West Brom may be bottom of the League but they didn’t look very intimidated at the beginning of the game, and after Arsenal had two (very disappointing) corners early on, the Baggies came extremely close to opening the scoring when Phillips got on the end of an excellent cross from Rodriguez and Petr Cech had to dive well into the corner to save the Gunners.
West Brom kept attacking and, with Cech holding his groin, came close again a couple of times. although Lacazette also nearly turned in the box but got blocked. The first 15 minutes was spirited end-to-end stuff and Iwobi got a great pass from Sanchez in the box but knocked it over the bar. Arsenal seemed to take control in the opposing half but there was always the danger of a break from the Baggies, with Rodriguez and Phillips looking the biggest dangers.
The rest of the half was looking pretty even with West Brom attacking maybe even more than Arsenal and getting closer to Cech than the Gunners were to Foster, but there were more fouls creeping into the game. To be fair Iwobi let off a cracking curling shot that nearly bamboozled Foster but the Englishman domehow backtracked and forced it around the post. Two minutes before the end of the half Xhaka floated a lovely ball behind the defence but it just got stopped before it got to Alexis and the corner came to nothing.
For all Arsenal’s possession in West Brom’s half they seemed to take too long on the ball and the defence crowded them out of the game. Perhaps we should be testing Foster more with long-range potshots. A 0-0 draw was a fair result at the break in my eyes….
Arsenal started the second half on the front foot with the Baggies keeping most of the players behind the ball. Lacazette won a freekick on the edge of the box but Alexis couldn’t get it over the wall, and another set-piece a minute later came to nothing as well.
Arsenal still seem to be suffering from an inferiority complex away from home and West Brom came back into the game and started worrying the Gunners defence with chance after chance and Arsenal were finding it hard to get out of their half. The pouring rain was probably not helping the quality of our football…
On the hour mark Lacazette tried a driving run and got his shot off but he simply can’t score at the moment and it was straight down the other end again. Lacazette again got close to another deflection into the goal but it went wide and he went down clutching his ankle to worry Wenger for a moment.
Arsenal suddenly started playing with more urgency as the clock reached the last quarter of the match and they have stepped up a gear. Laurent Koscielny has played many games lately and when he started limping around it was no surprise that Wenger took him off and brought on the veteran Mertesacker but we were not doing much defending anyway. Arsenal are pushing and Wenger brought on Welbeck to aid the attack in place of Iwobi (who had a much better shift today than usual), as we desperately need a goal..
This left space at the back and West Brom twice tested Petr Cech in the space of two minutes as both sides look for the win. West Brom then got a freekick that went straight at the wall. Arsenal look to be running out of time and can’t get close to Foster’s goal, while the Baggies look like they have the extra striker.
Finally Arsenal get a break and Sanchez forces a freekick inches from the penalty spot and finally Alexis gets it right and curves it through the wall with the help of a wicked deflection, and into the goal. A massive sigh of relief from Arsenal fans and players alike but there were still five minutes for the Gunners to hold on.
And immediately calamity as the ball goes into the box and the ball is kicked straight at Chambers. The ref blows the whistle, much to the anger of Chambers and Wenger, and Cech gets a card for protesting at Mike Dean too much. Of course Cech has never saved a penalty and Rodriguez slots it down the middle. Game bloody on! Arsenal bombed forward again but they are only given 4 minutes to get an equaliser, while Wenger carries on moaning on the touchline. He is right it should never have been given but moaning never changed anything I’m afraid….
Was there enough time for Arsenal to nick a crucial point. No – They were just run out of time….