Arsene Wenger had almost a full Arsenal squad to choose from, with Walcott and Diaby the exceptions. Podolski and Rosicky were on the bench and Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain started either side of Giroud. Good work by the Frenchman gave Gervinho a chance from a corner in the first five minutes but he flashed wide when he should have hit the target at least.
West Brom had to make an early change and brought Popov on for Ridgewell. West Brom were struggling to get into the game and the referee had to warn their keeper for wasting time after just 15 minutes. A great burst down the right and cross from Chamberlain nearly led to the opener but Cazorla couldn’t control the volley.
Cazorla was pulling the strings, he nearly got the Ox through before he latched on to a good ball from Giroud and won Arsenal a penalty but it was definitely a dive. Arteta made no mistake this time and the Gunners were ahead. Gervinho was the weak link in the side but he nearly created a second goal with a ball into Wilshere near the end of the half.
Arsenal should have been out of sight at halftime, and if they had someone better than Gervinho on they probably would have been. The Ivorian was working hard and getting in to great positions but his decisions and final balls were awful.
Would Wenger make a bold move and replace him at the break? No is the simplae answer to that. West Brom started the second half better, but good footwork from gervingo found Cazorla who was taken down in the box. Maybe the referee had realised he made a mistake in the first half because he did not give it.
Tempers were rising on both sides but it was good to see some passion from Arsenal. Another chance went begging with a poor header from Gervinho. He then failed to tap the ball in from six yards. Arsenal were sharp, though, and there was no doubt about the second penalty award when the Ox burst into the box. Arteta put the kick in the same place as the first and we were looking good at 2-0. It was great to see Arsenal enjoying themselves and playing good, fluid football.
Wenger must be hoping that Gervinho plays himself into form because it was the Ox who came off for Coquelin after 76 minutes. To be fair, Gervinho is almost there, he just needs it to click for him. Gervinho did go off with nine minutes left and Rosicky came on, and Wilshere almost put the Czech through on goal soon after. Lukaku was allowed a free header from a free kick but did not trouble Szczesny. It could have been a very nervy end if he had.
Podolski had just come on for Cazorla when he produced the miss of the season. The German had all the time in the world but blazed over from six yards. It was a much better performance, which we can build on. Swansea lost and Stoke drew so we are back up to 6th and we all feel a bit better.