Premier League
Arsenal1West Brom0

Arsenal 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

Olivier Giroud scores his fourth top flight goal of the season with his effort against West Brom
Giroud scored his fourth top flight goal of the season with his effort against West Brom

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud headed a late winner as the Gunners ended a run of two Premier League defeats with victory over a stubborn West Brom to climb back to third.

Giroud was making his first league start of the season and looped in an 86th minute header from a Mesut Ozil cross for his goal.

Until that moment the Gunners had enjoyed nearly 80% possession, but had struggled to find a way past inspired Baggies keeper Ben Foster.

He pulled off a number of key stops, including a double save when he parried an Alex Iwobi shot and blocked the rebound at the feet of Alexis Sanchez.

The 33-year-old former England keeper also tipped over a fizzing shot from Sanchez before West Brom nearly snatched a goal, with Claudio Yacob skying his shot over the bar after Arsenal keeper Petr Cech dropped a corner.

But Giroud finally broke the deadlock to keep Arsenal nine points behind leaders Chelsea, who beat Bournemouth.

Relive Arsenal v West Brom

Follow reaction to Saturday's games

Arsenal patience pays off

Arsenal had buckled in defeats by Everton and Manchester City in their previous two games and the focus was on how they would respond against one of the more resolute teams to beat in the top flight.

It seemed like they were still feeling the impact of those losses as they had just one shot on target in the first half, but they managed 10 after the break as they increased their intensity and urgency.

Sanchez was their main threat as the Chile forward tried to drag the Gunners single-handedly to three points but, like his team, he found himself being continually frustrated.

Sanchez seemed set to score when he evaded a number of defenders in a run across the six-yard box only to strike his shot against the post, before Arsenal's persistence was eventually rewarded through Giroud.

"It has been a big relief," said the France striker. "We pushed to the end, kept believing in our game.

"We were very strong altogether and showed a good strong mentality. It was very important to win. We have shown a big mental strength."

Ben Foster made 10 saves (red) against Arsenal
Ben Foster made 10 saves (red) against Arsenal

Baggies suffer late heartache again

West Brom keeper Foster said the defeat was "tough to take" for the Baggies as they were again undone by a late goal, having been beaten in their last away game at Chelsea by a 76th minute strike.

Arsenal's goal came even later, when the visitors were in sight of securing a point to show for their disciplined and determined defending.

Foster, who signed a new deal with the club just before Christmas, can feel the most hard done by as he made 10 saves but still ended up on the losing side.

"It is disappointing to lose any game, but to keep Arsenal at bay for so long and then lose with a few minutes left it is horrible," said Foster.

"You know you're going to come here and, as a keeper, you're going to to be busy. The lads in front of me were brilliant. But fair play to Olivier Giroud - it was a great header and a great goal."

Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez hits the post with a shot for Arsenal against West Brom
Alexis Sanchez had nine shots in the game, including one which hit the post

What they said

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Win was not easy mentally - Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "In the end we had to be patient against a well organised West Brom side.

"We knew we had to win today after two disappointing defeats."

Wenger on Giroud: "It has been an interesting period for the player and it is important to see how he copes. It was a good reaction from him."

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Defeat hard to take - Pulis

West Brom manager Tony Pulis: "It is hard to take. The players worked so hard. Arsenal are a good team and had lots of chances but to concede so late is disappointing.

"Olivier Giroud just outmuscled Gareth McAuley out of the way.

"Gareth said Giroud grabbed his shirt before the ball came over - I'm not sure if he did."

Ozil the provider - the key stats

  • Olivier Giroud has scored seven goals in his past five starts for Arsenal in all competitions.
  • Arsenal had 23 more shots than West Brom today (26-3), their highest such margin in a Premier League match this season.
  • Mesut Ozil made his 100th Premier League appearance, and provided his 36th assist in the competition - only Eric Cantona had provided more after 100 games in the division (39).
  • The Gunners kept their first clean sheet in nine Premier League games, since a goalless draw with Middlesbrough in October.
  • Tony Pulis has lost all nine of his Premier League visits to the Emirates Stadium as manager, with his sides scoring just three goals in that run.

What next?

The festive fixture programme sees West Brom travel to Southampton on New Year's Eve for a 15:00 kick-off in their next game, while Arsenal play a day later when they host Crystal Palace at 16:00 GMT.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 5Gabriel
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3GibbsBooked at 65minsSubstituted forMonrealat 71'minutes
  • 34CoquelinSubstituted forRamseyat 74'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 29Xhaka
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forPérezat 71'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 7Sánchez
  • 12GiroudBooked at 42mins

Substitutes

  • 8Ramsey
  • 9Pérez
  • 13Ospina
  • 16Holding
  • 18Monreal
  • 31Reine-Adelaide
  • 35El Neny

West Brom

  • 1FosterBooked at 83mins
  • 25Dawson
  • 23McAuley
  • 6Evans
  • 2Nyom
  • 5Yacob
  • 24Fletcher
  • 11Brunt
  • 22ChadliSubstituted forMcCleanat 62'minutes
  • 10Phillips
  • 9RondónSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Olsson
  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 7Morrison
  • 8Gardner
  • 13Myhill
  • 14McClean
  • 20Galloway
Referee:
Neil Swarbrick
Attendance:
59,925

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home26
Away3
Shots on Target
Home11
Away1
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucas Pérez.

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James McClean (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt saved. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a headed pass.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion).

Booking

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 1, West Bromwich Albion 0. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. James McClean tries a through ball, but Hal Robson-Kanu is caught offside.

Booking

Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lucas Pérez with a cross.

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal).

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Salomón Rondón.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey replaces Francis Coquelin.

Delay in match Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Lucas Pérez replaces Alex Iwobi.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Nacho Monreal replaces Kieran Gibbs because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is too high following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Olivier Giroud.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Francis Coquelin.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Booking

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Delay in match Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) because of an injury.

Foul by Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal).

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James McClean replaces Nacer Chadli.

Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Attempt saved. Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) header from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea18151238112746
2Man City18123339201939
3Liverpool17114241202137
4Arsenal18114339192037
5Tottenham1796229121733
6Man Utd189632718933
7Everton187562321226
8Southampton176651716124
9West Brom186572322123
10Watford186482230-822
11West Ham186482332-922
12Stoke175661924-521
13Bournemouth186392331-821
14Burnley1862101728-1120
15Middlesbrough184681620-418
16Leicester184592331-817
17Crystal Palace1844102933-416
18Sunderland1842121631-1514
19Swansea1833122141-2012
20Hull1833121439-2512
View full Premier League table

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