Well after so much disappointment The Gunners showed their class against a poor Baggies outfit. Niklas Bendtner is trying to make me eat my words by having taken his two chances with the sharpness that made me blink twice and considering that this is the same player that couldn’t find the net against Burnley in the Carling Cup. What a turn around… Well played sir!
It was a slightly soft goal after the fourth minute, the Baggies defence was asleep as Clichy laid the ball up to Bendtner, who ran a little wide on the angle of the box with a phalanx of West brom defenders and clipped an 16 yard crisp left foot shot inside Carson’s far post.
West Brom 0 Arsenal 1 Bendtner 4’
A chance well taken. But barely two minutes later Brunt scored an equaliser after the defensive wall courtesy of Eboue allowed his low shot to to creep inside the Arsenal post.
A stupid goal to concede when Arsenal’s confidence was so fragile. Almunia was livid.
West Brom 1 Arsenal 1 Brunt 6’
Play continued with a couple more good Arsenal attacks, in one movement, Eboue played the ball into Bendtner in an offside position. From 15 yards out Bendtner lashed at the ball with his right foot and missed the target by several yards. West Brom tried the physical game resulting in two yellow cards after late challenges on Arsenal players. The second shove on Clichy on the far right resulted in a set piece, initially Nasri was going to take the cross when Arshavin stepped up and curled in a low hard cross into the danger area of the 6 yard box. Toure was on hand to head the ball downwards past Carson.
West Brom 1 Arsenal 2 Toure 38’
The Baggies heads went really down after a long ball from Toure found Bendtner on the right channel and almost in Thierry Henry style, he controlled the ball with one touch off his chest and lashed the ball past Carson with a stunning right foot shot.
West Brom 1 Arsenal 3 Bendtner 44’
The rest of the half was played out sensibly by the Gunners.
Half Time West Brom 1 Arsenal 3
The second half started with Toure being substituted and Song moving into the centre back position. Diaby came on and moved into the central midfield area alongside Denilson. The away supporters who had outsung the baggies fans all night unbelieveably raised the volume up another notch. Bendtner looked really hungry and was making good runs off the ball. The most positive aspect of this half was the way that Diaby immediately controlled the midfield. Arshavin linked well with Diaby and really should have opened his Arsenal account when a short run from Bendtner to the left resulted in a lay off square to Arshavin from 16 yards whose right foot side footed effort was parried away by Carson. Minutes later Arshavin almost scored again as a short ball near the goal line on the left was deftly controlled with both feet and the right foot shot appeared to hit the far post and out of play.
Shortly afterwards Diaby again showed his class with a wonderful dribble and step over and shot hard and the resulting deflection went harmlessly wide. Within seconds of this chance Bendtner almost converted a left foot shot after a diagonal run from the left, he ran across the face of the Baggies defence and his shot struck the post. FTK was eating humble pie, as Bendtner’s drive and effort caused the away support to ring out “Super Super Nic… Super Niklas Bendtner!!!” West Brom looked a spent force, and now it was merely a question of how many. Even Eboue tried to get on the score sheet after again provider Bendtner laid a simple ball on a silver platter. Bendtner’s attempted assists had been sublime this evening.
Defensively, despite the change in centre backs, Arsenal looked assured with blocks and parrys ensuring that no Baggies strike was going to succeed. The only time that they looked under pressure was when a simple cross into Arsenal’s danger area was not attacked by Song. In the midfield area, the dynamic influence of Diaby must now surely kill off the flawed Song/Denilson partnership once and for all. Arshavin began to look a little tired but it was Aaron Ramsey who came on for Eboue after 65’
The Baggies almost scored as Clichy fell asleep as the pacy Zuiverloon made a daring run down the right channel and fired in a fierce shot that Almunia tipped around the post. Almunia got injured after 75 minutes after a silly lapse of concentration by the young Welshman who passed the ball back into the path of Luke Moore who caught Almunia as he came out to save the possible chance. Despite this he was able to continue. Another Baggies player went into the book as Diaby was taken down. The West Brom supporters streamed for the exits and the game petered out with no further real threat to the Arsenal renaissance.
Fran Merida came on for a cameo after 82’ to replace Nasri as Wenger stood proudly on the sidelines. The Arsenal fans responded with Ole’s as the possession of the Gunners played out the remainder of added time. Arsenal continue their unbeaten run and at last the goal drought was ended. Arshavin could have scored from several chances and Bendtner my MOTM could have taken his hatrick. Even though the Gunners took their foot off the gas in the second half, they had more than enough to overwhelm a poor Baggies team. But the most important observation of this evening work was the narrowing of the gap between Arsenal and the fourth placed Aston Villa to three points. If Manchester City beat the Villa tomorrow then it will be game on!
Well done lads. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!
West Bromich Albion: Scott Carson, Gianni Zuiverloon, Abdoulaye Meite,Ryan Donk,Paul Robinson, James Morrison(71’), Jonathan Greening, Robert Koren, Chris Brunt(71’), Luke Moore, Marc-Antoine Fortune
Subs: Dean Kiely Carl Hoefkens, Marek Cech, Do-heon Kim, Filipe Teixeria (71’) Juan Carlos Menseguez (71), Iglesias Borja Valero.
Arsenal:Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure(46’) Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue(65’) Alex Song, Denilson, Samir Nasri(82’), Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner. Subs: Lukasz Fabianski, Abou Diaby(46’), Robin Van Persie, Carlos Vela, Aaron Ramsey(65), Kieran Gibbs Fran Merida (82’)
Referee: Steve Tanner
Fabregas the King.