Apr 6, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​The Hawthorns
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
1-2
Arsenal
Morrison (71' pen.)
Jones (78'), Ridgewell (86')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Rosicky (20', 50')
Ramsey (26'), Rosicky (37'), Koscielny (65'), Arteta (83')
Mertesacker (70')

Live Commentary: West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Arsenal - as it happened

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger before the match against Bayern Munich on March 13, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of the Premier League clash between West Brom and Arsenal as the Gunners look to move into the top four.

Arsenal moved back into the top four of the Premier League courtesy of a narrow 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion this afternoon.

Thomas Rosicky scored either side of half time to put the Gunners 2-0 up and seemingly heading for a comfortable win.

However, Per Mertesacker brought Shane Long down inside the box 20 minutes from time and was sent off for the challenge.

James Morrison scored the resulting penalty but, despite some heavy late pressure from West Brom, Arsenal held out for three valuable points.

You can read how a thoroughly entertaining 90 minutes of football unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.


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2pmGood afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for today's match between West Brom and Arsenal. It is a particularly important match for the visitors today, so hopefully we will see an open, entertaining game of football!

2.02pmIf either team needs an incentive to win this one, Arsenal definitely have the greater one. I'll look at exactly what three points would mean for the Gunners in a bit, but let's start by looking at the hosts today.

2.04pmThings were going so well for Steve Clarke's side earlier this season. They began superbly and surprised everyone by keeping that form up for much longer than expected. They were even touted as possible candidates for a top-four spot at one point! However, a poor run of eight matches without a win at the start of 2013 scuppered any plans of European football, and their most realistic target now is seventh place.

2.06pmSince that eight-match winless streak, West Brom's fortunes have improved, but they are still struggling to find consistency. They have won three, lost two and drawn one of their last six matches, which should be enough top secure a top-half finish for them this season.

2.08pmA win would not change their league position today, however. They are currently four points behind seventh-placed Liverpool and four ahead of ninth-placed Swansea so, whatever happens today, they will still be eighth at the end of play.

2.10pmArsenal, meanwhile, have a lot more to gain with a win today. Their recent revival has thrust them right into the race for a Champions League qualifying spot, and if they can beat West Brom this afternoon then they would move above Chelsea into fourth.

2.12pmThat win would also put them within one point of North London rivals Tottenham, who currently sit third. Neither Chelsea nor Spurs are in action today, but they will have a chance to restore their respective leads over Arsenal tomorrow when they play. However, Arsene Wenger will see this as a big chance to put the pressure on their rivals.

2.14pmAs far as recent form goes, Arsenal's is exemplary. Only Manchester United have taken more points in their last six games than Arsenal, and that applies to all four of the top divisions in England. The only blemish on their recent record is the 2-1 loss to Spurs at the start of last month and, although that is a significant black mark, they have regained that ground over their local rivals in recent weeks.

2.16pmOverall, they have only lost one of their past eight league matches and, even more impressively, they have won six of those. They have only dropped points against Liverpool and Tottenham in that time.


2.18pmTEAM NEWS: Right, the team news for both sides is in, and the most notable exclusion from the home side's point of view is Romelu Lukaku. Steve Clarke has opted for Long ahead of the powerful striker. Meanwhile, Arsenal have again left Vermaelen, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski on the bench as Wenger continues with Gervinho and Giroud up front for the Gunners. Full team news coming right up...

2.20pmWEST BROM STARTING XI: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Brunt; Dorrans, Morrison, Thomas; Long

2.22pmWEST BROM SUBS: Myhill, Lukaku, Popov, Brown, Rosenberg, Fortune, Tamas

2.23pmARSENAL STARTING XI: Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky; Cazorla, Gervinho, Giroud

2.24pmARSENAL SUBS: Mannone, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski

2.26pmSo, what can we make of those starting lineups? Well, as far as West Brom are concerned, I'm surprised that Lukaku has been left on the bench. Perhaps Clarke thinks that Long's pace and agility will prove more of a problem for the likes of Per Mertesacker, but I still think that Lukaku's raw pace and power is West Brom's most potent attacking threat.

2.28pmArsenal, meanwhile, have named an unchanged lineup from their 4-1 win over Reading, and Wenger had no reason to change it. They absolutely dominated the Royals and even the likes of Gervinho, Ramsey and Giroud, who have been criticised for their performances at times this season, looked in good form.

2.30pmI fully understand Wenger's decision, but I still think his best XI, with the players he has fit at the moment, must include Lukas Podolski ahead of Gervinho. Oxlade-Chamberlain could also make a case for one of the wide roles, while Vermaelen is still a high quality defender, even if he hasn't been at his best this season. No player should have a guaranteed place in the side regardless of form, but it is still odd to leave your captain on the bench for a prolonged period of time.

2.32pmThe most important men for Arsenal will be Cazorla and Rosicky. Cazorla in particular controlled the game when the Gunners thrashed Reading, and Rosicky was also assured in possession and helped run the midfield area. The Czech has had a troubled time at Arsenal with his injuries and a loss of form, but when he is at his best he is a joy to watch.

2.34pmAs would be expected by a side chasing a top-four spot, Arsenal have more quality throughout their side today. They also have more quality on the bench, but The Hawthorns is a tough place to come so West Brom will have a significant home advantage in their favour.


2.36pmSo, Arsenal have form and quality in their advantage while the Baggies are at home, but who edges the historical records in this fixture?

2.38pmWell, in terms of recent history, it is Arsenal. The Gunners have won the last three meetings between these two sides and have only lost one of the last 10.

2.40pmThe last time that West Brom won against Arsene Wenger's side was in 2010, when Peter Odemwingie, Gonzalo Jara and Jermoe Thomas put the Baggies 3-0 up before a Samir Nasri brace made the final scoreline a more respectable 3-2.

2.42pmThe most recent meeting between these two came in December of last year and saw Arsenal triumph 2-0 courtesy of a Mikel Arteta brace, both of which came from the penalty spot.

2.44pmOverall, these two teams have met each other 117 times, with Arsenal winning 59 and West Brom 31.

2.46pmSome more positive news for West Brom fans is that their home record has been pretty good this season. They have picked up 29 points from 15 matches at the Hawthorns so far this season, a tally that is the sixth-best in the whole division.

2.48pmHowever, Arsenal also have a good record away from home this campaign. Their tally of 23 points from 15 games is the fifth best in the league, with only the top four having picked up more points on their travels.

2.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff, which can mean only one thing - it's prediction time! West Brom are strong at home but Arsenal have it all to play for and are in very good form. I can see this being a very tight game, certainly not a repeat of Arsenal's 4-1 win over Reading, but I still think that the Gunners might come out on top. I'll go for 2-1 to the visitors.

2.52pmThis isn't the only match in the Premier League today, remember. There is something of a depleted schedule this Saturday, but there are still two more matches being played. Norwich take on Swansea while Stoke face Aston Villa. I will keep you updated as any goals go in in those matches.

2.54pmElsewhere, there has already been one result in the Premier League this afternoon, and what an important one it could prove to be. Southampton have beaten Reading 2-0, surely putting the final nail into the coffin of the Royals in the league.


2.57pmThat is a huge result at the bottom of the table, but all eyes are on the top four here at The Hawthorns as Arsenal look to break into it.

3pmRight, the players are lined up and we're about ready to go here!

0 minKICKOFF: Here we go! West Brom make a bright start as Thomas looks to put an early cross in, but it is blocked.

2 minYacob is very tight on Rosicky as Arsenal look to come forward. He is too tight for the referee's liking, and a free kick is awarded to the Gunners about 10 yards into the Baggies' half.

3 minArsenal work a bit of space for Sagna to exploit down the right, but the full-back's cross is poor, falling at the feet of the first man.

5 minThe Gunners have settled into an early rhythm here, and West Brom will have to do their best to try to break that up. Arsenal did a similar thing against Reading last week and dominated the whole game.

5 minAgain Sagna has time and space to cross on the right, but again his cross is poor. He has been criticised for his delivery in the past, and it is really something he should work on with the likes of Giroud in the box.

7 minSHOT! The first shot of the game comes from Rosicky, but it is one to forget. A nice move sees Giroud with the ball on the edge of the area, but his pass towards Cazorla is cut about by the toe of Yacob. It falls to Rosicky who snatches at it first time and sends it well wide. He had time to take a touch then.

9 minUPDATE: News of a potentially HUGE goal at the Britannia as Aston Villa have taken the lead against Stoke through Gabriel Agbonlahor. The relegation battle takes another twist!

11 minArsenal fail to clear a corner into the box and McAuley just lifts it back into the danger area. There is a lack of communication between Koscielny and the keeper and the defender heads it behind for another corner.


12 minOFF THE LINE! West Brom come so close to taking the lead! The corner is met by Yacob at the near post and he glances a header towards the far post, only to see it cleared off the line by Rosicky. The ball is pumped back into the box and Fabianski completely misses it, but Yacob can't hook it in with his back to goal.

14 minThe Baggies have done well to stem Arsenal's rhythm in the opening 15 minutes and have come closest to opening the scoring. Positive start from Steve Clarke's side.

15 minLong hangs out wide looking to cross it in, but his ball takes a nick off Monreal on the way through. It threatens to creep in at the near post, but Fabianski deals with it comfortably.

16 minSHOT! Long's inclusion ahead of Lukaku raised a few eyebrows, but he is looking to justify the decision. He cuts inside from the right and looks to beat Fabianski at his near post, but can only drag his shot harmlessly wide.

18 minArteta tries to thread a ball into Rosicky, who is playing in a free role and has ghosted into the area between the defence and midfield, but Arteta's pass is far too heavy nad goes out for a goal kick.

19 minGOAL! West Brom 0-1 Arsenal (Thomas Rosicky)

20 minFine play from Gervinho to set up that goal! Arteta sends a long ball over the top and the Ivorian shows good pace to reach the ball before turning McAuley inside out inside the box and going for goal. His shot looks to be heading towards the far post, but Rosicky sticks his head out and nods it in at the near post instead.

22 minMorrison looks to release Long but Monreal sticks with the striker all the way and shows good strength to shrug off the challenge. The ball comes right back at Arsenal and Rosikcy brings Long down on the edge of the box. Free kick in a good position to West Brom...

24 minSAVE! I'm not sure that is what Brunt meant but it worked well enough. He strikes the ball along the floor and the wall jump right over it, but Fabianski gets down well to hold on to it.

25 minYELLOW CARD! Aaron Ramsey becomes the first man in Howard Webb's notebook for a mis-timed sliding tackle on Thomas. Correct decision from Webb there, that was a poor challenge.


27 minThe Baggies have responded well to going behind and are playing some positive football. It has been an even match so far but Arsenal have used their possession better than West Borm have.

28 minSAVE! More good play by Gervinho as he attacks Liam Ridgewell inside the box. He pulls off a couple of step overs before getting a yard on the right and firing a low shot across goal. Foster gets a good foot to it to keep it out, and eventually Ramsey goes for goal from range but Foster gets everything behind it to make another save.

30 minOlsson loses out to Giroud in a strength battle and pulls the striker back as he looks to race on. The Frenchman only had McAuley to beat and he would've been through on goal.

32 minThomas clips a good ball into a dangerous area in the box. It goes over the head of Brunt and is cleared away just in front of Long at the back post, but it is more positive play by West Brom. They look very capable of scoring today.

33 minPENALTY SHOUT! McAuley nods a long ball down to Yacob, who goes down in a heap under the challenge of Koscielny. It is hard to tell whether the Arsenal man got the ball first and then the man, but West Brom want a penalty! I've seen them given, but it would've been a borderline decision.

35 minYELLOW CARD! The ball gets away from Rosiky and he lunges into a tackle to try to get it back. He catches his man late, however, and is duly booked by Howard Webb.

37 minBrunt slams the free kick straight into the middle of the wall. That ball was travelling at some speed but the wall did their job very well.

38 minGervinho draws plenty of stick from the home fans for going down under the slightest of touches and only when he realises that the ball has gone. Howard Webb correctly tells him to get to his feet.

40 minUPDATE: There have been goals at Carrow Road and it is now 1-1 between Norwich and Swansea. Michu scored for Swansea, while Snodgrass has just equalised for the hosts.

41 minMeanwhile, back at the Hawthorns, Morrison goes for an ambitious half volley from the edge of the box and skews it high and wide. We've seen him score from there before!


41 minI've just seen another replay of that West Brom penalty shout and, let me tell you, Koscielny is a lucky man! He got none of the ball and made contact with Yacob.

42 minCHANCE! That is Arsenal at their brilliant best...until the finish. A lovely move sees Giroud lay the ball off to Cazorla, who threads a fine pass into the box for the French striker. He holds off his man before backheeling it to Ramsey who somehow misses the target from about six yards out. What a chance, it really should be 2-0. Great football, but I'm not sure how Ramsey missed.

44 minBrunt swings a dangerous corner into the area and Fabianski just gets an unconvincing hand to it. He is lucky it falls to an Arsenal man. He has looked dodgy under the high ball at times today and you can see why he has the rather unflattering nickname of 'Flappy-hand-ski'.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time at a sunny Hawthorns.

45+1 minHALF TIME: West Brom 0-1 Arsenal

3.48pmHoward Webbs brings an end to an entertaining half of football that has seen Arsenal take a slender lead into the break. The goal came from Thomas Rosicky, who poked his head out to divert a Gervinho shot into the bottom corner.

3.50pmIn terms of territory, the match has been very even. 33% of play has been in the Arsenal third, 33% has been in the West Brom third and the remaining 34% has been in the middle third! It doesn't get more even than that.

3.52pmWest Brom are perhaps a little unfortunate to go in behind considering how even it has been for much of the match, but they may also be counting their blessings that they are just 1-0 down. Aaron Ramsey missed a glorious opportunity to double his side's lead after a trademark Arsenal passing move, and it was a sitter that the midfielder will be keen to forget in a hurry.

3.54pmWest Brom have had chances of their own, however. They came close to opening the scoring fairly early on when Yacob met a corner at the near post, but saw his header cleared off the line by Rosicky. That is the closest that the Baggies have come, but their overall play has been pretty good and Steve Clarke will be confident of his side finding a goal in the second half, I'm sure.

3.56pmI suspect that it won't be long before we see Lukaku. Whether he will come on for Long or to join Long remains to be seen, but they could really do with his strength and power up front. Long has been isolated at times today, and Lukaku is the type of player who can support him or, if left up front on his own, can hold the ball up until support arrives.


3.58pmFabianski has looked uneasy under the high ball at times today, so the introduction of a player of Lukaku's physical presence will only serve to make life even more difficult for him.

4pmUntil Lukaku comes on, though, I suspect that Clarke will want more of the same from his side. They have matched Arsenal for large periods of the game and have proved to be capable of threatening the Arsenal goal.

4.02pmRight, the players are back out and we're about to start again at the Hawthorns.

45 minKICKOFF! We're back underway. Can West Brom get an equaliser or will the Gunners make things more comfortable for themselves.

47 minCHANCE! Gervinho races towards the defence as Arsenal break away quickly. The Ivorian lays the ball off to Sagna, who is steaming up on his right, but the full-back is forced to slide into his shot and Foster is out quickly to deny him with his feet.

49 minGOAL! West Brom 0-2 Arsenal (Thomas Rosicky)

50 minRosicky strikes again! Ramsey clips the ball inside to the Czech midfielder, who takes a fine first touch before unleashing a vicious volley goalwards. Foster makes a good first save but can't do anything about the ball falling at the feet of Rosicky, who slams the ball into the bottom corner on the rebound.

52 minOlsson goes down under the challenge of Giroud, but he is clutching his hamstring which suggests that it wasn't the striker who did the damage. He looks like he'll be able to continue, but he isn't moving too freely.

54 minThat goal seems to have taken the sting out of West Brom. They look a lot less positive than they were at 1-0. I think it's time for Lukaku soon.

56 minHaving said that, West Brom have just put together a long string of passes and now have a corner. The ball comes in but Fabianski comes a long way to punch clear, leaving McAuley in a heap on the floor.


58 minThe West Brom man was clattered there and has a big lump underneath his eye now as he trudges off the field after treatment. It does look like he'll be able to continue, though.

59 minSHOT! More nice football from Arsenal there. Cazorla plays it to Rosicky, who lifts the return pass over a defender to the Spaniard. It sits up so invitingly for Cazorla, who lets fly on the volley from range, but his effort goes well over the bar.

61 minPENALTY SHOUT! A long ball upfield finds Long behind the defence and he lays it off to Morrison on the edge of the box. Morrison shows great feet to turn Mertesacker inside out in the box, but the German falls onto the ball! West Brom want a penalty, but it looks like obstruction if anything. Howard Webb gives nothing, however.

63 minWEST BROM SUBS: Here comes Lukaku, at last. He replaces Graham Dorrans for the Baggies, who also welcome Markus Rosenberg in for Jerome Thomas.

65 minYELLOW CARD! Koscielny enters the book as Mertesacker sells him short with a pass. Long steals in ahead of the defender, who brings him down when the West Brom striker was pretty much through on goal. Definite yellow, but probably not bad enough for a red as he wasn't the last man.

66 minSHOT! Lukaku lines up the free kick and guides it over the wall but it lacks the power to beat Fabianski, who gets down well to keep it out.

67 minSAVE! The Baggies are starting to pile the pressure on now! A long ball down the left lets Brunt in inside the box. He is at a very tight angle, but tries to squeeze it in at the near post. Fabianski is equal to it, however, and the resulting corner comes to nothing.

69 minPENALTY TO WEST BROM!

70 minRED CARD! Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)

70 minGOAL! West Brom 1-2 Arsenal (James Morrison)


71 minIt's not the best penalty by any means, but James Morrison won't care one bit. A long ball over the top is chested down expertly by Long, who is through on goal. Mertesacker lunges in and gets nowhere near the ball, bringing Long down in the process. Howard Webb has no choice but to award a penalty and a red card, which Morrison slams down the middle. This has changed everything, it's really game on now!

73 minARSENAL SUB: Wenger immediately responds to that red card, and rightly so. Gervinho is the man sacrificed as Vermaelen comes on to bolster the now-depleted defence.

75 minMorrison spreads a searching ball wide to Ridgewell down the left. He proceeds to look for Lukaku in the box, and the powerful striker shows exactly why he is such a presence by rising highest, only to head his effort over.

77 minYELLOW CARD! Jones becomes the first West Brom man to go into the book.

79 minCHANCE! Half the ground thought it was in! I though it was in! A corner goes to the back post and McAuley comes up with a towering header that flies just past the post. The Baggies are getting closer here!

81 minARSENAL SUB: Two-goal Thomas Rosicky is the latest man to make way for more defensive changes for the Gunners. He is replaced by Kieran Gibbs.

82 minYELLOW CARD! Jones powers past Arteta into the Arsenal half but the midfielder just hangs out a leg to bring the West Brom man down. Another yellow for the Gunners, whose indiscipline is growing.

83 minCHANCE! Big chance for West Brom to get the equaliser! A cross comes into the box and Arsenal fail to get it clear as it falls to Lukaku unmarked at the back post. He tries to curl it into the bottom corner, but his effort flies just past the post with Fabianski rooted to the spot. It's all West Brom at the moment.

85 minUPDATE: There have been more goals at Carrow Road as both Norwich and Swansea have scored again! It is now 2-2 there, while Stoke have equalised against Villa - a potentially massive goal in the relegation battle....but Villa have just got another! Apparently it was a screamer from Lowton! It's 2-1 to Villa now.

87 minHalf chance for the Baggies as the ball is nodded down by Jones towards Rosenberg in the box, but Fabianski is out bravely to smother it.


88 minCHANCE! Another big chance for the Baggies! Lukaku slips a clever reverse pass to Ridgewell, who feeds Long inside the box. He takes a brillaint first touch but fires his effort over the bar. He should have at least made the keeper work there.

89 minARSENAL SUB: Arsene Wenger makes his final change of the day as Coquelin replaces Cazorla.

90 minThe fans respond kindly to the news of stoppage time, we will have five minutes!

90+1 minLong completely misses the ball with a volley with the sun in his eyes before laying it back to Yacob, but his effort goes high and wide. Time is running out for West Brom.

90+3 minGiroud is down clutching his ankle and he stays down as West Brom come on the attack. They're not going to kick it out but eventually Howard Webb blows so he can get treatment.

90+5 minSHOT! A long ball upfield finds Giroud on the edge of the box and he holds a man off before spinning and sending a low strike fizzing just past the post. That will do for Arsenal right about now.

90+6 minFULL TIME: West Brom 1-2 Arsenal

4.56pmThe referee brings an end to a very tense second half for Arsenal. The Gunners looked comfortable at 2-0 up but Mertesacker's red card changed everything and suddenly the Baggies were piling the pressure on. In the end, Arsenal were somewhat fortunate to come away with all three points.

4.58pmWhat a huge three points it is for the Gunners too. They move into the top four, going above Chelsea who don't play until tomorrow. They are also one point away from Spurs, who also play tomorrow. It was a close one today, but Wenger's side have really put the pressure on their Champions League rivals with the win.

5pmRight, that's it from me today. Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what was an action-packed and thrilling 90 minutes of football. The Gunners were reduced to 10 men but still held out to win 2-1, moving up to fourth in the table in the process. Thomas Rosicky scored twice to put his side 2-0 up but a James Morrison penalty made it a very tense finish for the visitors. I will leave you with Liam Apicella's match report, and be sure to stick around for match analysis, which will be on site within half an hour. Goodbye!

West Brom boss Steve Clarke looking pleased after his side go 2-0 up on November 24, 2012
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