Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion – Match Review
Mikel Arteta scored twice from the penalty spot to ease the pressure on Arsene Wenger and secure a vital three points for Arsenal against West Brom.
The crisis bell tolled this time last week as the Gunners trudged off the Emirates Stadium pitch after a late sucker punch against Swansea left Wenger questioning his own future in North London.
However victory over the Baggies will come as a relief to the Frenchman as he watched his side rise to sixth in the table and to within two points of a Champions League place.
Opposite number Steve Clark will be wracking his brain trying to figure out what has gone wrong with his side after they succumbed to a third defeat on the spin.
They were on the back foot from the outset and were lucky not to go behind when Gervinho struck wide as they looked to soak up pressure from the hosts and punish them on the counter attack and it almost paid dividends when Chris Brunt curled wide.
And they had every right to feel aggrieved when referee Mike Jones adjudged Steven Reid to have fouled Santi Cazorla in the 26th minute despite the Spaniard appearing to dive. Arteta took up the spot kick duties and calmly beat Boaz Myhill, sending the ball down the middle to give Arsenal the lead.
Jack Wilshere then went close to a second, poking wide from Gervinho’s cross before Jones waved away penalty appears from the visitors after a cross struck Per Mertesacker on the arm.
Still, it was the home side that continued to carve the better opportunities and Myhill had to be alert to keep Gervinho’s fierce strike out just before the break. It would take another penalty to secure victory with Arteta scoring again from 12-yards after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Brunt in the area in the 64th minute.