Report: Arsenal 3-1 West Bromwich Albion (inc. goals)

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Result: Arsenal 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
Competition: Premier League
Date: 9 May 2021
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Saka, Ceballos, Elneny, Pepe, Willian, Smith Rowe, Martinelli

Subs: Runarsson, Bellerin, Tierney, Cedric, Partey, Odegaard, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nketiah


Goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Willian helped Arsenal to a 3-1 win against West Bromwich Albion which relegates Sam Allardyce’s side to the Championship.

Having been in a comfortable position at the break thanks to Smith Rowe’s close-range volley and Pepe’s rocket, the Gunners struggled to maintain the momentum in the second half and were pegged back by Matheus Pereira’s fine solo effort.

As the visitors went in search of an equaliser, Willian made sure of the points late on with a well-taken free-kick.

Pre-game

Mikel Arteta made six changes from the side that grossly underperformed on Thursday. In defence, Calum Chambers replaced Hector Bellerin, Gabriel took over from the injured Pablo Mari to partner Rob Holding and Bukayo Saka, in the absence of the injured Granit Xhaka, started at left-back. Dani Ceballos and Mo Elneny anchored the midfield with Nicolas Pepe, Willian and Emile Smith Rowe ahead of them. Gabriel Martinelli led the attack.

First Half

Having been reticent to field Bukayo Saka at left-back in recent weeks, Mikel Arteta was given an untimely reminder of what he’s been missing. The youngster produced a 45-minute masterclass with his jinking runs on and off the ball that pretty much had West Brom pegged back from the get-go. 

As early as the 6th minute, the 19-year-old was played into space behind his marker Furlong and zipped a ball across the box that found Chambers who tried his luck. While nothing came of the chance, it was a tactic we persisted with on repeat. 10 minutes later, Saka twice more got to the byline. On the first occasion, his cross escaped everyone in red. On the second, he was denied a shot on goal by a last-ditch challenge. 

Eventually, his persistence was rewarded. After a prolonged period of possession that saw us work the ball back and forth across the pitch, we finally picked the lock. Willian slipped in Saka and the left-back picked out Smith Rowe who volleyed home on the run with his left foot. It was his first Premier League goal and he knew exactly who to thank; his fellow Hale End buddy. (1-0)

We didn’t have to wait too long for a second. Having worked through the West Brom press on the edge of our box, Chambers gave the ball to Pepe on the right flank. The Ivorian drove inside onto his left foot and lashed into the top corner. It was a reminder that simple football can be the most effective. (2-0)

West Brom did have chances of their own. Early on, Matheus Pereira threatened with two rasping drives and Callum Robinson clipped the bar before being flagged offside. 

Saka had a chance to add a third before the break. Played in on goal by Willian, he tried to beat Sam Johnstone at his near post but the keeper was equal to the effort.

Second Half

Pepe and Smith Rowe both forced Johnstone into saves in the opening stages of the second period as we looked to kill off the game. 

At the other end, Leno made a smart stop to tip over a corner that looked like it was going to find the net. When he claimed the next, he quickly sprung a counter-attack that ended with Ceballos playing in Saka and Smith Rowe and Martinelli both missing the full-back’s teasing cross. They were replaced by Lacazette and Tierney and we quickly lost our rhythm. 

The Baggies reduced the deficit on 67 minutes when Pereira took matters into his own hands. The Brazilian picked up the ball deep in his own half, accelerated away from Ceballos with comical ease and with three of our defence back-peddling, picked out the bottom corner with a low drive that gave Leno no chance. (2-1)

Furlong had a chance to draw the visitors level when he climbed in the box to meet Hal Robson-Kanu’s cross. Leno was relieved to see the effort flash wide. 

Aside from a Chambers effort that bounced over, the visitors continued to have the better of things in the closing stages. We weren’t exactly holding on for dear life, but not were we comfortable. The game was tight and almost completely devoid of quality. That was until the final minute when Willian converted a fine free-kick from 25-yards. It was his first goal since signing last summer and a classic case of too little too late. (3-1)

After a terrible week for the club, light relief was provided by the sight of Sam Allardyce digesting the first top flight relegation of his career. You have to take your wins where you can get them.

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Maniac

Willian contract extension incoming.

SB Still

When the pressure is off even Willian scores!

Bitter-sweet performance and result today.

Omash

Very funny you, am sure Aterta doesn’t want to be sacked. You comedian

goongot

was not at all interested in watching this game and did not watch for a single minute. followed the scoreline on twitter. arsenal games for this season would only be watchable for me if azeez or balogun starts.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I will only watch a game with an interim manager even though I can’t expect much from Bould.

Stanisashitcunt

Appreciate they won the game but I could not give one slightest fuck about this result. It absolutely sums up this pack of absolute dross we’ve got for a team. Pepe dining out on scoring a goal against West Brom who are as good as relegated before a balls even been kicked, celebrating into the camera like he’s just sunk the winner the Champions League final. And Willian as well, where the fucks that been all year? Ultimately when the chips are down and the season was on the line? Where the fuck were this lot? They were absolutely nowhere… Read more »

Okemeister

I was of the same opinion. Why give game time to the likes of Ceballos (should be leaving forever end of this month) who has failed to impress while we should be giving it to those that will be involved next season? And Willian done fuck all all year. Was genuinely disappointed he scored as don’t think k he deserved after the dross he’s served up all season. Why not give Nelson, Balagoun or Azeri these losers minutes? I truly worry about MA decision making. I didn’t bother to watch either. One of the few positives of this season was… Read more »

Moxrex

For some strange reason, people say Arteta is good in developing youngsters but to be honest, I have not seen enough youngsters given chance under him. Saka had been so good that he was forcing Arteta to play him. Otherwise ESR was unable to get in the team while performing exceptionally well in Europa League. Nketiah got a few minutes as sub occasionally but what has Nelson done to not be given a chance? Hale End players will be forced out of the club to raise money to pay off the retirees and over payments.

Runcorn Gooner

Give Willian a bit of credit tonight. He was involved in a fair few good things. He has been generally poor but tonight he was good.

A lot of people wanting Martinelli regularly but he is young and poor tonight,

rhal

Willian got 90% of what he tried wrong. It took him 20 minutes to complete a pass. He constantly broke counterattacks down because of his poor performance. Of the things he got right, the passes to Saka were mostly Saka’s movement, since they were simple, short passes. His goal was very good, that is true, but he was generally shit, slow, sloppy. Martinelli always offers more than Willian, even when Gabi doesn’t score, because his movement creates pressure on the opponents. William gets the occasional set piece right. that’s it.

Okemeister

Agree except where you said the occasional set piece, which suggests more than one all season that he has gotten right.

Moxrex

Willian leads Arsenal team when it comes to chance creation or assists from set-pieces. Tells you where the mighty have fallen 🙁

SB Still

Nothing would have changed for us this season if Willian hadn’t played, he hasn’t had a big impact on the outcome of any game.

Firstly to expect Martinelli to slot in straight away when he is sporadically started by Arteta, particularly like today, with a chance of position. Secondly, Martinelli in his fledgling career has had a bigger impact on the outcome of more than once. Thirdly, Martinelli is on the way up, while Willian as fine a player as he was for Chelsea, he is due to his age, past his best.

Okemeister

Willian was good was he( didn’t bother to watch)? Small game player then. Nothing to play for ( unlike the previous 43 appearances this season) and scored a goal from a set piece. Martinelli poor you say. Maybe had the right mentality- nothing to play for, harder to get motivated.
We probably wouldn’t be on the position we are if players like him had been given the minutes wasted on Willian all season.

Jack

The absolute state of that commentator on BT Sport, actually having a note that Willian had 36 unsuccessful free kicks before scoring

Ealing

I think it’s 37 appearances

Ealing

Why downvote the facts, he’s played 37 times and this is first goal. It’s a crap return, but that’s true

IamaGoober

Willian has earned the best part of £9 million to date, and scored one goal.

Absolutely shocking return from a player we should have never signed.

How Arteta gave that guy minutes over Nelson, Willock and Martinelli is absolutely mind bending to me.

Lets not forget, its been clearly documented that was a player that Mikel actually wanted. Do we really honestly trust the rebuild to this guy?

onenil

We’re the mediocre Arsenal
And we play at Emirates,
Dictatorship, Dictatorship,
Our owner is a Yankeee
And he doesn’t give a shit!

gooner

And some part if anti Kroenke sentiment has always been 100% Xenophobia

onenil

I would have put ‘American Style Sports Franchise Vulture Capitalism’, but I couldn’t get it to scan.
Trust me I would not be happy being owned by a Russian Oligarch – Money Laundering much? Or a Middle Eastern principality with a vile human rights record; or Mike Ashley come to that.

Torterrier

Yes! We’re 9th!

GraeB

4 points behind Spuds and we’re in crisis! When Kane leaves in Summer we must return to St Totteringham’s Day

edzo

We can still catch spurs.

Bart’s Soul

Arteta you absolute joker – playing players in their most natural/sensible positions instead of trying to be Jonny smart-arse

Eternalflamini

New five year contract for Willian!

Eternalflamini

I guess this was even more of an obvious joke than I thought :-/

Tomaury Bischfeld

Thought Pepe had a really good game, we know he’s got a wicked left foot but it was more that he did the bread and butter stuff well, was inventive and got stuck in. He’s a frustrating player because he’s a joy to watch sometimes but in past have felt his mistakes have disrupted the team performance. Anders Pereira for us next season? Impressed every time I’ve seen him play and could do a job as a 10 competitor.

Tomaury Bischfeld

Matheus Pereira*

Biggles

He apparently wants a move to Lazio who have an option to buy him.

Marco

WHAT.Other than his goal he was dreadful.Watch the game again and spot whether he ever beats the fullback.i can tell you now he doesn’t.

GUN

We started playing ‘the Arteta way’ after Simth Rowe was substituted.

Flash

Good job!

Sheldon

Is Saka’s best position left back?

Atom

No. He’s just that good.

Paul Roberts

Saka needs no position.

GraeB

No unless you’re playing WBA. Prefer him on right up front. If opponents have a good winger Saka is not enough of a defender to cope.

NMArsenal

He definitely plays better in the left side. He does o the right side if there are easy teams but when things don’t work, He can play quite ineffective on the right

Rich

We lost a bit of control when Smith-Rowe went off, and Saka moved from left back, but overall we were worth the points

Willian’s best game since the opening day against Fulhah

Hopefully this will give us confidence going to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday

There’s no way we should renew Lacazette’s contract, he’s a decent enough player who’ll bag us a few goals, but he’s the oldest 29yr old I’ve ever seen

Nick

Jesus I forgot he was only 29… I always assume in my head he is 32.

goonshow

Except that he’s STILL the only attacking player we have who can hold up play, retain possession and somehow fight off 2, sometimes 3 pressing him.

Nick

The frequent shots throughout the match of Sam Allardyce moaning and swearing in his seat amused me. Then I thought, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, GET OFF YOUR FAT ARSE AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! He was like a fan watching it on the TV. Mate, you’re the manager!

Keep it Real

Small wins – enjoy that Sam!
I will say I have had enough of Keown on the commentary – we know we have not been good enough but comment on this game idiot.
Arteta made a mistake signing willian, even if he was ok tonight
I want arteta to stay but he has to learn from his mistakes – xhaka at left back etc

cranky colin

Etc etc etc etc etc etc etc adinfinitum

Hank Scorpio

No evidence that’s been happening

Keep it Real

Don’t disagree Hank – if it doesn’t start to happen soon then he has to go

Biggles

He is very unlikely to go now given his earlier statement. If things don’t improve by the end of next season he’ll probably will depart then.

Atom

I love Arsenal but seriously is there another big club in the world where the owner and fans think a year like this isn’t an automatic sacking offense?

Hank Scorpio

Even the laughable Spurs sacked Mourinho despite being higher up on the table and making a cup final.

ArseCLE

Can someone give the players and staff a transcript of Lee Dixon’s first half commentary…

GraeB

We had Keown, what did Lee say?

Assshavin

Im happy that weve won, but ive honestly lost all excitement to watch this team play. Were very predictable and all of our goals are either crosses or individual quality. Its just not very entertaining to watch. Miss having players magical players like Cazorla. Feel like the current crop are fast and capable of running alot, but not that different in terms of quality on the ball from any other team in the pl.

Mike Chiropolos

Arsenal Women create beautiful team goals like Wenger’s sides conjured up on the regular.

charvakan

Not today.

Gervinhothegoat

Yes very dull to watch. I have a greater appreciation of the Wenger sides 08-15 now they weren’t that successful but played excellent football.

goonshow

And Cazorla was available – the perfect way to give him his swansong season.
Instead, we signed Willian instead for 5 times the money!

Paul Roberts

I didn’t think Arsenal had it in their makeup to relegate anyone especially at the Emirates? Usually such a kind and caring team? 🙁

Gunner08

Well we won so I’m gonna try to be positive. We soccer a few goals, at least we have some youth that could help us in the long run, at least our owner hasn’t murdered anyone in that helped our team yet.( there actually was a death in construction for the American Football Rams where a worker died while working on building their new stadium, of course silent Stan didn’t say a thing)

Gervinhothegoat

Always good to soccer a few goals

Badaab

Love to soccer a few goals

Merlin’s Panini

Good to see our “relegation rivals” go down. See ya later Sam!

Zenithreptile

Gee whiz, Saka was good at left back. Who’d have thought…

Cygan’sbaldspot

I often wonder, given Arteta’s reputation as a sort of high IQ tactician, that he purposely ignores the obvious like keeping Xhaka in midfield and putting Saka at LB. Most fans see these as logical decisions that will help us win more football matches. Keeping up appearances. He has done so much stupid tinkering this season. The constant big-brain formation changes, the incessant use of Willian, not picking the best players, I could go on. If he’s staying next season, he had better not fuck up the Saliba situation. There is huge work to be done on that right side,… Read more »

Zenithreptile

There is definitely an air of self appointed intellectual superiority, that doesn’t transfer itself to results at all.
It’s almost become a case of, “oh well we’d be great but the players aren’t suitable for the the imaginary wonderful football I want my team to play, so it’s no wonder I’ve had such a difficult season”
Agreed re Saliba. Fuck that up, or don’t give him a proper chance, and it’s time to get in the sea.

Hank Scorpio

He really is his own worst enemy. Avoiding the obvious and outsmarting only himself. False 9 anyone? I wouldn’t be surprised if he feels vindicated because Willian scored one goal.

Sorry Mikel, to use the tree falling in the forest scenario – if a Willian scores in a largely meaningless end of season game and nobody cares, has the Willian scored at all?

Runzac

You really dont need a left back against WBA, Saka played LWB/ LW and Willian LAM

StuArse

Not a single challenge on the ball for their goal and then for 20 mins we looked like the team hanging on to PL status. We are the best at making others look good.

Glad we have ESR and Saka. Absolute gems, both of them.

Biggles

A win against a poor side, but at least we picked up all the points. We’re only playing to maintain the league position. Roll on the summer.

rhal

8th place trophy locked in

Mike Chiropolos

Auba needs more ball. So does Pepé. One storms the goal for hand to hand skirmishing and counting coup; the other has the range of a cannon for long range gunnery.

Willian and Saka might be a duo to provide the service, increasing chances and goals.

This Arteta interview. Inspiration level: 0/10. Like a bot.

Nice haircut tho.

Bossman Bill

Difficult to get on the ball when you’re on the bench.

RedNWhite

I guess the £100,000+ a week for Willian was worth it then eh Edu? Even Arteta after the goal covered his mouth. Probably said “you’re still getting sold in the summer you prick”. It’s a win, who cares, Kroenke out.

Qwaliteee

Positives: Three points, a win, well taken goals – especially Pepe, Willian finally scores and we’ve relegated the old cunt of a walrus.

Negatives: A nothing game, Arteta still doesn’t play Martinelli for 90 minutes, he still starts with Willian and we STILL spend the entire game passing sideways and backwards. In other words, nothing will ever change under this manager.

Sorry Mikel. Too little too late.

ARTETA OUT

Muckamore

Personally i would have taken Willian off and moved Martinelli left, but then it may not have been 3-1. But, putting Lacca on against a low block made sense. Martinelli had done nothing. Chelsea’s higher line probably suits Auba / Martinelli better.

Qwaliteee

Fair point.

Just thought it might have done the lad good to get some minutes under his belt.

I would have taken Willian off for Laca.

Then again, I would have taken Willian off for my Nan.

Once, twice, three times el neny

Why can’t I enjoy that fat Walrus cunt being relegated more?

Runzac

Williain was pivotal in Saka’s “masterclass”. Saka actually misplaced a few passes all alone in the box after being set up by Williain

A P

Is Matt Ryan injured? Why is Runs on the bench?

NFS

I don’t know good or fast Pereira was but he looked good in patches. Would you swop him for Ceballos and Odergaard. I liked the way he ran at the defence and we need a midfielder who would do that, ala Ramsey. It would be nice if could defend as well. Bring Joe Willock back and Saliba, trim the squad and maybe buy a striker. It is going to be another interesting close season now it has been spelled out to the owners that the fans are not fans of the owners or their so called billions.