Arsenal have moved into the top four of the English Premier League after holding on to manage a win over West Brom at The Hawthorns. Arsenal started the match in control, with Tomas Rosicky pinging a shot just wide of the post from the edge of the box in the eighth minute. West Brom slowly started to settle into the match, with Claudio Yacob almost opening the scoring off a corner in the twelfth minute. Chris Brunt powerfully swung the corner to the near post, and Yacob flicked a header to the far post, only for Gervinho to head it off the line. The Baggies continued to press, but amazingly it was Arsenal who opened the scoring when Gervinho latched on to a lobbed ball on the left side of the Arsenal box. Gervinho turned Gareth McAuley inside out, before chipping a low cross to Rosicky at the near post, who hit a powerful diving header into the back back of the net.
The Baggies quickly bounced back from the goal, and when referee Howard Webb awarded West Brom a free-kick on the left, Brunt stepped up to take it. Brunt didn’t quite catch it the way he hoped, but his shot still managed to wriggle under the wall forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to make the save to his left. Steve Clarke’s men started to push Arsenal back into their own half, although Arsenal still looked very dangerous on the counter attack. In the twenty-eighth minute Gervinho was set set in behind the Arsenal defense after beating Jonas Olsson, and the winger’s shot from a tight angle forced West Brom goalkeeper to kick it away with is right foot. The Gunners really should have doubled their lead in the final seconds of the half when Oliver Giroud flicked the ball to Aaron Ramsey in the center of the box. But, when scoring seemed the only option, Ramsey poked the ball inches wide of the post to give West Brom a lucky break. Arsenal couldn’t manage to score though, and Webb blew his whistle for halftime with the score still 1-0.
Amazingly, Arsenal doubled their lead only three minutes into the second half when Ramsey surged down the right flank. Ramsey cut the ball to Rosicky at the edge of the box, and Rosicky popped the ball up for him to volley straight at Foster, who could only parry the dipping shot. It fell back to Rosicky, who powewered a volley into the back of the open net. Surprisingly, The Baggies looked even more dangerous after conceding again, and substitute Romelu Lukaku forced Fabianski into a good save with a free-kick from twenty-five yards out in the sixtieth-seventh minute.
The match was completely open, and West Brom managed to pull one back in the seventy-first minute when Shane Long ran onto James Morrison’s long ball. Long was put in on goal, but Mertesacker brought him down from behind inside the box, leaving Webb no choice but to send the German off and award a penalty. Morrison took the penalty, and his shot down the middle of the net was poor, but it still managed to wriggle through the legs of Fabianski into the back of the net. West Brom looked like they would go on and grab an equalizer, with McAuley latching on to a corner at the far post and heading just wide. In the eight-fourth minute The Baggies again came close, with Lukaku managing to make space four yards out from goal to curl a shot inches wide of the far post. But West Brom just couldn’t equalize, and after Fabianski saved Long’s close range shot and Giroud curled a shot just wide of the post, the match ended 2-1 ,with Arsenal climbing above Chelsea into fourth place in the Premier League.
Man of the Match: Tomas Rosicky