A header from Danny Welbeck gave Arsenal their first win of the month against a visibly distraught West Brom.
Arsenal registered a first Premier League win since the start of the month courtesy a beautiful move on the wing by Cazorla finished perfectly well by a fine Danny Welbeck header. With the win, Arsenal see an end to a perfect win having grabbed two victories in it having beaten Borussia Dortmund and now West Brom without conceding a single goal.
The goal from Welbeck was enough for The Gunners to take home the 3 points from the game and inch closer to the fourth spot in the league. While the win provided Wenger enough reason to leave with a smile on his face, the fans did not seem very pleased as a small unfurled a banner calling for the manager to hang up his boots. “Arsène, thanks for the memories, but it’s time to say goodbye” read the message.
Wenger probably didn’t notice the banner and chose to avoid it and refused to comment on the incident. “I don’t comment on that,” the Arsenal manager said. Another attempt to extract Wenger’s thoughts was met with the same terse response. When then asked if he was still the future face of the club, Wenger said: “The job of every person who has responsibilities is to prepare the future always.”
Welbeck returned to the starting line-up after missing the midweek Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund, as Olivier Giroud made his first league start of the season and Laurent Koscielny also returned. Welbeck started on the wing to accommodate Giroud, and looked lively from the start. Midway through the first half, the former Manchester United forward latched on to Cazorla’s neat pass only to see his shot well saved by Ben Foster. Foster was needed a number of times in the opening period to deny Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez. On the other hand, the home side failed to test the opponent goalkeeper, Damian Martinez before the break and struggled to threaten at all in the final third.
Arsenal suffered an injury setback midway through the first half when Nacho Monreal was forced off and replaced by Kieran Gibbs. The game drabbed on in the first half as and only came to life in the second half. The breakthrough arrived finally on the hour mark for Arsenal. It was Cazorla who showed some fine display of pace on the left wing, slipping past Andre Wilson before sending in a deep cross for Welbeck, who headed home despite Foster getting his right hand to the ball.
“Cazorla’s class got us that goal,” Wenger said. “He had a few opportunities in the first half, he cannot finish at the moment, but in providing he is still top-class.”
The goal was all that Arsenal deserved as they remained in their comfort zone with little to concern them until the final 10 minutes when Albion looked threatening at times. West Brom came to life only in the last 15 minutes and Saido Berahino had their best chance to equalise when he headed against the crossbar late on. The final whistle came as a relief for Arsene Wenger as he saw his side through to two victories in the same week, maintaining a clean sheet in both games.
It was a game we controlled well until we scored our goal, but we didn’t take our chances and then, when you cannot finish the game off, having given what you have given on Wednesday night, you know that it could be difficult to finish the game today,” Wenger said. “But in the end our solidarity got us through when the legs went in the last 15 minutes. Maybe we were a fraction lucky as well with the crossbar, but overall it’s a well-deserved win.”
The defeat means that West Brom have won only one home game so far this season and their only good chance in this game was Berahino’s late header against the goalframe. “You don’t know what you’re doing” reverberated around The Hawthorns when Alan Irvine, the head coach, replaced Stéphane Sessègnon with Georgios Samaras. “It’s not nice to hear it,” Irvine said. “People have their own opinions. It very nearly worked. We looked as though we might score when we hadn’t looked like doing that prior to the changes.”
The win takes Arsenal sixth in the league table only two points behind fourth placed Manchester United. While West Brom are 13th in the league, just two points away of the relegation zone.