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West Brom vs Arsenal match report: Santi Cazorla misses a penalty as Mikel Arteta own goal hands Baggies victory

West Bromwich Albion 2 Arsenal 1

Simon Hart
The Hawthorns
Saturday 21 November 2015 18:09 GMT
(2015 Getty Images)

The curse of Tony Pulis struck again for Arsenal yesterday. They arrived at the Hawthorns with five away wins in the Premier League this season. West Bromwich Albion, by contrast, had notched up one home victory. And yet Arsene Wenger’s men came unstuck, just as they did regularly at the Britannia Stadium when Pulis, the Baggies’ manager, was employed by Stoke City.

A late penalty miss by Santi Cazorla summed up the Gunners’ frustrations. The Spaniard lost his footing as he struck the ball and sent it looping high over the crossbar. Factor in Mikel Arteta’s first-half own goal, which ultimately decided the outcome, and this was an afternoon to forget for Arsenal, who would have ended the day as Premier League leaders had they won. Instead, beaten by opponents who had a single shot on target, Arsenal have now won just one match in five in all competitions.

A frustrated Wenger said: “It was a very bad afternoon for us. We had 70 per cent possession, we scored an own goal, we missed a penalty, we gave a goal away from a set-piece. That is [enough] to make the afternoon a nightmare. We missed open- goal chances too.” He went on to dismiss the suggestion that his French players were affected by the Paris terror attacks on an afternoon that began with the playing of La Marseillaise. Olivier Giroud had his head in his hands at that moment and later reacted to scoring the game’s opening goal by pointing to the heavens. “Yes it was emotional, but our defeat was not about Paris last week,” said Wenger. “When you are on the pitch, you are on the pitch.”

James Morrison celebrates scoring for West Brom against Arsenal (Reuters)

All looked to be going to plan for Arsenal when Giroud struck with a glancing header from Mesut Ozil’s free-kick in the 28th minute. But Albion’s own dead-ball threat brought an equaliser seven minutes later as James Morrison met Chris Brunt’s free-kick with with the outside of his right boot to send the ball soaring into the net.

James McClean was the architect of the winning goal, doing well to reach Jose Rondon’s overhit pass and fire in a cross from the byline that Arteta deflected into his own net at the near post. “We lost a bit of focus at 1-0,” added Wenger. “Thirty-five minutes we are 1-0 up. Forty-five we are 2-1 down. Our defending was very, very poor.” To compound Arsenal’s woes, they ended the day with two new names on their long injury list: Arteta went off with a recurrence of a calf problem.

Pulis, who has lost only one of his seven home matches against the Gunners with Stoke and Albion, admitted his players, for all their hard work, had ridden their luck. “There’ve been games here we’ve been disappointed we’ve lost. Today I thought Arsenal were very good especially in the second half when they ramped it up.”

This was not Arsenal at their fluid best but they still had their chances as they dominated the second period. Mesut Ozil shot against a post. Then Joel Campbell, a substitute for Kieran Gibbs, shot horridly wide when unmarked in the six-yard box. Sanchez, working tirelessly then looked certain to score but failed to take the final touch after controlling Hector Bellerin’s cross on the penalty spot.

At the other end, Jonas Olsson crashed a header against the crossbar – and though Arsenal were offered a lifeline when Brunt pulled Sanchez to the ground, Cazorla could not grab it.

Mikel Arteta concedes the foul which West Brom equalise from (2015 Getty Images)
James McClean celebrates with Solamon Rondon after Mikel Arteta's own goal (2015 Getty Images)

West Brom (4-1-4-1): Myhill; Dawson, Evans, Olsson, Brunt; Yacob; Sessegnon (Gardner 61), Fletcher, Morrison (Lambert 77), McClean; Rondon (Berahino 68).

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Cazorla, Coquelin (Arteta 15, replaced by Flamini 46); Sanchez, Ozil, Gibbs (Campbell 63); Giroud.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: McClean (West Brom)

Match rating: 6/10

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