Arsenal 2 West Bromwich Albion 3

Make no mistake about it,this was poor. How poor? Well in his post-match press conference, a furious Arsene Wenger declared, ” I did not recognise my team today.” Many had looked at this fixture and put it down as a definite home win, but second half goals from Peter Odemiwingie, Gonzalo Jara and former Gunner Jerome Thomas gave West Bromwich Albion a deserved 3-0 advantage, with more than 20 minutes still remaining.

Slim

Samir Nasri tried in vain to claw back a dramatic last gasp point for the Gunners, his two goals, on 75 minutes and then in injury time gave Arsenal slim hope, but it was not to be. Albion, yes Albion had crafted a deserved and historic win at the Emirates. A look Arsenal’s starting eleven and Wenger gave Abou Diaby a start, with Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky only on the bench.

Missing

In truth, Arsenal never got going in a dour first half, with Albion happy to press high up and to good effect. The traditional passing game was missing, with Emmanuel Eboue in particular unable to find any of his team-mates with any of early his passes. Albion had the impressive Youssouf Mulumbu and the heart of their midfield, and he kept both Alex Song and Diaby out of the picture.

Frustration

The question marks over the choice of goalkeeper has been a recurring theme at the Emirates, and we got to see the frustration that is Manuel Almunia either side of the break. With Odemwingie racing forward, Almunia brought him down in the area, and was shown a yellow card.Chris Brunt stepped up, but Almunia pulled off a smart save.

Squeezed

Albion took the lead after Thomas fed Odemwingie to side foot home five minutes after the break. Seven minutes later with the Gunners pushing forward, Jarra surged forward and let fly with a low shot that despite getting both hands to the ball, squeezed into Almunia’s goal at his near post. It was a poor effort by the Arsenal ‘keeper, and his afternoon got worse when Brunt rounded Almunia, found Thomas to score from close in. 3-0 to the Albion at that stage and Wenger looked shocked.

Solid defence

On came Carlos Vela, Wilshere and and Rosicky, but it was a cross from Bacary Sagna that let Nasri in. He skipped past his defender to shoot in with his left foot. There were still 15 minutes left at that stage, but every Arsenal attack was met with a solid defence. Nasri got his and Arsenal’s second after a pass from Andrey Arshavin, and the five minutes of added time gave Arsenal hope to get an unlikely point. Arshavin saw his shot saved by Scott Carson, and with their last chance, Rosicky fired over from Wilshere’s pass.

The result sent shockwaves around the Emirates, but Arsenal had a very poor afternoon, and on from which they must recover from, and quickly, if this side is to maximise its’ undoubted potential