Oct 6, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT
Arsenal came back from a losing position to pick up a point at The Hawthornes and go top of the Premier League table with a 1-1 draw, but will wish they could have made more of their relative domination.
Finishing with more possession and more shots, Arsenal only put five shots on target and could not unlock the West Brom defense to find a winner.
Saido Berainho made his first Premier League start for West Brom and got things off to a hot start. He nearly put a lucky strike in the back of the net in the 15th minute, but Wojciech Szczesny did well to react to the deflection off Berainho’s shot to make the diving save.
Arsenal were searching, clawing at the West Brom in the opening half, but the central partnership of the Baggies defense kept Giroud and company relatively at bay.
As West Brom looked to get themselves into the match, they struggled to maintain possession, but a moment of perfection changed the run of play.
Having earned a corner in the 42nd minute, the corner was a poor one from Morgan Amalfitano, but the ball came back to the French winger and he fired in a pinpoint cross which Claudio Yacob banged home for the opener.
It was the first time all season that Arsenal had conceded the first goal of a match, this season, a streak of 15 matches in all competitions dating back to last season.
West Brom seemed to have new life after scoring, and it translated into the second half.
Less than two minutes into the second half, the Baggies nearly had another. On the break, Berainho sent in an absolutely brilliant low cross – so good that Nicolas Anelka was surprised that it found his feet and didn’t react in time before his momentum carried him out of danger to Szczesny’s goal.
Five minutes later, Anelka got another chance but again he couldn’t put it on net, dragging his shot just wide from a very tight angle.
Arsenal began to work themselves back wide, something that had been sorely lacking in the first half. Wenger brought off Aaron Ramsey, who was struggling on the wing, and brought on Tomas Rosicky. The change sparked the squad, and they responded.
Olivier Giroud won himself some space, and he found Rosicky in the box. The winger laid it off to Jack Wilshere, who unleashed a powerful strike that took a deflection just enough to cause Jaaskelainen to hesitate and the ball found the goal.
Arsenal, now level, returned to their dominating ways of early in the first half, but struggled to find another final product for the win.
West Bromwich Albion climb out of the relegation zone with the three points, moving all the way up to 12th with nine points and sends them off to Stoke City next with a chance to go top 10.
West Bromwich Albion – Yacob 42′
Arsenal – Wilshere 63′
West Bromwich Albion – Myhill; Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley, Jones; Yacob, Mulumbu, Sessegnon (Morrison, 78′), Amalfitano (Brunt, 89′); Anelka (Long, 69′), Berainho.
Arsenal – Szczesny; Mertesacker, Koscienly, Jenkinson, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey (Rosicky, 59′), Flamini, Ozil; Giroud (Bendtner, 85′).
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