Arsenal 2-0 West Brom: Alexis Sanchez double secures victory
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 22/04/16 8:18am
Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal strengthened their top-four bid with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom on Thursday.
The game was played in front of a number of empty seats at the Emirates as Arsenal fans showed their dissatisfaction with recent results.
But, after their home draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend, the Gunners avoided another slip-up in a game they dominated from almost start to finish.
Sanchez gave the hosts the lead after just six minutes and then added a second in the 38th minute with a free-kick that went through the wall.
Gareth McAuley went closest for the Baggies when he headed against the bar from a corner, but the win moves Arsenal up to third in the table, four points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.
While some supporters stayed away from the Emirates, those in attendance did not have to wait long for the opening goal, with Sanchez turning Sandro and then firing past Ben Foster after six minutes.
The Gunners looked to press home their advantage as Mesut Ozil saw a shot blocked by Jonny Evans and Aaron Ramsey - recalled to the side along with Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker - shot wide.
West Brom, with Saido Berahino playing as a lone striker, offered little attacking threat from open play, but they went close from a corner after half an hour as McAuley headed against the bar.
Hector Bellerin looked dangerous with a couple of marauding runs from right-back before Foster was bailed out by Craig Dawson on the line after letting a shot from Ozil slip through his grasp.
Arsenal did get the second in the 38th minute as Sanchez curled a free-kick through the wall, with Arsenal players parting to allow the ball to pass.
With his side up against it, Tony Pulis introduced Salomon Rondon at the break to play up front alongside Berahino.
But it was Arsenal who continued to dominate, with Olivier Giroud having a shot saved and Ozil twice having shots blocked.
The Baggies nearly pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute when Petr Cech came and missed a corner, but Rondon could not react quick enough to turn it in the back post.
That was a rare chance for the visitors, who remain 15th on 40 points, as Arsenal finished the game firmly on top.
Substitute Joel Campbell shot narrowly wide and Giroud shot at Foster as the hosts closed out a comfortable win - but frustrated fans still held up banners at full-time calling for the manager to leave.
Arsenal: Cech (6), Bellerin (8), Mertesacker (6), Koscielny (7), Monreal (6), Elneny (6), Ramsey (6), Sanchez (8), Ozil (6), Iwobi (6), Giroud (5).
Subs: Walcott (5), Campbell (6), Coquelin (5).
West Brom: Foster (5), Dawson (5), McAuley (6), Evans (5), Chester (5), Fletcher (5), Sandro (4), Yacob (5), Sessegnon (5), Berahino (5), McClean (5).
Subs: Olsson (5), Gardner (5), Rondon (5).
Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez.