A late Olivier Giroud header was enough to rescue all three points for the Gunners at the Emirates. It wasn’t the best performance of the season but the home side put a stop to a run of two consecutive losses and 12 consecutive clean sheets.
Match: Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Stadium: Emirates Stadium
Kick-Off (GMT): Mon 26 Dec 15:00
The Gunners started brightly. West Brom sat deep and welcomed on the pressure which the Arsenal attack gladly welcomed. Kieran Gibbs was a constant force down the left and Alex Iwobi was crucial in the Gunners’ buildup play. Arsenal pressure without pay-off was the story of the first 45. West Brom frustrated the hosts who were left to long shots and half chances. Everyone loves a nap after Christmas and the home fans probably enjoyed theirs in the first half.
The second half started brighter. The home team came close in the first five minutes. Alex Iwobi and then Alexis Sanchez forced a good double-save from Ben Foster before the Chilean came close again. The Chilean brought down the ball from the resulting corner before stinging a shot against the post. Sanchez came close again a few minutes later but his powerful shot was again stopped by Foster before the Englishman did the same thing again to stop Giroud.
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Lucas Perez came on for the Gunners and made an instant impact, putting a number of excellent crosses which the Gunners failed to get past the excellent Foster. The goalkeeper made a number of excellent saves and was probably the man of the match but could do nothing to stop the late breakthrough. Things looked to be petering out for Arsenal until Mesut Özil floated in a cross for Olivier Giroud to guide past Foster with just four minutes remaining. Aaron Ramsey missed another chance late on but one goal was enough for the Gunners.
Here’s how we’ve rated the Arsenal players:
GK) Petr Cech – 6
Barely touched the ball but flapped a little at a corner in the second half. Petr Cech will be delighted with that clean sheet though.
RB) Hector Bellerin – 6
It was a decent performance from Hector Bellerin but he is still yet to find his per-injury form. The Spaniard was typically threatening down Arsenal’s right but his final product was seriously lacking in quality.
CB) Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
A solid performance from Laurent Koscielny at the back. Salomon Rondon was nullified up front for the visitors who rarely threatened the Arsenal goal.
CB) Gabriel Paulista – 6.5
The Brazilian put in another decent performance at the back for Arsenal. Gabriel was solid alongside Koscielny at the back and was solid in possession too.
LB) Kieran Gibbs – 6.5
He was good in the first half, providing a good attacking threat down the Arsenal left before Gibbs suffered a knock and was subbed off.
Sub: Nacho Monreal (70′) – N/A
Barely involved after replacing Kieran Gibbs.
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