Post-Match Report

West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Arsenal: Match Report

05/06 West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion -

The Hawthorns
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
  West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion
2 1

An incredible strike from West Brom substitute Darren Carter consigned Arsenal to their third Premiership defeat of the season at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Arsène Wenger's patched up side seemed to be cruising until just before the break. Philippe Senderos volleyed in a corner in the 18th minute and they were creating chance after chance. However, just before half time, the visitors lost Freddie Ljungberg to a hamstring injury and, soon afterwards, the lead to Kanu's excellent drive.

They responded after the interval and seemed likely to take the three points. However in the 76th minute, Carter let fly from distance with his left foot. It turned out to be a thunderbolt that arrowed into the top corner. 

Arsenal tried in vain to rescue a point in the dying minutes but West Brom keeper Chris Kirkland continue to display safe hands and a calm temperament.
There were no surprises in the starting line-up named by Arsène Wenger. With six internationals injured - Robin van Persie (thigh), Thierry Henry (groin), Gilberto (international duty), Ashley Cole (foot), Sol Campbell (hamstring) and  Alexander Helb (knee)  - he simply named the most experienced side he could.

The start was low-key and it took 17 minutes to for the first real opening on goal. A pass forward from Francesc Fabregas ricocheted off the legs of Curtis Davis and into the path of Dennis Bergkamp. The goal seemed to open up for the Dutchman, who was making his 400th appearance for Arsenal. However Paul Robinson recovered superbly and slid in to divert the Dutchman's drive over the bar. 

The respite was brief. Jose Antonio Reyes swung the corner over to the far post and Senderos shrugged off Davis to sidefoot home from close range. It was the Swiss defender's first goal for the Club.

Arsenal nearly added another in the minutes that followed. Bergkamp tried to chip Kirkland and Robert Pires drilled wide. Midway through the half the former's clever touch sent Ljungberg clear but the Swede dragged his shot well beyond the post. 

In the 34th minute, Bergkamp collected a pass from Pires and, again, only had Kirkland to beat. The keeper rushed out quickly and blocked the striker's drive with his knee.

Arsenal had enjoyed the better chances but West Brom were far from struggling. They had significant possession and pressure but only had Robinson's stinging 24th minutes drive to show for it. That changed seven minutes before the break.

Martin Albrechtsen reached the byline and crossed toward the near post. Senderos could only head the ball out to Kanu, who controlled and flashed a fierce drive into the far corner.

The goal came two minutes after Freddie Ljungberg had hobbled off to be replaced by Emmanuel Eboue. It transpired the Swede had injured his hamstring.

Arsenal were a rejuvenated side after the interval. Kolo Toure met a corner at the far post and managed to hook a shot goalwards. It looked likely to find the far corner before the diving Kirkland superbly touched it past the post. Just past the hour, Bergkamp laid the ball back for Fabregas, whose vicious drive was palmed aside by the England keeper. Sixteen minutes from time, Bergkamp nearly dipped a long-range effort into the far corner.

The visitors were enjoying most of the territory and possession. If a goal was coming it would surely go to them.

And then West Brom scored.

In fairness it was stunner. Substitute Darren Carter controlled a short pass at the edge of the area and the ball stat up nicely for him to hook a volley goalwards. His connection was superb and his effort flew beyond the outstretched hand of Jens Lehmann and into the far corner. It was one of those rare goals that just could not be avoided.

Reyes fired in a late free-kick but Kirkland clutched the low effort to his chest. The keeper had done as much as anyone to secure West Brom's first home win over Arsenal in 33 years.

Referee: Barry Knight
Attendance: 26604

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