West Bromwich Albion increased the pressure on under-fire Arsene Wenger with a emphatic 3-1 victory over Arsenal in their Premiership encounter at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
- West Brom 3 Arsenal 1
- Dawson heads opener
- Sanchez restores parity
- Cech injured, replaced by Ospina
- Robson Kanu puts Baggies ahead
- Dawson bags his brace with bullet header
Craig Dawson opened the scoring with from a routine West Brom corner-kick in the 12th minute, before Alexis Sanchez equalised three minutes later.
Second-half substitute Hal-Robson Kanu put the Baggies ahead with his first touch of the game in the 55th minute and Dawson made the points safe 20 minutes later with an identical goal to his first half opener.
The build-up to the fixture saw Arsenal fans divided as two aircrafts hovered over the Hawthorns with one stating, 'No contract, Wenger out. While the other said, 'In Wenger we trust.'
However, after the 90 minutes, even the most faithful of the Wenger brigade would have been doubting the suitability of the Frenchman in his role as the Gunners boss.
Craig Dawson opened the scoring after 12 minutes, despite Arsenal holding most of the possession. In a typical Tony Pulis fashion, his side dominated at set-pieces and it was a comical scene as Dawson rose free above Laurent Koscielny, to glance a header past Petr Cech and into the far corner of the net.
Alexis Sanchez, Gunners leading scorer this campaign, grabbed his 18th of the season, three minutes later – to go joint top of the charts with Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku.
Granit Xhaka's neatly lofted pass found the Chile international in acres of space in the area, with Nacer Chadli not following him – and the diminutive forward showed his composure with a finish into the roof of Ben Foster's net.
Before the end of the half first-choice stopper Petr Cech had to be replaced with a calf injury and his replacement David Ospina endured a torrid time in the second-half.
Despite Arsenal looking relatively comfortable for large spells, second half substitute Hal Robson-Kanu scored with his first touch of the game, as he replaced Salomon Rondon.
The Wales international benefited from a Ospina error, to have a simple tap in and put the home side ahead for the second time of the afternoon.
With the heads of the visitors clearly down after conceding for the second time, it was no real surprise when Dawson made it safe, grabbing his brace in the 74th minute.
An identical strike to his first, completely unmarked in the area and crashing home a powerful header beyond Ospina and the rest of the fixture was generally painful for the away support – as the Baggies saw the game out comfortably.
The loss now sees Wenger's charges five points off fourth placed Liverpool and a real uphill task to qualify for next season's Champions League.
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) March 18, 2017