Two goals from new(ish) boy Alexandre Lacazette were enough to take all three points from a cagey Monday night encounter at The Emirates.
The game, as usual, was not without controversy, West Brom feeling they should have had a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Shkodran Mustafi in the early exchanges.
Lacazette opened the scoring on 20 minutes after Alexis Sanchez’s bullet free kick cannoned off the bar and the Frenchman was on hand to head in the rebound for 1-0.
We should have scored more, with wasteful finishing and some good keeping, it remained 1-0 at the break, and West Brom, in fairness were unlucky not to have been level, only a Nacho Monreal ‘Pascal Cygan’ style off-the-line clearance kept us ahead.
We were awarded a second half penalty which Lacazette despatched with aplomb to make it 2-0 and we did well to hold on to our lead. All eyes are now on Thursday night’s Europa League game with BATE Borisov, and then we move back to Premier League at the weekend, where we have another home game. Premier League new boys’ Brighton come to The Emirates for a 12 o’clock early kick off, get 888 Sport preview odds for these games and many more.
Back to West Brom and Lacazette made way for Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud also came on in the second half, and played some good football as we saw the game out for all three points. Not especially pretty, but it’s job done. Arsene Wenger was asked why he took Lacazette off, despite the striker being on a hat trick and replied:
“I took him off because he was tired, he had an opportunity to score a hat-trick but what you want is to win the game, not take any gambles. When a guy is a bit tired there’s no need to. You know that we might have to defend at set pieces or Giroud might score a third goal…”
We now face Brighton at home this weekend, and have 3 more winnable league games, while our rivals and Spurs all play each other in coming weeks, so you’d hope we’d get the chance to make up some of the lost ground following the Stoke/Liverpool debacles.