Saturday, 29 November 2014

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Arsenal. Match report Saturday 29th November 2014


Danny Welbeck's match-winning header wasn't enough for some Arsenal fans who called for manager Arsene Wenger to go.
In the 60th minute, the English striker rose highest to head home a Santi Carzola cross to give under pressure Wenger a much needed boost after last week's defeat by Manchester United. 

But on the full-time whistle, the away fans brandished a banner stating: "Wenger, thanks for the memories but it's time to say goodbye."  Despite being pressed after the match the Frenchman refused to comment, saying, "I do not talk about such things."

Following the 2 - 0 midweek  win against Borussia Dortmund the Gunners took the game to West Brom and in a dominant first half, Carzola, Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez all had shots saved by Baggies' goalkeeper Ben Foster in the opening 12 minutes. The England 'keeper almost gifted the visitors a goal when he tried to dribble out of his box only to robbed by Olivier Giroud on the left but with an open goal, the Frenchman couldn’t convert from an acute angle on his first start after returning from injury.
Minutes into the second half the home team had a golden opportunity snatched away from them via an incorrect offside decision. Craig Gardner picked the ball up in the midfield and slotted a defence-cutting pass through the Arsenal back line to striker Saido Berahino who was one on one with Arsenal ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez but play was brought back because of the offside decision. Replays suggested that the England striker was clearly being played onside by defender Laurent Koscielny.

Both teams continued to play some fine football but Arsenal always looked the more likely to score and on the hour mark midfielder Carzola burst down the left hand side, leaving Andre Wisdom a mere spectator as he crossed from the byline. Welbeck soared into the air and headed home powerfully from 12 yards with Foster only able to palm the ball upwards into the roof of the net.

This finally seemed to spur the home team into life. Baggies manager Alan Irvine sent on Victor Anichebe for holding midfielder Youssuff Mulumbu which offered a new avenue for them to go down. Then with 15 minutes to go Irvine angered the Baggies faithful when he brought off Stephane Sessegnon, a stand out performer and brought on Giorgios Samaras, a player who has done very little since his move to the West Midlands in the summer. Chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” rang loudly around The Hawthorns.

However both substitutes made an impact. On 80 minutes Cristian Gamboa crossed from the right hand side of the penalty area and Berahino rose highest to meet the ball but his effort rebounded painfully back off the crossbar and was cleared.

With 90 minutes on the clock, West Brom came even closer. Anichebe held up the ball in trademark style on the edge of the area and laid it back to Craig Gardner whose fierce strike was deflected only a whisker wide by the toe of Mathieu Flamini.

Despite the late rally, West Brom couldn’t find an opening and Arsenal took all three points.

At full time, Irvine criticised the off-side decision which was the second in recent weeks. “Two weeks and two big decisions against us. People make mistakes but we could do without them,” he said. The Scot also said the banner calling for Wenger to go was “ridiculous”.

Arsene Wenger said: “We were a touch lucky off the bar but we deserved to win.”

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