Olivier Giroud’s late winner seals three points for Arsenal
Olivier Giroud headed a late winner as Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The result halted a run of two successive Premier League defeats for the Gunners.
It seemed that Arsenal would be denied the three points by Ben Foster.
The Baggies’ keeper was in inspired form, but also infuriated the home supporters with his time-wasting tactics.
Foster was eventually booked late in the match for time-wasting by referee Neil Swarbrick.
It was a token gesture from the referee as Foster had delayed taking every goal kick from the first few minutes of the match.
Many home supporters decided to give the match a miss, with thousands of empty red seats around the stadium.
Surprisingly Giroud was making his first league start of the season and his looping header in the 86th minute sealed the win..
He was set up by a Mesut Ozil, but still had plenty to do to beat Foster.
Arsenal deserved the win and it would have been by a bigger margin, except for a string of saves from Foster. The keeper signed a new contract with West Brom this week and looked set to celebrate with a clean sheet.
The Gunners had 76% of possession in the match, but spent most of the first-half trying to play the ball through the eye of a needle against a packed Baggies’ defence.
Arsenal had only one shot on target in the first-half, from Sanchez saved by Foster, as they strived to break down a resolute West Brom defence.
The Gunners upped the tempo in the second half and started creating more clear-cut chances.
Foster made a double save from an Alex Iwobi shot and blocked the rebound at the feet of Alexis Sanchez.
He also tipped over a goal bound shot from Sanchez over the crossbar.
The Baggies almost snatched an unlikely lead, with Claudio Yacob, shooting high over the bar after Petr Cech dropped a corner.
Sanchez seemed set to score when he ran across the six-yard box, only to see his shot hit the outside of the post.
Giroud then just failed to get a touch on the ball from a cross from substitute Nacho Monreal. The ball then ran harmlessly across the six yard line and out for a goal kick.
But Giroud was to have the final and decisive say in the match with his headed winner.
Arsenal remain in fourth place in the Premier League table.
The Gunners are nine points behind leaders Chelsea, who beat Bournemouth 3-0 this afternoon at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City moved into second place in the table, with their 3-0 win over Hull City at the KCOM Stadium this evening.
Liverpool will regain second place in the table, with a win over Stoke City at Anfield tomorrow night.
Arsenal: Cech 6, Bellerin 7, Koscielny, 7, Gabriel 7, Gibbs 6 (Monreal), Xhaka 7, Coquelin 6 (Ramsey), Iwobi 8 (Perez), Ozil 6, Sanchez 7, Giroud 6