By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal made a few changes both in personal and in line up for this match.
Bellerin came back in at right back in the place of Debuchy and also Kieran Gibbs came in but not in the place of Monreal but in the place of Campbell. Gibbs played at the left flank and Alexis switched to the right flank. Both French players were fit and focussed enough to start this match. On the bench we also saw French youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide.
The team that started this match was: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Alexis, Ozil, Gibbs, Giroud.
On the beach: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Arteta, Flamini, Campbell, Reine-Adelaide.
WBA with a high pressure game all over the the field. As a result not much going on attacking wise from Arsenal who are trying to keep the ball in the team. No real dangerous attacks from both teams. Lots of midfield play. After some 11 minutes Coquelin went down after a tackle holding his knee. Hobbling off but he signalled to the bench he couldn’t continue. A real blow so early in the match. No foul with this tackle from Coquelin just both players kicking the ball at the same time. Arteta came on in the place of Coquelin.
A foul on Monreal resulting in a free kick for Arsenal. Alexis with a good effort but Myhill with an equally good save. The first real chance in the match just under the 15 minutes mark.
Arsenal now slowly taking more and more control over the proceedings. And more and more pressure leading to WBA making a few fouls. One on Alexis on the right flank. Özil behind the ball and…. yes GOAL!!!! Giroud heads the ball in the net to put Arsenal in front! 0-1 to the Arsenal after 28 minutes.
That is now 7 matches on a row that Özil has given an assist. Gibbs with a shot but over after a good attack by Alexis. At the other Bellerin with a foul and a deserved yellow card. That was a promising attack for WBA. Arteta with a foul in midfield and a free kick for WBA. It was NOT a foul as Arteta cleanly played the ball. The ball is floated in and Morrison puts it over Cech in the Arsenal goal. 1-1 after 35 minutes. A error from Clattenburg leading to a WBA equaliser.
Arsenal try to attack but a WBA counter leads to a cross from on the goal line that is put in the own Arsenal goal by Arteta. 2-1 for WBA after 41 minutes. Giroud gets a yellow card for a foul when he loses the ball. Gibbs with a good run but no Arsenal player at the end of his cross. WBA get two goals almost out of nothing and goes with a 2-1 advantage in to the dressing room at half time.
Olson pulls Giroud down after an Arsenal free kick but Clattenburg waves it away claming both players made a foul? I couldn’t really see what foul Giroud committed. Should have been a penalty for Arsenal. Arsenal with the first shot in the second half when Özil has a shot that hits the post with the keeper well beaten. Unlucky. Arteta has to come off after only 3 minutes in the second half and Flamini comes in his place. Another injury for the captain.
Arsenal pressing but WBA block the effort from Gibbs and the shot from Giroud goes over. WBA suddenly with a good moment and Cech has to come to the rescue after a WBA beat the offside. After 62 minutes Gibbs goes off and Campbell comes on. I think we will see Alexis switch back to his left wing from now on.
Santi with a great cross to Campbell who misses inexplicably in front of the open goal…At the other end WBA with a corner and it is headed against the crossbar and then Cech can grab the rebound. The assistant had also raised his flag for offside on the rebound and that was a great decision. Alexis at the other end with a chance after a good cross from Bellerin but the ball ran away from his foot and he could produce the shot.
Alexis just coming late on a ball from Cazorla. A case of just not completely good enough on the day? The ball not at the right speed, too hard, too slow… one of those days?
A ball to Alexis who was held back by a defender and Clattenburg puts the ball on the penalty spot. Santi with the shot and he slips away when he shoots and puts the ball over the crossbar… one of those days… His standing leg slipping away…
Campbell again just comes late on a through ball… A day when it just wouldn’t happen.. Giroud has a shot blocked almost on the goal line… Myhill gets a yellow card after a lot of time wasting that had been going on since WBA took the lead.
Arsenal lose a match they shouldn’t have lost. A wasted chance to gain some advantage but this is how it goes sometimes. When things don’t want to come off, they don’t come off.
A bad day at the office.