Arsenal continued their unbeaten run on Monday, as they overcame West Bromwich Albion in a 2-0 win at the Emirates
The match was a momentous occasion for Gareth Barry who took the Premier League appearance record from Ryan Giggs. Perhaps buoyed by the occasion, the visiting side started the stronger of the two, grabbing the clearer of the chances till the half-hour mark.
During this period, West Brom were also denied what looked like a blatant penalty when Jay Rodriguez was brought down by a sliding Shkodran Mustafi before he quickly got up to test Petr Cech with a shot. Tony Pulis’ men also came close to scoring when Rodriguez headed the ball past Cech, only to be denied by a backtracking Nacho Monreal.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 25, 2017
But, Arsenal went on to grab the lead when Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Ben Foster only for Alexandre Lacazette to be at the right place at the right time and head the ball into the back of the net.
Victory was then sealed midway through the second half when Lacazette completed his brace from the penalty spot, after Aaron Ramsey was brought down by Allan Nyom. Arsenal are seventh in the Premier League table, only a point away from a place in the Top 4. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Arsene Wenger’s men.
Petr Cech: 7/10
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 26, 2017
Had very little to do on the night, with his main threat being aerial balls from the wings and corners by West Brom. The standout moment on the night for him was when he was alert to Hector Bellerin’s inadvertent slice towards his own goal, tipping the ball away and behind the byline.
Cech was beaten once on the night, when he had Nacho Monreal to thank for making a brilliant backtracking clearance. All in all, an unspectacular, yet solid outing for the Arsenal number one, who made it three clean sheets in a row on the night.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6/10
One player whose performances are starting to get a bit worrisome, Mustafi was inconsistent yet again over the course of another game. Mustafi was extremely lucky to escape unscathed when he clearly brought Jay Rodriguez down inside his box in the first half.
Grew into the game as it progressed though, and Arsenal fans would be hoping he can rediscover his best form in the coming weeks.
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10
Yet another solid outing for the Arsenal captain as he marshalled the back-line well, and was excellent in his positional sense. Koscielny did have a few nervy moments early on, but was composed on the whole and continues to lead by example.
Nacho Monreal: 9/10
Nacho Monreal for Arsenal in the Premier League this season:
Most clearances (23)
Most interceptions (15)
Most tackles won (14)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 25, 2017
Easily the best performer for Arsenal on the night, Monreal was everywhere, reading the danger signs that the West Brom attackers presented. The standout moment on the night for him was when he kept the scoreline at 0-0 early on by reading Jay Rodriguez’s header perfectly and clearing the ball on the goal line.
As iterated earlier, the Spaniard was everywhere as he also moved forward regularly to offer an added threat in attack. One of the better all round defensive performances one is going to see all season as Monreal defied his critics with yet another top performance in the back-three.
Hector Bellerin: 7/10
One player who has been in some resurgent mood in September, Bellerin seems to be slowly inching towards his best form with each passing game. His defensive work still needs major improvements, but the Spaniard has started looking threatening in the final third, thanks to overlapping runs and sharp service into the box.
Mohamed Elneny: 6.5/10
The Egyptian started the match slowly as he often left a lot of space behind him that was exploited by the visiting attack. But, Elneny took charge of things as the match progressed, distributing the ball effectively as he turned in a no nonsense performance. A reliable option in midfield for Wenger.
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
One of the more disappointing performances by Xhaka in an Arsenal shirt, the Swiss has certainly seen far better days. He failed to take charge of the match in its early stages, and struggled to grow into it. Sloppy passing, bad positional sense and poor set-piece delivery, the player would definitely like to move on from that performance.
Sead Kolasinac: 7.5/10
Trying to get past Kolasinac pic.twitter.com/kZ25XmV7sj
— Coral (@Coral) September 25, 2017
Has absolutely made the left wing-back slot his own, which yet again begs the question, “Why exactly did Arsene Wenger overlook him in favour of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the position?” Kolasinac absorbed all the pressure from the West Brom attack on his side.
Additionally, as has been the case with him during the early stages of his Arsenal career, the Bosnian advanced forward with purpose, providing a lot of support to his teammates up front. He is slowly starting to make a case for being the signing of the season.
Aaron Ramsey: 8/10
Usually deployed at the centre of the park, Ramsey would have provided Wenger a lot to think about after his performance on the night. Purposeful running and solid on the ball, the advanced position looks best suited for the Welshman, although he will be back in midfield when Mesut Ozil regains full fitness.
Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
Still not back to his best for Arsenal, it looks like the failed Manchester City transfer still plays on his head at times. Nevertheless, Sanchez posed a lot of threat in the final third, but was still careless with possession. Also accused of diving in the first half, Arsenal need him at his best, and soon.
Alexandre Lacazette: 8/10
Alexandre Lacazette has now scored 4 goals in 3 Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium.
No place like home. pic.twitter.com/1IM1r8mWJY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 25, 2017
The Frenchman is another player who looks like a quality signing for Arsenal, he added to his tally for the season with a well taken brace. Both goals showed instincts that have been missing from the Arsenal strikers in recent past.
For the first, he showed tremendous poaching instinct as he was at the right place to head in the rebound from Sanchez’s saved free-kick, while he was calmly slotted the penalty past Ben Foster for his second. Lacazette now has four goals from his first three outings at home, and Arsenal fans are rightly getting excited about him.