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Arsenal overcame winter conditions to beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 in the Hawthorns, as Mikel Arteta’s men continued their mini-revival.
The Gunners took the lead in the 22nd minute, when Kieran Tierney cut from the left flank and fired a wonderful shot into the upper corner with his weaker right foot. The visitors doubled their lead minutes later after Bukayo Saka tapped at home to complete a beautiful, fluid team play.
Arsenal killed the game at the hour mark, with Alexandre Lacazette stroking the ball past Sam Johnstone, after Semi Ajayi nearly converted a punt on his own net. The Frenchman then pushed the final goal of the game over the line of a whipped Tierney crusader to condemn West Brom to another loss, and continue the Gunners’ mini-revival.
Let’s take a look at the player ratings from a goal-filled night in the snow at Hawthorns.
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 5/10 – He made an early save to deny Bellerin cleverly. There was nothing he could do to avoid Tierney’s wonderful blow. It was also completely abandoned for the second, third and fourth.
Darnell Furlong (RB) – 5/10 – He allowed Tierney inside to have a scoring opportunity too easily. Big Sam will be furious. A bad performance from the side.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 5/10 – He couldn’t cope with Lacazette’s hunger and was exposed by Furlong’s poor position on several occasions. He was saved from scoring a fun own goal by hitting the post.
Branislav Ivanovic (CB) – 4/10 – It seemed miles off the beat and it wasn’t quite up to the Baggies. He had no answer to the fluid movement of Arsenal. Submitted by injury – a little mercy.
Dara O’Shea (LB) – 5/10 – Bombarded from that left side by the flyers Saka and Bellerin. Shattered as the gunners relentlessly aimed at its flank. A hard night for the defender.
Roman Sawyers (CM) – 5/10 – This time he didn’t score a hilarious own goal, so he made an immediate improvement on his last outing. Still, I’m not sure I’ve contributed anything positive to the performance.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 6/10 – He wanted to make a difference, but his talents were constrained in such a rigid and uninspiring system. A 90 minute job.
Matt Phillips (CM) – 5/10 – Out of position, but used in the center for his energy and pressure. It had no impact. It is an extreme, after all.
Matheus Pereira (RW) – 5/10 – Anonymous and cut a very frustrated figure. He worked in terms of running, but was not allowed to demonstrate what his game is about.
Callum Robinson (ST) – June 10 – Who wants to be a lone striker on an Allardyce soccer team? God. So little to yell at for Robinson on Saturday, but it wasn’t his fault at all. He had a goal disallowed for offside.
Grady Diangana (LW) – 4/10 – I’m not sure if he touched the ball in the first half. He never entered the game, and the ball didn’t cross his path often enough to smell him. Subtitled at the break.
Charlie Austin (ST) – May 10
Kyle Bartley (CB) – 6/10
Rakeem Harper (CM) – N / A
Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – Think of the coldest man in The Hawthorns. Nothing to do, and he would have turned into a snowman if he hadn’t kept busy with individual warm-ups.
Héctor Bellerin (RB) – 7/10 – He took an early shot towards goal, but saw his effort saved. Much better than recent exhibits and delivered in both halves of the field.
Rob Holding (CB) – 8/10 – Resolute and authoritarian in his duties, while posing a threat in the Baggies’ penalty area as well. Comfortable.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 7/10 – He came out of defense well with the ball, given his lack of defensive work that it required. A quiet evening for the central.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 8/10 – He knocked Arsenal off the mark with a brilliant strike to his supposedly weaker foot, crashing the ball into the top corner. He never gave up on his offensive duties, providing the fourth with a large cross.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – 8/10 – Always looking to penetrate the West Brom defense with direct and vertical passes, without missing a bite at the tackle.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – Disciplined from the start, and showed no sign of Mr Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll. It kept Arsenal running and eliminated potential dangers, not that there were many.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 8/10 – He made a beautiful run behind West Brom’s defense to open them wide for the second goal, selflessly rolling the ball towards Saka.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – 9/10 – He continued his good form, using his straight run to good effect and terrorizing his marker. Hit home the second goal – couldn’t miss from there. Brilliant again.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 9/10 – He produced a beautiful ball around the corner to send Smith Rowe for second. He killed the game with two clinical goals in the second half.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW) – 7/10 – It swerved into the field and created spaces on the left flank for Tierney to exploit. I’m still not in those scoring positions.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (RB) – 7/10
Willian (RW) – 6/10
Joe Willock (CM) – 6/10