Arsenal 4 (Walcott 4, 14, Wilshere 17, Walcott 37) – West Bromwich Albion (McAuley 57)
Man of the Match – Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Arsenal ended their Premier League campaign on a high note, and gave a warning signal to their fellow FA Cup finalist Aston Villa, by drubbing their Birmingham neighbours West Bromwich Albion 4-1, in a first-half glut of goals. Arsene Wenger made changes to the squad that drew 0-0 with Sunderland at home, bringing in Theo Walcott in place of Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin in place of Aaron Ramsey and Gabriel Paulista in place of Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal were off to a flying start, when Wilshere, playing on the right, combined with Walcott, to draw a save from West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill. However, in the 4th minute, Arsenal took the lead. Some fine build up play involving Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, saw the Spaniard playing the final ball to Walcott, who received it on his right side, before making some space, and shooting emphatically into the top corner, leaving Myhill with no chance.
Some more intricate build-up play, saw Alexis release a low shot, but this time, Myhill was equal to it. Before he knew it, Arsenal added a second goal in the 14th minute. It began with Ozil and Wilshere working their way into the box, before the ball was snatched from Ozil, only to fall to the feet of Walcott, who evaded a challenge, before netting home the second goal of the evening.
And Arsenal were running away with the game, as 3 minutes later, Jack Wilshere unleashed a thumping effort. After a corner was cleared, Gabriel collected the ball, and played it to the Englishman, who struck the ball with venom on the volley. There was no chance any keeper was stopping that.
Both Wilshere and Walcott were having a field day, as they continued to drill attempts into West Brom’s goal. First, Walcott saw Myhill saving a good chance, before Wilshere combined with Alexis, only to shoot straight at Myhill. The Welsh keeper was kept busy as he kept out a header from Per Mertesacker off a Mesut Ozil freekick.
Then came a flurry of attempts from Arsenal. First, a Cazorla effort went wide, before Alexis’ shot was blocked, having been set up by Walcott, and then the Englishman had his chance, but he couldn’t get the power behind the shot. He, however, would be celebrating his hat-trick on 37 minutes. Alexis and Wilshere combined well, as the Englishman drove into the box, and set up Cazorla, whose pass across goal, was bundled home by Walcott. It was the striker’s first hattrick since scoring thrice in a 7-3 win over Newcastle in December 2012.
West Brom got a rare chance before the break, when a deflected effort seemed to go in, but Ospina managed to claim the ball, as Arsenal went into the final half-time break of the season with a resounding 4 goal advantage. West Brom made some changes early in the second half bringing on former Everton striker Victor Anichebe and Craig Gardner in place of Sweden international Jonas Olsson and Calum McManaman.
Myhill was called into action again to save a Cazorla curler, before West Brom managed to pull one back through Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley. Ospina made a complete hash of plucking the ball out from the air from a corner, leaving McAuley to tap home in front of an empty net. Arsene Wenger made his first changes of the game, bringing on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in place of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott, with both teams looking to finish off their seasons with a quiet final few minutes.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, too came on for Jack Wilshere, making his first appearance in over 2 months, since he was injured in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, on March 9th. Aaron Ramsey drew a brilliant save from his compatriot Myhill, as Arsenal failed to add a 5th. Craig Gardner almost scored a 2nd goal for West Brom, after uncertain keeping from Ospina.
It didn’t matter in the end as Arsenal got all 3 points, and finished the season in 3rd place, with 75 points, 4 behind Manchester City’s 79, and 5 ahead of Manchester United’s 70.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons
And do like, the Facebook page as well.
Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!