Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Arsenal strengthened their top four hopes with a 2-0 win over West Brom, thanks to a first half brace from Alexis Sanchez.

Match Reports: Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich AlbionMatch Reports: Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

The Chilean opened the scoring within six minutes after being picked out by Aaron Ramsey. Sanchez skillfully evaded his marker then rifled a shot into the bottom corner from the outside of the area, giving Albion keeper Ben Foster little chance.

The hosts continued to press forward and Hector Bellerin hit the side netting after being set free by Sanchez but Albion nearly drew level when Gareth McAuley hit the crossbar from a corner.

Mesut Ozil saw an effort blocked on the line by Craig Dawson after his shot slipped through Foster’s legs but Arsenal were not to be denied a second.

Sanchez scored directly from a free kick on the edge of the area as his driven effort outfoxed Foster, who began to move the wrong way and was then left rooted to the spot as the ball crossed the line.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis made two changes at half time as Salomon Rondon and Jonas Olsson replaced Sandro and James Chester but the switch made little difference as Arsenal continued to look the more threatening.

Arsenal were denied two penalties within three minutes around the hour mark as Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny went down inside the box. Referee Jon Moss made the correct call to wave away half-hearted appeals as Iwobi appeared to slip, while if there was any contact on Elneny it was minimal at best and the initial challenge happened outside of the area.

The visitors nearly clawed their way back into the game with just under 20 minutes remaining, and again the opening came from a corner. Petr Cech misjudged the flight of the ball and it fell to Rondon, but the Baggies striker fired the ball straight up into the air with the goal gaping.

Olivier Giroud came close twice late on but Arsenal couldn’t find a third as they picked up three valuable points in their bid for a top four finish.

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