Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott
Subs: Szczesny, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud
Arsenal’s Premier League campaign ended with Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere shining in a comprehensive 4-1 win over West Brom at the Emirates this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger made a couple of changes to the team that drew with Sunderland, bringing in Theo Walcott in place of Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin for Aaron Ramsey and Gabriel for Laurent Koscielny.
Jack Wilshere began on the right hand side with Theo Walcott up front, and the latter had the first shot on goal in the opening minute but saw his effort well blocked. However, his next attempt put the Gunners ahead.
Arsenal’s build up was patient, the ball came into Walcott in the area, he let it run across him and thumped it onto the top corner. It was a fantastic strike to break the recent little goal drought the team has experienced. 1-0.
Alexis was next to test the West Brom keeper with a low shot after some intricate build-up but he found Myhill equal to it, but the lead was doubled in the 15th minute when Walcott bagged his second of the game. The move began with Wilshere and Ozil making space in their box, the ball was nicked away from Ozil but Walcott picked it up and toe-poked it into the bottom right hand corner. 2-0.
He celebrated by going to hug one of the physios, and moments later Jack Wilshere got in on the action with a tremendous strike to extend the lead even further. An Arsenal corner was cleared, Gabriel kept it alive, touched over a defender to Jack Wilshere who thumped it on the volley into the top corner. A genuinely cracking goal. 3-0 – and he went to hug the same physio.
The W-Pair were enjoying themselves out there with Walcott seeing a good chance saved by Myhill before Wilshere combined beautifully with Alexis before shooting right at the West Brom stopper.
Per Mertesacker was next to have a go as he used the blinding pace he’s famed for to get to the near post from an Ozil free kick but again Myhill got down to make the stop. A 32nd minute Santi Cazorla shot deflected just wide, Walcott set up Alexis whose shot was blocked and the England man got another attempt on target but couldn’t get enough power on it for it to be dangerous.
It was all Arsenal and when the next goal arrived the Ws were involved again. It all began with Wilshere driving forward, he combined with Alexis, clipped it to Cazorla whose left footed shot skidded across goal and Walcott was there at the back post to tap in for his hat-trick. 4-0.
At the other end a deflected free kick caused some very momentary panic before Ospina claimed the ball, Myhill made another fine save from Walcott and the Gunners took the four goal lead into the break.
There were no changes from either side at the break but an early yellow card for Hector Bellerin when he was booked for a foul deep in Arsenal territory. West Brom then made a couple of changes taking off centre-half Jonas Olsson to put on striker Victor Anichebe, and Craig Gardener replaced Calum McManaman.
The visiting keeper was still the busier though, saving a Cazorla curler well, but in the 57th minute Tony Pulis’ team pulled one back. After a strange looking save from Ospina gave West Brom a corner, the Colombian totally misjudged the set-piece. He came for the ball, got nowhere near it and Gareth McAuley had a simple job to just nod the ball into an empty net. 4-1.
Mesut Ozil’s dummy and cross deserved more than Walcott not quite being decisive enough in front of goal, but as the game entered the final half an hour it took an a real end-of-season season feel. Arsene Wenger made his first changes in the 69th minute when Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud came on for Coquelin and hat-trick hero Walcott.
There was a final change a few minutes later when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first appearance since March 9th when he replaced Jack Wilshere. The lead was almost extended further when Ramsey’s left footed shot cannoned away off the post with the keeper beaten, and the Welshman brought out a magnificent save from Myhill when his curler for the top corner was tipped onto the crossbar.
There was another moment of uncertainty from Ospina when he let a Craig Gardener shot slip through his fingers, saved only by the crossbar as the ball fizzed out for a corner. It was unconvincing goalkeeping, but it didn’t prove as costly as his first error.
In the end though, a comfortable win, third place 100% secure, and just what we needed ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final.