Arsenal 3 West Bromwich Albion 0

Arsenal cruised into a comfortable win over West Bromwich Albion with goals from Robin Van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta’s first Emirates strike all proving to be too much for their Midlands’ visitors. After the Gunners first goal, the game effectively ceased to be a contest as Albion stuttered along barely troubling Wojciech Szczesny’s goal until the last few minutes of the game. By that time the visitors were already three goals in arrears as with this win, Arsenal saw there own goal difference column register in the positive column for the first time this season. Van Persie’s rich vein of form continues. He has now netted eight times in his last seven games, and deservedly picked up the Barclays player of the month yesterday.

Nuisance

Much has been made of the Gunners defence, but things seem to be picking up just nicely in that department just now. Arsene Wenger now has Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertersacker and Johan Djourou all fit and available, and against the Baggies he elected to drop the latter two to the substitute’s bench. The opening exchanges saw Arsenal enjoy the majority of the possession as Albion preferred to soak up the pressure and then try to counter-attack. It would be ploy that would cost them dearly. Midway through the half and with their first meaningful foray forward, Arsenal took the lead.Theo Walcott was being his nuisance self for the Albion defence. He was put in with Aaron Ramsey’s well found pass, and as Walcott created a shot which came back off Ben Foster’s save, Van Persie was on hand to tap into the empty net.

Doubled advantage

Alongside Walcott down the right, Carl Jenkinson was getting in advanced positions, with good crosses that posed further questions of the Albion defence. Six minutes before the break, the Gunners doubled their advantage. Alex Song enjoyed another robust muscular game, and when his pass was cut back by Van Persie, Vermaelen was hand to register his first goal of a season, and after his injury ravaged start to this campaign, the smile and celebration from the Belgian said it all.

Instinctive Arteta

The second half followed a familiar pattern and Vermaelen’s free header from Van Persie’s corner fell just the wrong side of Foster’s upright. Van Persie then hit high from Walcott’s pass with Alex Song and Ramsey also going close. The pressure continued to build and the Arsenal third duly arrived on 74 minutes. A neat patient build up with crisp passing saw Van Persie pull the ball back for Arteta whose instinctive low drive from 15 yards out found the bottom right hand corner of Foster’s net. Belatedly, Albion decided to respond. Steven Reid and James Morrison saw chances that Szczesny repelled and you wondered what the scoreline would have been had Arsenal changed up through the gears. To coin a Wenger saying,” the handbrake was on, ” and with a further three points continuing to strengthen the Gunners for their fourth consecutive Premiership victory, their ambitions remain on track and may still surprise a few people come the end of the season.