Little Bit Handbrake: West Brom 1 – 1 Arsenal – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
West Brom 1 – 1 Arsenal

Following an emphatic win at home against Napoli, The Gunners travelled to The Hawthorns to face a West Brom side who had recently grabbed all three points during a visit to Old Trafford. Arsenal were looking to get back on top of the table, but The Baggies were siting twelfth in the table, and on a mission of their own.[quote_right]”It immediately became apparent that playing both Ramsey and Wilshere on opposite wings was not going to work very well.”[/quote_right]

Unfortunately, Arsenal’s first half didn’t go as planned.

The Baggies were packing out the midfield, with Olsson and Yacob doing a stern job of breaking up any attacks the Arsenal midfield could throw forward.

It immediately became apparent that playing both Ramsey and Wilshere on opposite wings was not going to work very well. Both players were naturally cutting inside, leaving the wings entirely to Jenkinson and Gibbs – both offensively and defensively. It also didn’t help that Wilshere was giving the ball away at every opportunity.

In the forty-second minute, West Brom’s organization across the pitch paid off.

After a poorly defended corner from Arsenal, Amalfitano whipped in a good cross to the near post, where Yacob rose unmarked to head the ball past a helpless Szczesney. The goal had been coming, and Arsenal had simply been waiting for it.

The half time whistle blew soon after, and Arsenal were in need of a shake up – and fast.

Arsenal’s second period was better, but nowhere near good enough. West Brom continued to organize themselves well defensively, whilst Sessengon and Amalfitano carried offensive threats.[quote_left]”West Brom were happy with their point, whilst Arsenal simply hadn’t turned up.”[/quote_left]

It took until the sixty-second minute for Arsenal to equalize. Substitute Rosicky laid the ball of to Wilshere outside the box, and the Englishman put his foot through it. The shot deflected off Olssnon, and into Myhill’s bottom corner. The shot was smoking.

After the scores were level, West Brom decided to knuckle down even more. Yacob and Mulumbu were cracking down on Arsenal’s midfield, and chances were few and far between, except a Giroud chance which almost came off, had it not been for a determined Myhill.

The rest of the game was tense. Bendtner was thrown on for Giroud (No,really), but The Gunners looked out of ideas offensively. Even Ozil was struggling to create.

As the clock wound down, there was no real rush from either team to grab all three points. West Brom were happy with their point, whilst Arsenal simply hadn’t turned up. The final whistle blew, and the two points were dropped.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesney: [7.5/10]
Could do nothing for the goal, but proved his worth throughout the first half. Szcezney did brilliantly to recover from a eflected shot, dealt well with corners and overall looked solid.

Jenkinson: [5.5/10]
Not a good day for Carl. If he wasn’t slipping and sliding in dangerous areas, he was losing aerial battles. He tried to get forward as much as he could, but his crossing wasn’t as effective as usual.

Mertesacker: [7/10]
Per did a good job of reading the game as usual, won his headers, made interceptions, and generally did a good job defensively.

Koscielny: [7/10]
Laurent was untroubled at the back, and also did well to bring the ball forward on a few occasions.

Gibbs: [7.5/10] – MOTM
Kieran yet again gave a confident performance, bombing up and down the wing, helping to plug the gap left by Wilshere as he cut inside. Man of the match by default to be honest.

Flamini: [7/10]
Mathieu was booked for a rash tackle, but did his job well otherwise. He harassed West Brom all afternoon, and got himself into good attacking positions too. Desperately needs to improve his finishing though.

Arteta: [6.5/10]
Not a great performance from Mikel. With Flamini in the side, you’d like to see Arteta pushing forward more with the ball, exercising his attacking prowess. But he didn’t. He assisted Flamini with defending, and spend the rest of his time being closed down by the opposition.

Ozil: [7/10]
Didn’t do anything wrong, but the spark just wasn’t there today for the team as a whole. Ozil made one or two inspired through balls, but the chances always came to nothing. West Brom did a good job on Mesut.

Ramsey: [6.5/10]
Out of position, but Aaron had a very average game. He lost possession once or twice, and didn’t really inspire anything going forward. Left Jenkinson alone way too often. Subbed.

Wilshere: [6.5/10]
His goal was deflected, but well struck anyway. Apart from that, Jack was pretty bad. He lost possession constantly, gave away fouls and didn’t give Gibbs much protection.

Giroud: [6.5/10]
Got into some good positions as usual, but lacked the edge he had against Napoli. His passing was wayward, and his finishing needed to be better. Almost scored the winner, had it not been for a good Myhill save. Subbed.

Subs:

Rosicky: [6.5/10]
Tomas looked lively coming off the bench, and did well to assist Jack Wilshere.  However, he lost the ball on occasion, and gave away some silly free kicks. Needs to maintain his impact on games.

Bendtner: [N/A]

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[title]Little Bit Handbrake[/title]

If Arsenal have ever played with a “Little Bit Handbrake”, it was most definitely today.

Credit to West Brom, who got their tactics spot on throughout the game. Mulumbu and Yacob in particular made life very hard for our midfield. However, I’d also point out that we suffered dearly thanks to a lack of width, due to playing an entire midfield full of CMs. Getting Walcott back is essential.

One point away at The Hawthorns isn’t great, but it’s not the end of the world. We still have an unbeaten run, and we still top the table – just about. Next up, an International break. Oh joy.

What do you think of the West Brom vs Arsenal match? Share your views in the comments section below!

Image: Arsenal

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