Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of disappointment, Olivier Giroud rose majestically to deliver one of the most important goals he will ever score in his career.
With the clock ticking and the Gunners faithful getting nervous by the second, the much criticized but talented Mesut Ozil lofted a pinpoint cross into the danger zone. For a second the ball spun on its axis, unclaimed before it was met with a crunching header from the Frenchman leaving a trailing Ben Foster.
The sigh of relief from the Emirates terraces was palpable. With Chelsea continuing their winning streak to twelve games in a row nothing short of victory was going to do it for the North London club.
It took 86 mins of hard grafting to break a stubborn Tony Pulis side which looked dangerous on set pieces.
West Bromwich Albion employed a six men defense line from the first whistle and their well-rehearsed strategy stifled an Arsenal side that created very little in the first half despite a lofty 80 percentage ball possession. Giroud looked lethargic and he fluffed a chance in the first half when he shot over the bar.
Albion’s Chris Brunt and Matt Phillips, regular wingers by job description, sat in the hole and helped park the white and blue bus.
In the second half, the Emirates club started a rejuvenated team. Iwobi picked up the ball in Albion’s half and volleyed for goal only to be thwarted by an alert Ben Foster who also went to save Sanchez’s follow-up attempt.
From the ensuing corner, Alexis Sanchez dribbled past a forest of players before drilling a low shot that scraped the upright. The ball bounced back into play and the Chilean’s rising shot was finger-tipped from danger by Foster who used his outstretched leg to block Giroud’s follow up ‘grass mower’.
Salomon Rondon’s power runs on the left flank raised the fright of a counter attack. Yacob’s rising shot almost brought those fears to reality but he missed by inches. With the clock winding down and the crowd growing restless Wenger threw in Monreal, Perez, and Ramsey.
Mezut Ozil this time delivered a finely weighted ball with 4 mins to go. Giroud shook the close attentions of Johnny Evans before powering his header past an otherwise impressive Ben Foster.
One – Nill Up the Gunners!Three fat points!
Until later folks….