Santi Cazorla putting a shot well wide from 20 yards on 11 minutes. They continued to put pressure on WBA right through 18 minutes, winning a succession of corners, Cazorla volleying over from a furious Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross.
WBA had their first opportunity on 23 minutes, Shane Long holding the ball up wide, moving it in to Yussef Mulumbu and then Chris Brunt, whose shot was wide.
Arsenal came back the other direction, Gervinho finding the byline, but his cutback was wayward. Arsenal came on the attack again, and Santi Cazorla appeared to have been hacked down in the box by Steven Reid...
the penalty was given. There was no contact, though. It was a dive. Nonetheless, the penalty was given, harshly, and Mikel Arteta stepped up to slot it home.
1 - 0 to the Arsenal, 26 minutes.
The Gunners weren't letting up; sustained pressing meant they were winning the ball back far more than they have been in recent matches. 37 minutes on, Gervinho escaped to the byline on the left, waited and waited, finally putting in a low cross that Wilshere put just wide, sliding in at the last moment. Gervinho put a shot on target on 41 minutes that Boaz Myhill turned wide.
The second half started with WBA pressing much harder than they had in the first. Things got a little touchy on 53 minutes, Olivier Giroud falling over Martin Olsson, who immediately got up in the Frenchman's grill. Gervinho headed, poorly and wide, on 56 minutes. Chris Brunt was booked for dissent two minutes later. Gervinho whiffed a shot from four yards out on 61 minutes, before WBA won a free kick and then a corner. Romelu Lukaku, who terrifies me, came on for Peter Odemwingie.
Arsenal came back on the attack again, and 63 minutes in, Ox took the ball off of Popov, strode into the box, and was brought down by Brunt.
Penalty. Arteta stepped up, no mistake.
2 - 0 Arsenal, 64 minutes.
Arsenal continued to more or less boss the play into the final quarter of the match. 78 minutes in, Oxlade-Chamberlain came off, Francis Coquelin replacing him. Cazorla would move out wide. A minute later, Arteta flashed a free kick wide. 81 minutes on, Gervinho came off for Tomas Rosicky.
WBA won a free kick for a Rosicky handball on 87 minutes, but Lukaku headed his chance wide.
Cazorla got a well-deserved break when he came off for Lukas Podolski on 88 minutes. Podolski really should've scored three minutes later from about three yards out, but somehow he put it over the bar.
The match would draw to a close two minutes later, Arsenal taking all three points and moving up to sixth place. Next up: the Carling Cup, away to the north and Bradford.