Arsenal 2 – 0 West Brom – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 2 – 0 West Brom

Arsenal welcomed West Brom to the Emirates stadium in hope of finding their long-lost form. Traditionally, I’d expect nothing less than a good performance accompanied by all three points from the Gunners. But as Arsenal fans at the moment, beggars can’t be choosers.

The first half held some positives for the Gunners. We started off the better side, keeping the ball well and actually creating chancesin the final third. Cazorla & Wilshere in particular were driving the team forward, and good runs from Oxlade Chamberlain were causing the West Brom defence some real difficulties.

Liam Ridgewell suffered a recurring injury early on, and after failing to bandage himself up with £20 notes, was eventually substituted.[quote_right]“After some shocking performances over recent weeks, Arsenal were instead defensively solid, and creative in the final third. Finally. Some good news.”[/quote_right]

Gervinho somehow managed to start ahead of both Lukas Podolski & Tomas Rosicky on the left, and was getting himself into some surprisingly good positions. He was making good runs and latching on to passes from the midfield. The only problem was, he simply couldn’t produce what was needed once the ball had reached his feet. Chances were missed, passes were spurned.

In the 26th minute, Cazorla found himself with the ball in the box, and drew a wild swing from Reid. The challenge missed Cazorla’s leg completely, but that didn’t stop the Spaniard from throwing himself on to the floor. It was nothing but embarrassing to watch.

However, the referee was unfortunately conned, and the penalty was given. Arteta stepped up calmly and converted the spot kick to put Arsenal ahead. It was a bitter-sweet moment, but a goal is a goal.

The first half continued with Arsenal pushing forward offensively and closing down well across the midfield. Certainly, the overall performance was looking much better than what we had seen in recent weeks.

Unlike our defeat against Olympiacos, Arsenal’s second half performance was steady, composed and constructive. Our passing tempo increased and we finally looked comfortable in front of our own fans.

In the 64th minute, Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up the ball and drove into the West Brom box, only to be brought down by a reckless challenge. This time, it really was a penalty. Despite friendly protests from Olivier Giroud, Arteta yet again stepped up and put the penalty away, giving Arsenal a comfortable lead.

West Brom were now subdued and looked to be beaten. Our defensive display was promising in the face of all attacks, and their solitary chance was a tame long shot, which Szczesney parried with ease.

In the dying moments, Podolski, who was thrown on in place of Cazorla, found himself yards from goal. The German had large areas of the net gaping infront of him. However, he decided to rival Gervinho for the ‘Miss of the Match’ award, and scoop the ball high over the bar. Impressive.

The game came to an end, and despite both goals coming from penalties, the Gunners can be pleased with their performance. After some shocking performances over recent weeks, Arsenal were instead defensively solid, and creative in the final third. Finally. Some good news.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [6/10]
Literally had nothing to do, apart from a well parried long-range effort late in the second half.

Sagna: [6/10]
Wasn’t expected to start due to injury, and perhaps would have benefitted from a rest. Looked tired and failed to make any impact in the final third.

Mertesacker: [7/10]
Got himself into good positions for corners and was defensively solid, as per usual. Get it?

Vermaelen: [7.5/10]
Our Skipper definitely looks to be getting back to his old ways, after a poor start to the season. Good challenges accompanied by his trademark surging runs into the opposition half.

Gibbs: [6.5/10]
Did well defensively, but couldn’t link up well with Gervinho to create any chances.

Arteta: [8/10]
MOTM. After a dip in form, the Spaniard stepped up to take two high-pressure penalties, and converted them both. Did well defensively also.

Wilshere: [7.5/10]
Another promising performance from Jack. His fitness and form is not yet all there, but glimmers of class & maturity shine through regardless.

Cazorla: [5.5/10]
Despite making a few good passes and keeping the game flowing, it must be said that the Spaniard really doesn;t have much of an impact on many games. This, accompanied by his disgraceful dive, makes me question his position, in light of Tomas Rosicky returning.

The Ox: [7/10]
Although he was quiet in patches, Alex made some great runs forward on and off the ball, and did superbly when winning the second penalty.

Gervinho: [5/10]
Chance after chance after chance goes begging with Gervinho. With players like Podolski, Rosicky & Arshavin on the bench, Arsene Wenger’s insistence in the Ivorian is baffling.

Giroud: [6.5/10]
Didn’t get the service he requires, but did well when he dropped deeper to link up with the midfield. I’m sure he prefers playing alongside Podolski & Walcott.

[title]A Story Of Two Penalties[/title]

Arsenal desperately needed all three points today, regardless of the performance. Thankfully, they managed to provide both a solid display and grab all the points from West Brom in the process. A scenario which now seems unfamiliar to Arsenal fans.

Arteta did brilliantly to convert two spot kicks, one of which was won through illegal means, whilst the other through attacking brilliance. Naturally, the clean sheet adds to the positives that can be taken away by the Gunners. Perhaps now, we have a foundation to build upon. Next up, Bradford City away in the Capital One Cup.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs West Brom Match? Should we question Cazorla? Share your views

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