Arsenal relegated West Bromwich Albion scoring three high quality goals to send Sam Allardyce’s side down to the Championship with three games remaining.
Story of the match:
Arsenal came under heavy pressure early on in the tie with The Gunners struggling to maintain possession in the middle of the park.
Dani Ceballos and Mo Elneny appeared to be on different wave lengths and struggled to progressively move the ball forward.
The Baggies bullied Mikel Arteta’s side in the opening exchanges, controlling the ball in the middle of the park, raining shots upon the goal of Bernd Leno and pumping balls into the box of the Clock End.
For all the possession Arsenal had in the first period, they struggled to create clear cut chances and test Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Emile Smith-Rowe broke the deadlock for Arsenal in the 29th Minute with a beautiful strike inside the box after a classy link up from Bukayo Saka and former Chelsea man Willian.
Arsenal grew into the game infused after the first goal. Ceballos began to pull the strings in the middle of the park as the 24-year-old Spaniard oozed class and confidence.
Nicolas Pepe doubled Arsenal’s lead ten minutes before half time, curling one into the top left-hand corner from outside the box. The north London club put together a devastating move which was finished off by the 25-Year-old Ivorian.
Building the play from deep, finding Pepe in the right channel and then, bent it into the “Top Bin” by the Gunner’s record signing.
Arsenal began the second half brightly with Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Smith-Rowe firing off shots at the Baggies goal.
The Gunners controlled the ball in the middle of the crisp Emirates Stadium pitch and their quality was on full display when they came close from a high-quality counterattack when both Martinelli and Smith Rowe failed to convert a drilled Bukayo Saka cross.
Alex Lacazette and Kieran Tierney were both introduced to the play around the 60 minute mark in support of the fight to keep the points in north London.
Matheus Pereira scored a fantastic goal to keep West Brom in the tie, shooting low into the bottom right corner after a determined driving run from the halfway line.
Arsenal were complacent in the defensive areas, backing off from the West Bromwich attacker leaving him to run all the way without a defensive reply.
With a goal to now hold on to and survival on the line, Sam Allardyce’s men pushed and pressed the Arsenal backline in efforts to try and unsettle the Gunners and battle for any kind of points.
Thomas Partey was bought on to try and steady the ship and cut out the West Brom counter attacks. The Ghanaian arrived to the field with an ice cool presence to build the attack from deep and add a defensive insurance.
Willian eased the nerves and ended any hope of a West Brom comeback scoring a beautiful freekick centrally outside the box and placing it into the top left corner of Sam Johnstone’s net. The Brazilian topped off a commendable performance with his first Arsenal goal
Hale End connection as strong as ever.
Arsenal’s hale end boys Saka and Smith-Rowe proved to be a thorn in the West Brom’s side as the duo worked tirelessly constantly threatening the Baggies back line with their off the ball runs and tricky dribbling.
Smith Rowe pressed high with Brazilian teammate Martinelli throughout his time on the pitch and scored the opening goal to settle the nerves and put his side 1-0 up.
The Hale End Graduate gave 100% for the cause constantly looking for his teammates with brisk one touch passes.
Arsenal now sit in 9th and four points off local rivals Tottenham who take up seventh spot. The Gunners simply have to win their remaining three games to enhance their chances of getting into any European competition for next season.
Tough away trips to Stamford Bridge and Selhurst Park remain before Brighton visit Emirates Stadium to finalise a season to forget for Arteta and his side.