Arsenal v West Brom Review – Willian and ESR get first Arsenal goals

Arsenal only have a few games left to try and salvage something from this season, but really need to win all their remaining games and hope other results go our way. I am sure Mikel Arteta has told his team that he wants to see some real fight and desire from today’s team at home to a relegation candidate in West Brom..

But the first 15 minutes hardly looked promising, and in fact it was the visitors who were doing all the attacking and looking they were intent on the three points.

Our first promising attack didn’t come until the 17th minute with Bukayo Saka (from left-back) getting into West Brom’s penalty area.

Halfway through the first half we had a scare when Saka, who was basically our only attacking threat, was writhing on the ground, but luckily he was okay.

Other than one free kick and one corner, Arsenal made little impact, until suddenly that man Saka got to the back line again and put in a wonderful cross for Smith-Rowe to score his very first Premier League goal for the Gunners.

Five minutes later, we saw a rare glimpse of Pepe’s skill when he curled one into the top corner, and put another nail in Big Sam’s coffin, and Arsenal actually look like they are enjoying their football again.

The second half should be just about consolidating our lead and very little happened in the first 15 minutes other than Gabriel getting a karate chop to the throat, but it wasn’t fatal we carried on.

On the hour mark, the Baggies got a flurry of corners but Leno and Holding easily kept them out and quickly broke away, Saka put another excellent cross in but Smith-Rowe couldn’t stretch enough to score again.

Immediately Arteta swapped Martinelli, who has had very little impact at all, for Lacazette, and then Robson-Kanu floored Elneny and finally got a yellow card. Lacazette nearly scored straight away from another cross from Saka, but he was offside anyway.

It looked like we were coasting to the win, but suddenly a great individual goal from Pereira brought West Brom back into it with their first shot on goal! But they all count and Gooners are thinking that we are going to throw away another certain three points.

Arsenal immediately looked shaky and West Brom came in search of the equaliser and came close a couple of times but the game ended with a free kick earned by Willian which tool five minutes to get prepared for, but it was worth it as Willian finally got his first goal for the Gunners to put the game to bed.

Wow! A home win at last! And bye-bye Big Sam!


  1. Arteta’s tactic worked very well in the first half, but Martinelli was struggling in the front. If our CF plays like that against Chelsea, we’d likely lose the ball possession there

    If Martinelli will be assigned as a CF next season, he’ll need more games. I think Arteta would use similar setup at Stamford Bridge, but we’ll need Lacazette upfront

  2. Irrelevant result for me and besides I was not even impressed with how we played. There are two West Brom players I’ve been impressed with throughout the season; Furlong and Pereira. Arsenal should look into getting Pereira and see if he’s cheap. We can’t let such a chance pass without trying. He’s the kind of player who can give many assists and goals as a No. 10. Furlong is also a good shout. Nice goal from Pepe but it’s funny to think we could’ve had Saint-Maximin or Chukwueze doing the same for us at a much cheaper price and both aren’t even that good. I hope he keeps scoring so his value goes higher and then we can sell him. This was Willian’s best match in an Arsenal shirt and I also hope we can sell him somehow.

    1. Are you kidding about Perreira? He reminds me of Felipe Anderson, who was overhyped at West Ham

      About Pepe, I bet we can sell him around 50 M in the summer. It’d be better to keep him than selling him with a big discount though, because Arteta might be able to improve him

      1. I’m not kidding about Pereira. I’ve watched him throughout the season and if we can nab him for cheap then he could be a bargain. He has the technical ability and vision that this team requires for a No. 10. and he works very hard too. We must look to sell Pepe to prevent his value from diminishing. Right now he’s doing ok so its better we sell while he might look good to other clubs than persist with him to ap point where clubs would see him as not good enough.

          1. Haha you can’t ever be so sure with us because we usually make the wrong choice in the market. If we can get this guy and Bissouma for cheap in the window it would be progress and then we can spend big elsewhere on like a winger or even striker and a defender. No need to waste funds just because someone is expensive.

          2. I love reading all the comments about who we should bring in etc.. a lot of them make sense (yours included), unfortunately as this is Arsenal we’re talking about, it’s never straightforward is it? This window is crucial… I only hope we get it right (for a change!!)

          3. Yeah I hope we get it right for a change. Just because a club doesn’t spend big like the likes of City and Chelsea it doesn’t mean they can’t get in good players. I’m sorry to say but the issue is that we are just not smart. A bunch of part-timers making the decisions at the club.

        1. I agree with Kev I have mentioned Pereira before he looks a talent but won’t improve much under peps cone boy.

          1. I’m dealing with the reality that Arteta will be here at least early next season which is why I don’t ever call for his sacking but it won’t happen atm. It is my hope that we make the right signings this window so that he can do well or in the case of failure he doesn’t create problems for the new coach with average, overpriced buys.

          2. I think we’re all dealing with that misfortune Kev. Well I wouldn’t hold my breath as we usually just add to the deadwood but hopefully we finally get the right players in, I just don’t trust Edu/Arteta to be successful this summer.

          3. Its astonishing the kind of problems we create for ourselves every season due to us having a poor transfer window . The problem here is not necessarily that we don’t spend big. Its that we don’t spend well.

          4. I have to agree Kev, we always create problems because we can’t identify the right players to bring in and we always seem to leave it until the last minute to conclude our transfer business which isn’t ideal with incomings having no pre season.

          5. That’s what you call being reactive and not proactive. For all these years we haven’t spent well and there’s always been good players within our budget that we never target. Take for e.g our keeper situation. If Leno leaves then what next?? Typical Arsenal move would be to sign Ryan permanently and ignore the fact that he’s been poor at Brighton this season and then pretend to be shocked when he plays poorly. So many things I could talk about on this subject.

          6. We have always dithered in the transfer market Kev, in doing so we have missed so many players that have gone on and become hugely successful at other clubs, we leave it so late in the window that we eventually panic and bring in someone overpriced or someone who wasn’t even first or second choice! I wouldn’t be surprised if we go all out and sign the Brentford keeper who we’ve been linked with last summer and someone apparently who Arteta likes.. Edu/Arteta just don’t have the experience or the know – how to rebuild the team. Top that off with an owner who couldn’t care less so it will be rinse and repeat this summer.

      2. £50 MILLION? Whatever planet are you on! Those silly inflated prices will be no more, since Covid, except for such as KANE, HAALAND ETC
        FOR PEPE WE WOULD BE LUCKY TO GET £20 MILL and he won’t be available anyway, at such a figure. At around £20mill only – all he is worth- you are right that we WILL keep him.

        1. Spot on Jon … but what to do? I will be watching what happens at juventus also suffering under a rookie manager out of his depth and overpaid (and overrated) has beens who are dragging the club down … though Ronaldo’s 30m pay packet makes willians ridiculous wages seem ok!!! … my bet is they fire Pierlo and rebuild … we will keep arteta and tinker at the edges … can assure you who will have the better 21-22 season

      3. GAI, where are Arsenal’s goals going to come from if the Club sells Pepe? He has 11 goals for the season, which is not too shabby for a winger in a mid table team, especially when the manager has him in and out of the team. Don’t worry after scoring, he will be on the bench next match.

    2. Kev, i sat there watching this and felt numb. Its like watching the lapped runners in a race, or the pantomime donkey in the London marathon, it doesnt matter one iota what went on tonight. What a long wait we have got to get excited again, if we ever do.

  3. This result still does not change the fact that Arsenal should sack Arteta ASAP. Also, we need Kroenke out of the club.

  4. I’ve just come round after passing out (after Willian’s goal) 🤣🤣
    Always glad for the win.. 3 beauties… I don’t need to spell out how frustrated I am over how inconsistent we are though.

    I just hope MA enjoyed the silence tonight, as come 23 May, there won’t be the need for fake crowd noise!!

    And one last thing…. Bye Sam 👋

      1. That is our only achievement this season, Kev – the first team to relegate Big Sam 🤣🤣

        1. Hahaha that will go on Arteta’s CV 😂😂 celta Vigo done today what we should have done Sue 😩

          1. Villarreal were down to 9 men though… even we’d have won against 9….right?! 🤣

          2. Yeah but I think it was the players on the bench that were sent off Sue 😄 I don’t think so we struggle when a team goes a man down remember Totts they went a man down they might as well went 2 men up we couldn’t get the ball 😂😂

          3. Well that makes it even worse then 🤣
            You know us, Kev, we like to make things easy for the opposition

          4. Yeah we always do Sue, even when we’re 3 nil up it’s never comfortable 😂 what is this conference league is it a new European competition? We’d struggle in that too 😂

  5. Arteta spared the senior players hoping not to be embarrased by Chelsea next week.He knows that a big embarrasment on Chelsea game is the final nail in his coffin.And is coming!Not a chance for this fraud to preserve his seat.Back to arranging cones in training for Pep,this is where he belongs.Can’t wait for Tuchel’s spanks to expose this inept couch as he is-a huge fraud with no basic knolwdge of football.Arteta out!

    1. I have just watched the re run of Pepe and Willian’s goals Well done to two at least of our senior players who managed to save Arteta from being the cone arranger. I have no problem at all in you discussing his shortcomings but isn’t it a bit pathetic to want Tuchel to show Arteta up?

      1. If it’s not pathetic for you guys to keep supporting Arteta then how is it pathetic for antonioro or anyone else to predict the future which far more certain then what you lot are dreaming with Arteta.

    2. Very poor! Backing CFC and Tuchel? I will support my club even if Tony Pullis is our manager next season! Very sad to read this comment.

    3. @antnioro
      What kind of nonsense you just spewed there?
      So you are hoping for Chelsea to embarrass us just because you can’t stand Arteta?

      You know that Chelsea smashing us goes into our CV as Arsenal? We suffer emotionally as fan if chelsea beats us. Arteta will get on with his life as a multi-millionaire even if he is sacked. While we as Arsenal fans will keep being clowned and laughed at by Chelsea fans for time to come.

      This stupidity reminds me of many fellow gooners wishing that we were knocked out of the Top 4under wenger. People used to have this childish idea in their heads that once we were knocked out of the top 4, then Kroenke would start spending big money to try and get back into the CL. And that wenger will be sacked too.

      They got the Wenger being sacked bit. I don’t see Kroenke spending to the levels people were hoping for. Now we are in 10th place in the league. Have not been in the Top 4 since 2017.

      You have got to get out of your feelings / emotions before making any decisions. You will mostly always regret going by feeling or emotions instead of a clear relaxed mind.

  6. Good win! Just build up the confidence and prepare for next season now.
    Ps- Hope the Manchester clubs lose the European finals. Dont want PE teacher and Fraudiola win lol.

  7. Sorry to say that for me that was disappointing – constant timewasting from Leno against a poor 19th place team summed it up.
    What would we do without ESR and Saka (played poorly but still created a lot)? Where was the performance promised by Arteta? Where were chances for Azeez and Balogun? Shame on Arteta for not using them.
    What did I see? Chambers is not a wing back or a full back – and please stop him shooting! Cabellos again – why Mikel? Martinelli VERY poor. Needs a run and even then I worry he may never realise the promise he showed last season. Willian’s best performance in the second half since Fulham? Elneny at least passes the ball forward and quickly – the lad’s trying. Pepe atrocious control and negative throughout, redeemed only by effort and the goal. Tierney poor – why is it Arsenal players need 4 or 5 games to bed in after injury? We keep excusing them but I don’t see other clubs having this problem.
    We weren’t great, but took our chances for a change. Motivation Arteta? I didnt see much…

    1. This match from Willian is better than his Fulham match. In that match he looked better stats wise than his actual performance suggested. Elneny is the perfect definition of an average but intelligent player. He has the IQ but not the talent to back it up. Pepe was poor but the goal made his performance seem so much better. The least said about Ceballos the better but he did supply some defence splitting passes in the first half though.

    2. Saka and Tierney, in particular should be put in cotton wool for next season, not played into the ground.
      Give other youth a chance, in preparation for 2021/22.

  8. Willian what a player 🤪 Chelsea next I can’t say I’m looking forward to that but maybe they will be distracted by the fa cup final 😄

    1. What a player!It may be nice to get paid 180k a week to score a goal after 37 games.This is how we praise mediocrity-worshiping a mediocre player for doing what is paid to do week in week out.Sanogo scored more goals on less games than Willian and was deemed not good enough.Why change now?

        1. KEV, it is so easy to misinterpret what the user is trying to say with many emojis. They may seem clear to the user but so often the real meaning is unclear. I don’t use them for that reason. They seem daft and childish to me,especially when we have perfectly adequate words, IF we choose to use them.

          I ALSO WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN WHAT THAT EMOJI WAS SUPPOSED TO MEAN, had you not then told Antonioro in WORDS that it was sarcasm. It could have meant almost anything. Couldn’t it!

          1. I don’t think there’s a single arsenal fan or any fan that thinks Willian is a good Signing Jon, he has seriously underwhelmed with his half hearted performances, so with or without any emoji it would be safe to think it was indeed sarcasm. It’s just another form of expression Jon some people can take or leave them.

        2. I new you were been sarcastic. everyone knew willian have not played a proper game since fulham.

    2. What a player yes, apparently some fans were thrown under the bus for calling Willian signing useless and Willian as a spent force. It was clear as day light dude is past his best and even at his best he was not Hazard was he but Arteta love was in the air and some ppl just could not believe their saviour could put a foot wrong. Same ppl I see now have audacity to blame everything apart from the manager and want him to see him doing wonders at the club next season. How desperate can you be?? 🤣😂

    1. Lenohappy, once again Arsenal supporters revel in the misfortune of others; how far some have sunk.

  9. Just a thought…. what if ManU wins the Europa and City wins the champions league? Does that mean that up to 9th on Premier league table might have a chance of playing European football?

    1. No. 3 English teams can qualify for the EL (except 4th place who qualify if they lose the play-off). If none of the places are taken by cup winners, it falls to 5th, 6th and 7th.

        1. Ofcourse no chance,what to expect from inept Arteta.?It wasn’t enough we qualified to EL as FA winner not as a table winner?How long can you ride the luck submerging in mediocrity day after day?

  10. This team is not a top team. too many passengers. we won yes. but I am not impressed. Pepe although he scored I will say it again is only good as an impact sub. Willian had his best game in an arsenal shirt and we wont see a better performance from him after today. Tierney keeps on making a lot of mistakes but no one seem to see them or turning a blind eye thinking he is immune from criticism. The football is still too slow. if it was a top team we would be beaten. Ceballos is huffing and puffing, I dont know to where,maybe back to madrid. Saka and ESR have been the only 2 players that can say I had a good season. The others have been poor to pretty poor. And maybe Chambers can say I did well when I played. the others are eating less than 4. from the defense to the forward line. Looking at arsenal this team need some real change come seasons end

  11. We can hit 6 past WB but what is the point? Pointless game with nothing to play for. I am amazed how Areta supporters are gathering pace for next season now. Their prediction Arteta will do wonders next season, been there seen it 😂. So finally the biggest flop of the season Willian scores a Goal which meant nothing to the club another Arteta master stroke.

  12. The sideway-backward passing still in Arteta’s blood from when he was a(mediocre) player.No way to get rid of that habit once it is on your blood.The same with the speed of play.Arteta was a snail as a player,his play is the same-twisting,turning,thinking,changing mind.Once that is done,the opposition is already back in their own half.And the answer to that is,you bet,a side or back pass,.And repeat….

    1. 👍….you hit the nail on head. Why anyone we play as striker struggles is because of Arteta’s tactics and style of play not quality of striker. That’s why Auba, Laca, Martenelli, Eddie all struggled with goals. Slow build up and passing leading to nowhere. Ppl also forget he started playing ESR more regularly because he was loosing matches and had pressure in him otherwise it would have been even worse. Ppl now blaming Auba, are you for real?? To save the skin of your saviour manager you are blaming a sticker who has delivered and proved himself time and time again in every league he played in, not to mention he carried us alone since he has been at the club. So he is to blame but not the manager who has no proven track record and whole team struggling offensively is a proof itself.

    2. @A. You should not be here, you speak too much sense. A few posters on this site reminds me of the hellish past 4 years in the US when they ignored reality and lived in la la land. Still supporting the novice?
      You have just described the novice to a tee, mediocre as our captain and even worse as a coach. His tactics today made Brom look like a title contender

  13. Worrisome that we haven’t seen a dominate centre forward performance in ages. Martinelli was feeding off scraps, as was Aubamayang on Thursday.

    If Arteta stays, which looks likely, what kind of forward fits the way he wants to play?

    1. “ a false 9”,hehehe….that’s the attacker Arteta likes-“ the invisible center forward”

  14. Fire the entire staff, today!
    The board, Vinai, Edu, Mikel and his assistants, scouting…ALL

    AFC going nowhere…

  15. is anybody else worried about ESRs engine ?. he is more often than not subbed !, and it bothers me to see him coming off absolutely jaded. potentially a great player, but, i just have this niggly concern over him, maybe i am being paranoid.

    1. That’s happening when your team survives on only 2-3 players(Saka,ESR and,sometime,Tierney).The rest are passengers waiting for Friday-the payday.I guess Saka and ESR are even mopping the floors at stadium and cleaning the diner tables for the rest of the team-so important they are for Arteta.He needs somobody to do some work in the team,bang—“Saka,ESR,where are you?Need some goals today to save my skin,after that you can stay and clean the toilets at the stadium.Do’t say nothing,tou arre only 20 yo,just execute,I wanna be manager here forever.And don’t forget to wash my car before you leave,is that white Bentley in the second parking spot”

    2. Antonioro is right Gerry – we have two kids carrying the whole team, week in, week out. ESR covers as much ground as any 2 other players. Notice he is always the one making runs for others? And how the energy left the team when he was subbed? Im amazed he makes it to half time. The pressure on those lads to save us every week must be immense. They surely know by now that if they don’t do it nobody else will. As mentioned above, not only is Tierney always injured, but he is overrated as a defender. People love his attitude and attacking attributes, but overlook that he’s really not a good defender. And Martinelli for several reasons isnt great this season and may not be the answer. But why Azeez and Balogun dont get a kick is beyond me. Put the kids in, because the grown ups are letting us down.

      1. 👍 guy, time to give the other up and coming players a go; they couldn’t do worse. Look how Willock is thriving when given the opportunity at Newcastle United under Steve Bruce (supposedly a poor manager)

      2. You are seeing what am seeing Guy. Tierney have not done enough defensively. Maybe that’s how Arteta sets him up to play to bomb forward, but as a left back, a defender it doesn’t look good on him. People keep saying he is captain material and maybe he is as there is no one else that fit the bill. But if its Tierney we want as captain it shows how far we have fallen. Just to go back to Wenger era almost anyone could be captain, piers,campbell,toure,keown,Adam’s,Henry, Lehman,Gilberto,bergkamp, heck even ljunberg or even hard to say it but will say it ashley cole. this batch not even two names, only Tierney stands out. That’s where we are today, hardly any leaders on the pitch.

  16. I agree with you Aaron, fire them all!!!!!
    Edu,Artata,Vin.. something they all need to go
    Find a manager that has a pedigree and give him a couple windows to fix this.
    SIMEONE for God’s sake..

    1. Simeone,another “ attacking minded” coach,hehehe.If we play with 6 defenders under Arteta,expect 8 from Simeone.Free-flowing football,the Arsenal way,hehehe

    2. If you think our football is bad under Arteta what do you think it will be under Simeone the most defensive minded coach around.

  17. Sadly it looks like we are stuck with Arteta, Edu, Vinai, the Board and the Kroenke’s. It’s like death by a thousand cuts. How did we get this Karma.

    1. Sean, this karma is a direct result of what transpired in the years following the great stadium “ruse”…first and foremost, the most singularly important figure in our modern administrative history, David Dein, the very individual who had the foresight to bring a relatively unproven Frenchman to the Highbury, was hastily ushered out of the building…with him gone so left our greatest chance to navigate the subsequent period of austerity…always the innovator, Dein would have almost assuredly found ingenious ways to supplement our obvious financial shortcomings…unfortunately his time here was done, just when it was needed most

      secondly, the fact that our seemingly once infallible manager willingly helped to perpetuate the erroneous notion that if we just remained patient and paid the highest prices in the land, we would compete with the best of the best in relatively short-order, knowing full-well that this was a complete fabrication…there’s simply no way this ruse could have been perpetrated by a largely absent American owner without the perfect front-man to quell the concerns of a rightfully skeptical fanbase

      now if you don’t believe this is a plausible notion you must believe one of the two following statements: (1) that this obviously cerebral man was oblivious to what was actually transpiring within the organization, which seems incredibly far-fetched considering his propensity to micro-manage every aspect of matters club-related or (2) that he had funds available to him, as Gazidis suggested on multiple occasions, and chose not to spend them for his own selfish reasons, such as his general disdain for the modern superstar footballer and the way they might usurp his authority or negatively impact his specific tactical plans, instead of making decisions based on the greater good…regardless of which option you chose to believe all were incredibly problematic and weren’t conducive to achieving greatness

      when our club became so entangled by the lies and deceit of our past, it started to rot from the inside out…when fans failed to come to terms with the truth and our absentee owner continued to put band-aids on obviously gaping wounds, the real issues were left unresolved…as such what appears to be some sort of sick, twisted karmic nightmare, is in fact the logical result of too many years of ownership neglect and managerial mismanagement

      1. You are aware that Dein is the one who brought Kroenke on board and then sold his shares to him(for 70M) so praising Dein and blaming AW doesn’t make sense any sense to me anyway!

        1. look a bit deeper as this is a highly nuanced situation…Dein knew the club desperately needed to bring in outside investors if the new stadium was to be built…little did he know that Kroenke had no intention whatsoever of following through with the plan regarding future investment so that we could compete against the best after a brief financial reset…once he discovered that fact he worked tirelessly to get Kroenke out of the catbird seat, but ultimately failed when Kroenke refused to sell his shares to Usmanov, who Dein likewise brought into the club…he was certainly not perfect, but at least he spoke honestly about what was actually transpiring at the club, unlike our former manager who never ever spoke truth to words, even after his dismissal, and made considerably more money than Dein along the way

          1. Luckily Dein made his money when he sold his shares to Usmanov. Backing Usmanov caused Kroenke to force Dein out, thus breaking up the Dein/Wenger partnership and beginning the demise of Arsenal.

      2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever, oh wow, what an amazing comment. that is so true what you have written. unfortunately, i believe that some people here are afraid to agree with your comments because others will come in and devour them for giving their opinion.i firmly believe that the main rule is who you are , as is true in most walks of life.we cannot say anything bad about saint arsene, still to this day some fellas de3fend him as though their lives depended on it . but , on the other hand, they are entitled to, i guess.

        1. Cheers Gerry, I know you don’t post as much as you once did, but it’s always nice to here from another realist…the continued insistence of some to remain overtly committed to the delusional notion that Arsene still knows best is mindboggling and frankly a stumbling block when it comes to us turning the proverbial corner…it’s hard to move forward if you’re always looking over your shoulder…btw hope all is well with you, as this pandemic can be a rather daunting time for some, especially when you follow this oft-times troubling club

  18. Very disappointing performance from Martinelli against a poor central defence. Perhaps he’s not yet ready to be the main striker but should continue as the wide player that made him so dangerous last season.

  19. £72,000,000 for Pepe. Has that transfer been investigated in depth? What was Sanllehi’s role? Who received, what commission? Why is Willian making so many appearances… it in his contract. One goal in 37 appearances and he is so lightweight in all ways.

    1. I think we all know the answer that’s most probably the reason why he got the sack that snd his close ties to the super agent!

    2. I agree Sean that Arsenal overpaid for Pepe. However, his goal showed his potential ability and with limited playing time in a mid table team he has scored 11 goals. He will probably be benched for the next match. How much better would he have been, if given a consistent run of games by Arteta and been supported by a better midfield?

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