West Bromwich Albion 1 Arsenal 1
Rodriguez pen 89, McClean og 83

What is it about closing out games that Arsenal don’t get? So, maybe this time there were rightly extenuating circumstances for why the Gunners couldn’t see out Alexis Sanchez’s free kick which went in off James McCLean after 83 minutes. Do we read too much into having to hang on for seven minutes plus time added on, or is it really that difficult ? Whatever the case, referee Mike Dean’s controversial penalty award when Kieran Gibbs saw his attempted cross catch the arm of Calum Chambers was one of the poorest decisions he will ever make. Closest player Gibbs didn’t even appeal for the spot kick, but nevertheless Dean pointed to the spot and Jay Rodriguez smashed in the late leveller to ruin Arsene Wenger’s record 811 games in charge as well as Petr Cech’s search for his 200th clean sheet.

” I think the referee has not even seen it. He has not seen it,” said a frustrated Wenger who has already sighted what he feels is the poor standard of refereeing in today’s game.

” I’m angry because we have seen the same things again and again and I said down there that we have fought very hard for the referees to become professional many years ago with David Dein and we did a good job to allow them to become professional and I see no improvement.

“At the end of the day there are two countries in Europe where there are professional referees, in Italy and in England, but not one English referee will go to the World Cup, but everything is alright. We cannot say a word against because they are untouchable, it is the case and the truth as well, it is a reason for it. It’s not only me who judges them,” continued Wenger.

The final Premier League game of 2017 was for the most part a largely forgettable affair. Mesut Ozil hadn’t made the trip up the M40 and Alex Iwobi started. The Nigerian had two good chances to open the scoring. From Alexis’s pass, he aimed for Foster’s near post when there was a gaping void at the other end. Then, moments later he made Foster work to keep out his effort. Albion sat deep and in numbers to frustrate the Gunners and it worked in a largely dour first half where the home side rarely threatened.

Alexandre Lacazette was once again ploughing a lonely furrow up front. Against the likes of Ahmed Hegazi, aerial balls were never going to work. The France striker did however create with a neat give and go with Iwobi which took him clear but from a narrowing angle saw Foster block with his legs. Again Lacazette could have netted when he reacted as Foster came out, only to see his slightest of touch trickle past the upright.

Arsenal’s reward came when Alexis won the free kick which he stepped up to take. McClean was a late addition to the Albion wall and had the last touch as Foster was finally beaten. Alexis was shown much love in the celebration, but with time running out, the three points were snatched away from the Gunners with Dean’s poor penalty decision which Rodriguez struck and honours finished even.

Wenger was still unhappy with not only the decision but the scheduling of Premier League games and the in between recovery times or otherwise.

” There are two things that are not normal in the Premier League, the schedule and the referees. Maybe we haven’t played well enough, that is down for you to judge, but with those two things you cannot have West Brom with five days to prepare while we have three. I am ready to play every day as long as our opponent has had the same recovery time over Christmas, it’s not normal. We have the same problem against Chelsea, they played yesterday, we played today. They have one day more.”

Arsenal are next up against Chelsea at the Emirates on Wednesday and that should provide a good opportunity to continue their five game unbeaten run.