Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion: Some Pride Restored

Arsenal returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Thursday night, thanks to a first-half brace from Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean settled the nerves around a half-empty Emirates with an early strike from the edge of the box before wrapping the game up with a free-kick in the 38th minute. The result sees Arsenal return to third in the table and gives their top-four hopes a timely boost.

Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud were recalled to the side from the disappointing 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Gabriel, Francis Coquelin and Danny Welbeck reverting to the bench.

The changes appeared to make a difference, as the Gunners started brightly, with Sanchez particularly looking like himself. It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broke. Ramsey fed Sanchez on the edge of the box, who created some space for himself before rifling a shot into the bottom left corner of Ben Foster’s goal.

Arsenal came close to a second shortly after, but his shot was blocked before Ramsey blasted the rebound wide.

West Brom were almost level just before the half-hour mark, but Gareth McAuley’s near-post header hit the crossbar before bouncing away to safety.

Seven minutes before the break, Arsenal grabbed a deserved second. A positive run by the impressive Ramsey led to a free-kick right on the edge of the box. Alexis stood up and curled his shot into the back of the net. 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Arsenal struggled to maintain the same intensity that saw them dominate the first period, and the game seemed to fall into a classic end of season fixture. Mesut Ozil had two sights of goal, one being saved and one deflected out for a corner.

Nothing else really happened until the late introduction of Joel Campbell, who almost made an immediate impact with some quick feet before dragging a shot wide of the far post. Giroud was then denied by an instinctive save before the final whistle sounded.

Although the result and performance won’t quite be enough to appease the disgruntled supporters, but it at least give the Gunners the chance to end the season positively.

Next up, a trip to relegation-threatened Sunderland on Sunday!

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey; Sanchez (Walcott, 86), Ozil (Campbell, 86), Iwobi (Coquelin, 82), Giroud.

Unused Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Chambers, Welbeck

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Chester (Olsson, 45); Fletcher, Yacob, Sandro (Rondon, 45); Sessegnon, McClean (Gardner, 65), Berahino.

Unused Subs: Myhill, Anichebe, McManaman, Leko

Gooner Ramble

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