West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Arsenal: Dawson double sends Wenger spiralling further towards exit door

On a day where Arsenal fans made their points in the sky, their team failed to pick up any on the pitch as Arsene Wenger's men slipped to a 3-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion.

Whilst Gunners fans took to the skies with protest banners not once, but twice, in the first-half, they saw their team require an Alexis Sanchez equaliser to go in level at the break.

They wouldn't keep their cool after half-time, West Brom substitute Hal Robson-Kanu making it 2-1 just after coming in before Craig Dawson grabbed his second of the game with 15 minutes left to play.

Baggies start brightly

Still unable to recall the injured Matt Phillips, Tony Pulis rewarded Jake Livermore's England call up with another start in midfield, whilst Arsene Wenger was left frustrated as both Mesut Ozil and Lucas Perez were ruled out completely after late assessments.

The build up to the game had been surrounded by continued discussions regarding the future of Wenger, and they wouldn't even go away as the game got underway, with a 'Wenger out' banner flying over the Hawthorns.

Whilst the split in opinion continued to divide Gunners fans, the travelling fans were unanimous in concern at their teams start to the game, West Brom well on top in the opening minutes.

Fan-favourite Allan Nyom further endeared himself to the home supporters with a driving run that seemed to take half the Arsenal team out of the game, taking the left-back all the way into the penalty area. Unfortunately for Nyom, he appeared like a rabbit in headlights inside the 18 yard box, eventually firing a cross well away from his target Salomon Rondon.

Petr Cech was then forced into action for the first time by James McClean. With McClean smartly played through by Chris Brunt, Cech had his palms stung as he tipped the winger's effort wide of the post.

Cech mistake cancelled out by Sanchez

However, Cech failed to build on his good start at a corner minutes later, with the 'keeper left flailing as Craig Dawson headed the Baggies ahead. With Nacer Chadli's in-swinging corner causing havoc in the six-yard box, Cech came to claim but was nowhere near the ball as Dawson nodded in his second goal in three home games.

Fortunately for Cech, and perhaps Wenger, Arsenal weren't behind for long as their talisman Alexis Sanchez levelled the scores less than two minutes after. Left in acres of space in the area, Sanchez was impressively found by Granit Xhaxa before doing the rest himself, cutting back inside and applying a ruthless finish into the top of Ben Foster's net.

It was at that point, probably coincidentally, that the scores were also levelled in the banner departments, with a 'Wenger in' plane flying over the top of the ground.

It didn't seem to have much impact on the game, which was quickly turning into an exciting end-to-end affair, Foster and Cech kept on their toes by Aaron Ramsey and Darren Fletcher respectively.

Cech on the deck

Only the former would see out the whole half, as David Ospina was called upon to replace Cech as he twisted his ankle when chasing a stray ball.

It did look like Arsenal might have a second player forced off as the clock ticked towards half-time, Sanchez left decked after a rash challenge from McClean, one that the Irishman was subsequently booked for. Despite requiring treatment on the field, Sanchez eventually got to his feet and managed to continue.

Arsenal seemed to begin the second-half with a spring in their step, but it was Albion who had the first meaningful effort after the interval, Rondon beating Laurent Koscielny to a Chris Brunt cross, his header dropping the wrong side of the post.

Super-sub Kanu the game-changer

Pulis made the first tactical change of the match, Rondon off for Hal Ronson-Kanu in just the 53rd minute. The Venezuelan didn't seem injured, but went straight down the tunnel, having not been able to find his first goal since December.

Whatever the reason, it had an immediate effect, with Robson-Kanu finding the net less than a minute after coming on.

Chadli's ball over the top of the Gunners defence caused havoc as Ospina failed to clear or claim the ball completely, allowing it to run to the Welshman who prodded home with his first touch of the game.

Wenger continued to be the villain of the piece, perhaps not in the Baggies fans' view, with the home crowd chanting "there's only one Arsene Wenger" as they continued to celebrate their second goal.

With the Frenchman forced to turn to his bench, Olivier Giroud was introduced in place of the ineffective Theo Walcott, that change almost leading to another goal as Arsenal struck the bar moments later.

Welbeck miss costly as Dawson strikes again

Threatening, rather than being threatened, from a corner, Welbeck was left with his head in his hands as his header flew back off the bar. There were penalty shouts when Robson-Kanu made contact with Shkodran Mustafi as the ball stayed in the area, but it'd have been a harsh decision.

Countering at pace from the eventual breakaway, West Brom should really have doubled their lead through Robson-Kanu, who burst up the pitch and suddenly found himself one-on-one with Ospina, the Columbian shot-stopper saving well with his feet. The ball broke kindly for Chadli, who showed composure to round the 'keeper, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance.

The Baggies would find their third goal, capitalising on Arsenal's set-piece weaknesses once again, as Craig Dawson rose brilliantly to head in his second goal of the afternoon.

That seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for some Arsenal fans, who appeared to join in with the "you're getting sacked in the morning" chants that the home crowd were only too happy to bellow out.

Arsenal's third consecutive away defeat leaves them firmly lodged in a difficult looking battle to even retain their Champions League spot, whilst the Baggies cement their impressive eighth position with an eighth home win in their last 10 games.

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