Arsenal 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
Alexis 6, 38

Alexis Sanchez scored a first half double to sink West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates stadium on Thursday evening. In a game dominated by Arsenal and their pass and move game, the Gunners proved to be too good for the West Midlanders who only briefly threatened when Gareth McAuley had a header come back off the bar with the score at 1-0. Having given the Gunners the lead with a fierce low drive, Alexis struck a free kick through a gap in the Albion wall where seconds earlier Olivier Giroud and Per Mertersacker had stood to confuse the visitors. With all the guile of the great Brazilian Roberto Rivelino, Alexis found the gap and found the net with Albion ‘keeper Ben Foster rooted to the spot. The win sealed the Gunners 500th Premier League win, with only Manchester United having achieved that mammoth fete. Arsene Wenger was pleased with the latest win, the work of Alexis, and after another assured and positive game, the performance of the talented Alex Iwobi.

“ I believe we dominated from the start to the last minute, in fact what we did against Crystal Palace. Overall I believe the quality of our game was very good. Maybe, we could have scored more goals. That is the only thing you could say tonight. We didn’t concede and couldn’t finish the game off the way we wanted,” said Wenger.

On Iwobi’s night’s work, Wenger hailed his 19 year old midfielder who has scored two Premier League season.

“ He is improving game after game because he is just coming in. That is another positive from the season. He has shown quality game after game and he is surprising. His consistency is surprising, because he has only played youth football and suddenly he plays at that pace. I’m a bit cautious with him sometimes, but overall what he produces is a football player,” noted Wenger.

Empty seats at kick off at the Emirates stadium and those who elected to stay away, missed the continuing resurgence of Alexis. Voted into the PFA team of the year, Hector Bellerin started the move which led to Arsenal’s opener. Bellerin and Mohamed Elneny exchanged passes. The ball was fed out to Aaron Ramsey. His pass was perfect for Alexis, and under pressure from Sandro, the Chile striker managed to turn, keep his balance before firing in low from 20 yards out.

Arsenal had the dream start and should have doubled their lead moments later, but Mesut Ozil saw his shot blocked after good work from Iwobi and Nacho Monreal with the left sided cross.

Preferred in the midfield partnership alongside Elneny, Ramsey was seeing a lot of the ball. When the former Wales captain was tripped close the the Albion penalty area, up stepped Alexis to take the free free kick. Mertersacker and Giroud took up places along the Albion wall, only your vacate them as Alexis struck the ball. With a look of disbelief, Foster gawped as the ball flew into the gap in his wall and into his net for a 2-0 scoreline.

It was all Arsenal, and Emirates stadium regulars were left wondering where this kind of dominating performance had been of late. Now, Iwobi burst out to lay up Giroud, but Foster gathered his low shot

Iwobi was then caught by McManaman in the area, but fresh from his Walkers’ stadium controversies last Sunday, referee Jon Moss deemed it not a penalty. The same decision came when Elneny was felled by Yacob in the box moments later.

Iwobi Alexis and Ozil were then involved in move which the latter saw his shot blocked
with Ozil’s effort from a following move deflected for a corner.

That the scoreline remained at 2-0 was no mystery, as a combination of desperate defending and imprecise finishing cost the Gunners. Iwobi fired at Foster from Giroud’s cushioned chest back, then in a fine move, Ozil, Giroud, Ozil again Iwobi allowed Alexis to leave the final ball for Ramsey who fired over the bar

The visitors threatened when Petr Cech missed a corner, allowing Rondon an opportunity which the Venezuelan missed from close in.

A trio of substitutions as Iwobi made way for Coquelin, Ozil made way for Joel Campbell with Alexis making way for Theo Walcott. Almost immediately, Campbell flashed just wide following another incisive move, and Giroud struck a powerful shot which was blocked by Foster’s face after neat build up move.The Gunners finished strongly with Giroud shooting just wide from Campbell’s pass.

The title may be beyond his side for another season, but Wenger insisted that his team will continue until the end with their Sunday’s trip to the stadium of Light next up for Arsenal.

“ We want to finish as high as possible. You never know what happens in front of you. There can still be twists and turns but we want to win our games. We came out of West Ham and Crystal Palace thinking we had produced the quality and didn’t get the points. If you look at our last five games, we won at Everton, we won against Watford, we had two draws and we won today.

“ The regret we have is being in the lead against West Ham and being in the lead against Crystal Palace and not getting the points. I don’t know where we’ll finish but we have to give everything in every game. We go to Sunderland, Sunderland fight not to go down. That will be a battle and we have to prepare for that,” said Wenger.