The Ugly Contest: Arsenal 1 – 0 West Brom – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 1 – 0 West Brom

With fourth spot finally clinched, Arsenal could relax as far as the Premier League was concerned. However, West Brom were still wary of relegation, and they were looking to cause an upset. Plus, Arsenal needed to keep their momentum going in the run up to the FA Cup final.

The game began slowly. Arsenal didn’t really need to win, and you could see it in their relaxed playing style.

West Brom weren’t exactly fired up either. Relegation was possible, but not imminent, and bar a Berhino chance early on following some good Football, The Baggies weren’t doing much.

In the fourteenth minute, Arsenal’s opener came from a corner after some decent offensive play. Cazorla whipped it into the front post, and Giroud made the right run. The big Frenchman met it with his head and guided it into the net.

With the first goal scored, things were going to plan for The Gunners. Yet, by the thirtieth minute, West Brom were starting to ask questions.

Berahino had a couple of chances, Szczesney was forced into a long-shot save and Arsenal were suddenly not looking as comfortable. Thankfully though, nothing came of The Baggies renewed energy, and the half time whistle blew.

In the end, it was a pretty boring game, with very little going on. Nevertheless, it was three points in the bag, and another clean sheet to boot.

The second half wasn’t exactly inspiring either.

Arsenal were struggling to create anything of real purpose, and West Brom weren’t trying too hard to get forward either.

Podolski and Ozil both had chances come and go, but nothing seemed to be clicking for The Gunners. It all just looked a bit flat.

Late on, West Brom had a good spell. They threw on another striker in the form of Vydra and went for it. They didn’t do much – but they went for it.

In the end, it was a pretty boring game, with very little going on. Nevertheless, it was three points in the bag, and another clean sheet to boot.

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Arsenal Player Ratings

Szczesney: [6.5/10]

Had very little to do, but did well when called upon.

Sagna: [7.5/10]

Bacary put in a good defensive display today, especially in the dying moments where he had to hold off Anichebe in the box. Put in a handful of great crosses too. Fans were asking him to stay, which was a nice touch. I hope he was listening.

Mertesacker: [7.5/10] 

Won countless headers and made a good few blocks inside the area. No problems for Per.

Koscielny: [7.5/10] 

Covered well for Mertesacker as per usual (ahem), tackled well and looked comfortable all game.

Monreal: [7/10]

Nacho was defensively solid and linked up well with Podolski the rest of the midfield well. I want to see him attacking loose balls more though.

Arteta: [7/10]

Mikel had a solid game today. He helped out at the back in a manner befitting a defensive midfielder, yet managed to get himself forward too.Good rate of succesful passes as usual.

Cazorla: [7.5/10] 

Santi had a god few shots on goal and looked lively. Misplaced a pass here or there, but overall he had a good impact on the game. Got the assist too.

Podolski: [6.5/10]

Had a couple of chances pass him by today. They weren’t necessarily sitters, but for Lukas’ finishing abilities, I expected him to score from at least one of them.

Flamini: [6.5/10] 

Broke up play in the middle well, but he agitated me going forward. Shot when he should have been passing on two occasions, not ready to receive passes on other occasions. Don’t see why he had freedom to roam over Arteta.

Ozil: [7.5/10]

Picked out some great passes and crosses today whilst showing yet more silky skill throughout the game. Looked to get a bit tired towards the end though, and had a chance which he should have finished.

Giroud: [8/10] – MOTM

Olivier had a very good game today – something which he has been lacking recently. His run and header for the goal was perfect to begin with, but it was his hold up and link up play which impressed me most. He was knocking down balls into good areas, winning tackled against Olsson and more. Fair play to him.

Subs:

Rosicky, Kallstrom, Vermaelen: [N/A]

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The Ugly Contest

That game was no beauty contest – it was an ugly contest.

West Brom only looked to be alive in the final moments of both halves, whilst Arsenal could only create chances irregularly after Giroud’s opener. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

However, fourth spot was already confirmed, and the closer we finish to the top of the table, the better. Especially with the FA Cup final round the corner.

Hurry up, May the 17th.

Before that though, we travel to Norwich away on the last day of the season, who may be a relegated side by then.

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