Rudderless Arsenal slump to defeat at West Brom
Premier League, The Hawthorns - West Bromwich Albion 3 (Dawson 12, 75, Robson-Kanu 55) Arsenal 1 (Sanchez 15)
West Bromwich Albion increased the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a 3-1 Premier League win at the Hawthorns.
The misery was deepened by an injury that forced goalkeeper Petr Cech off, while Mesut Ozil missed out with an hamstring strain picked up in training on Friday.
Arsenal’s inability to mark a Tony Pulis side at set pieces was almost as embarrassing as the sight of two plane banners flying over the Hawthorns – one calling for Wenger’s exit, the other backing him in a bizarre scene that encapsulated the discord among the club’s fans.
Arsenal's sixth defeat in nine games in all competitions, and fourth in five league matches, sees the Gunners remain five points outside the top four, and Arsene Wenger's side will drop to sixth if Manchester United win at Middlesbrough on Sunday.
Is Arsene Wenger's position untenable?
Arsene Wenger said after the game he will soon make a statement about his future, and right now it is almost impossible to imagine him staying. Arsenal have lost six of their last nine, with their only positive results coming against Hull, Sutton and Lincoln. While the players must bear responsibility for their inability to carry out the basics, Leicester have shown that it is always the manager who carries the can - Arsenal are sinking without trace and change is surely inevitable.
Arsenal react to Craig Dawson's second goalReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jake Livermore (West Brom)
The purchase of Livermore from Hull during the January transfer window has added some finesse to the Baggies' midfield, and the 27-year-old, recalled to the England squad this week, provided cover to the Baggies' back four, and a little bit of guile further up the field.
He kept going until the final whistle, and in the closing moments even popped up in the left-back position to block a Hector Bellerin cross from the touchline.
13' – GOAL! West Brom 1-0 Arsenal. Chadli's corner is flicked home by Craig Dawson, his second PL goal of the season. That is 20 goals from set-pieces for the Baggies this season, and an incredible 13 from corners.
15' – GOAL! West Brom 1-1 Arsenal. Sanchez nets his 18th PL goal of the campaign, and 22nd of the season in all competitions, as he chests down Xhaka's pass and drills home beyond Foster and into the roof of the net.
Alexis Sanchez equalises for Arsenal against West BromReuters
36' – INJURY! Cech falls to the floor, pointing to an injured hamstring, and will be replaced by David Ospina. A hamstring injury usually means a month on the sidelines - will Cech miss the FA Cup final against Manchester City at the end of April?
56' - GOAL! West Brom 2-1 Arsenal. Robson-Kanu prods home after Ospina can only half clear a header into the box by McClean, although Arsenal are furious as they think the Irishman is in an offside position when the ball rolls into the net.
66' - HITS THE WOODWORK! Xhaka's corner from the right is met by Welbeck, but it rattles against the crossbar and West Brom can clear.
75' - GOAL! West Brom 3-1 Arsenal. Another set-piece, another goal for Dawson, this time from McClean's corner! But Oxlade-Chamberlain's marking was awful, he got drawn into the run by McAuley and left Dawson.
Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates scoring for West Brom against ArsenalReuters
Arsenal have won just three of their last nine games in all competitions, against Hull City in the league and against Sutton United and Lincoln in the FA Cup.
Tony Pulis has only lost one of his seven previous Premier League home games against Arsenal, and is unbeaten in his last fivehome matches against Arsene Wenger's side.
Arsenal have scored in all 22 of their Premier League meetings with West Brom; their best such 100% record in the competition.