Arsenal 2 West Brom 0: Arteta doubles up from the spot after Cazorla goes down easily to earn dubious first penalty
17:45 GMT, 8 December 2012
Mikel Arteta struck twice from the penalty spot – the first after a dive by fellow Spaniard Santi Cazorla – as Arsenal returned to winning ways with a Barclays Premier League victory over West Brom at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners had started brightly but took the lead through controversial fashion, after Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid when replays showed there was no contact.
The Baggies, who lost twice last week to halt their fine start to the season, never really recovered from the sense of injustice and there was no way back once Arteta converted from the penalty spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt had tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)
Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey
Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud
Goals: Arteta 26 (pen), 64 (pen)
West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell (Popov 6), McAuley, Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera (Rosenberg 75), Long, Odemwingie (Lukaku 62),
Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune
Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid
Referee: Mike Jones
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It was a lively start by the home
side, who had not won in four games, but recalled most of their
first-team regulars missing from the midweek Champions League defeat at
Olympiacos, although forward Theo Walcott was sidelined by a calf
A high pass into the West Brom
penalty area was palmed away by Boaz Myhill, but Gervinho missed his
kick and could only hack the ball wide from six yards.
West Brom were forced into an early change when defender Liam Ridgewell hobbled off, replaced by Goran Popov.
On 17 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain
darted to the goalline on the right and looped the ball back across
goal. Cazorla arrived at pace, but could not keep his left-foot volley
down and fired the ball high into the Clock End.
West Brom were dangerous on the
counter and almost snatched the lead when captain Chris Brunt curled a
20-yard effort just wide of the top right corner.
Arsenal were awarded a penalty on 24
minutes. Cazorla cut into the left side of the area, and as he turned
back inside Steven Reid, went to ground as the defender stuck out his
Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net
Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty
Referee Mike Jones immediately
pointed to the spot, although television replays showed there looked
little contact, if any at all. Arteta stepped up to drill the ball past
There was more than a sense of injustice from the visitors, who soon went in search of swift recompense.
However, Arsenal soaked up the pressure and then resumed their counter attacks.
Gervinho ghosted down the left and
pulled the ball back across the face of goal, but Jack Wilshere's
sliding touch stabbed it just wide.
West Brom felt they had a penalty
shout when Per Mertesacker handled a high ball in the Arsenal box, but
the assistant on the far side flagged for a foul on the big German
defender by Jonas Olsson.
Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid
Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box
At the other end, Myhill pushed a low
shot from Gervinho around the post before Oxlade-Chamberlain sent an
acrobatic scissors kick over the crossbar.
West Brom started the second half with some purpose, yet not really stretching the Arsenal defence.
The Gunners went forwards quickly on
the counter, with Oxlade-Chamberlain floating a ball across the face of
goal before Olivier Giroud and Olsson squared up on the edge of the
penalty area, with the referee soon restoring calm after showing both
players a yellow card.
Gervinho was off target again when he glanced a free header wide on the penalty spot.
The Ivory Coast forward was enduring
one of those afternoons when moments later he failed to connect with
Giroud's knockdown into the six-yard box.
Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball
Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson
On 64 minutes, Arsenal were awarded
another penalty. This time there was no controversy as Brunt chopped
down Oxlade-Chamberlain after the England midfielder had charged down
Arteta took it again and with the same outcome as the Spaniard blasted the spot-kick down the middle.
With a two-goal cushion, Arsenal had
some breathing space and started to produce the slick, passing football
which had been so lacking in recent performances.
Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
With 13 minutes left, Wenger sent on defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arteta tried for a hat-trick when he whipped a 22-yard free-kick around the wall, but also just past the left-hand post.
West Brom substitute Markus Rosenberg tested Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny with a low shot from 20 yards.
German international Lukas Podolski
came off the bench to somehow lift the ball over from six yards as
Arsenal closed out what was in the end a comfortable victory to edge
back up towards the top four.
You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game
Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into today's match against West Brom under pressure following four matches without victory. Here, Nicholas McAvaney takes a look at how he performed.
Looking sharp in his suit, Wenger (right) lasted five minutes before donning his winter coat – not because of a frosty reception from the fans however.
Often out of his seat in the opening half, Wenger stormed to the bench on 22 minutes after venting his frustration on the turf following Gervinho's missed.
Even Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes later could not remove the Frenchman's scowl, which remained until the whistle. Arteta's second goal also failed to excite the manager, who was a touch more animated in the second half, mostly in the final 10 minutes when the victory was assured.
At full-time and following a quick handshake with Steve Clarke, he was off the pitch without hesitation.
Opening with a 4-4-2 formation, Arsenal dominated possession and regularly peppered the opposition goal, albeit with little success.
Wenger resisted the urge to shake up his forward line soon after the break, much to the frustration of fans who grew tired of Gervinho's wasted opportunities 15 minutes into the second half and vehemently appealed to Wenger for an urgent substitution.
Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky helped strengthen his midfield with 10 minutes remaining at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.
The Frenchman was unusually quiet with the officials across the first 45 minutes, only once questioning a call that saw Oliver Giroud writhing on the ground clutching his lower back just past the half hour.
He was quickly out of his seat in the second half, though, exchanging words with the fourth official to little effect.
He vented with greater aggression five minutes later after a questionable call against Arsenal, then spent the remainder of the half with his hands in his pockets, only occasionally commanding player movements in the final 10 minutes.
The home fans reserved any stick for the manager for prior to kick off. An ironic cheer erupted on 10 minutes as the manager craftily flicked the ball back from the bench for a throw in, but few had anything to say to the Frenchman throughout the half.
Fans seemed happy with Arteta's brace all but assuring Arsenal of the three points, and dutifully applauded the boss for a job well done on 90 minutes.