Unbeaten in their previous five Premier League matches, Arsenal drew West Bromwich Albion 1–1 at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Winless in 18 Premier League matches, West Brom and their newly appointed manager, Alan Pardew (yes, that Alan Pardew), looked to spring their uphill relegation battle that will inevitably be part of the Baggies’ New Year resolution.
Arsenal, on the other hand, entered Sunday’s fixture fifth in the table. Chasing Champions League football and PFD writer Cal Dymowski’s high-flying Reds, the Gunners looked to continue their unbeaten run in the Premier League, which has spanned five matches.
Contrary to the roaring start against Crystal Palace in Thursday’s London derby, Arsenal were considerably slower out of the gates versus Albion. Perhaps such a start can be attributed to the quick turn-around for the Gunners from Thursday’s thrilling contest.
Alex Iwobi had, perhaps, two of the most prominent scoring opportunities for the visitors through the first 30 minutes of play.
First, an excellent move to create space from Jonny Evans at the top of the Baggies’ box. Iwobi followed that up with a cool turn and cheeky curling effort that nearly nestled in the top corner of Ben Foster’s goal. Then, in the 30th minute, the Nigerian let off a laser that was palmed away by Foster.
Ainsley “Boobie” Maitland-Niles entered the match for Sead Kolasinac in the 37th minute. Kolasinac appeared to come up injured following a collision.
Although Arsenal maintained much of the possession throughout the first half, the Gunners were unable to generate any considerable scoring chances to break the 0–0 deadlock.
The second half seemingly picked up where the last 45 minutes left off. Credit to the Baggies’ faithful who were in full voice at the start, despite the fact their side hasn’t won a match since mid–August.
The Baggies appeared to receive a boost from the home crowd as West Brom looked more threatening in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Arsenal were put under increasing pressure in their own end, and the home side had a few set-piece opportunities.
In the 60th minute, Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette nearly capped off an excellent run and passing-play at the top of the Albion box, with a cut into and lash from the center of the Baggies’ penalty area. But the danger was averted by Foster, in the end, who kept the score level at nil.
Arsenal regained control of possession toward the 70th minute. The Gunners dictated the much of the match’s tempo, mounting patient build-up play at the top of the Baggies’ box.
West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez was given ample space to run at the Arsenal backline in the 77th minute. The former Southhampton man took full advantage of the opportunity and rocketed a shot that was parried away by Čech.
It was the visitors who eventually broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute. Alexis Sánchez, the man who could very well leave the North London outfit soon, capitalized on a free-kick atop the Baggies’ penalty area. The Chilean’s shot took a deflection off of West Brom’s James McClean and into the net.
But, just when one would think Arsenal had the three points in the bag, referee Mike Dean awarded West Brom a controversial penalty for a handball on Calum Chambers. It was ex-Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, nonetheless, who drew the penalty in the 88th minute. Rodriguez converted calmly from the spot for the equalizer.
The match ended 1–1 for (wait for it) another Pain in the Arse!
Alexis Sanchez (83′)
Jay Rodriguez (89′)
Čech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Chambers; Xhaka, Wilshere, Kolasinac, Bellerín; Lacazette, Sánchez and Iwobi
Foster; Evans, Hegazi, Gibbs, Dawson; Barry, Livermore, Brunt, Phillips; Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez
Arsenal played their final fixture of 2017 tonight. The Gunners are set to return on Wednesday, Jan. 3. They’ll welcome North London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium. Kickoff for that fixture is slated for 2:45PM EST.
Check back soon for the latest Pain in the Arse! Oo O O to Be.