West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal

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Post-Match Gallery

West Brom v Arsenal: In pictures

The best of the action from our photographers, pitch-side at the Hawthorns.

Video

Watch the key moments from the West Brom game

We were forced to settle for a draw at West Bromwich Albion in our final game of 2017.

It looked like we'd end the year with back-to-back away league wins when Alexis saw a free-kick deflect off James McClean and beat Ben Foster as full-time neared. But our joy was short-lived - Mike Dean blowing for a penalty after Kieran Gibbs' cross hit Calum Chambers at close range. Jay Rodriguez converted the resulting penalty.

Click on the video above to watch our bitesize highlights and on the video below to watch our extended highlights.

  • Watch the first half - coming soon
  • Watch the second half- coming soon

Press conference

‘I’m angry because we see it again and again’

When Alexis’ heavily-deflected free kick flew in with seven minutes remaining at West Brom, we looked to be on our way to a hard-fought win.

But a controversial handball decision against Calum Chambers in the closing moments allowed the hosts to equalise from the spot and deny us the three points.

Arsene Wenger was unhappy at the incident, and this is what he said in his post-match press conference:

on the penalty decision…
I think the referee has not even seen it. He has not seen it.

on why he was so angry…
I’m angry because we have seen the same things again and again and I said down there that we have fought very hard for the referees to become professional many years ago with David Dein and we did a good job to allow them to become professional and I see no improvement. At the end of the day there are two countries in Europe where there are professional referees, in Italy and in England, but not one English referee will go to the World Cup, but everything is alright. We cannot say a word against because they are untouchable, it is the case and the truth as well, it is a reason for it. It’s not only me who judges them.

on the referee not seeing the handball…
That is my opinion, he will tell you he has seen it.

on whether his assistant told him or he guessed…
I don’t know, ask him. I don’t want to waste my time and we have to live with the decision. You will go home and have your normal thing and we have to live with it and swallow it for the next game. There are two things that are not normal in the Premier League, the schedule and the referees. Maybe we haven’t played well enough, that is down for you to judge, but with those two things you cannot have West Brom with five days to prepare while we have three. I am ready to play every day as long as our opponent has had the same recovery time over Christmas, it’s not normal. We have the same problem against Chelsea, they played yesterday, we played today. They have one day more.

 

Post-Match Report

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

A last-gasp penalty from Jay Rodriguez cancelled out a James McClean own-goal as we rounded off 2017 with a frustrating draw against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

In a game of few chances, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi came closest to making the breakthrough for us, but there seemed to be no way through against a resolute home side.

But seven minutes from the end, Alexis was fouled right on the edge of the area and stepped up himself to send a low shot – via a significant deflection – into the bottom corner.

But right at the end, former Gunner Kieran Gibbs flicked the ball into Calum Chambers’ hand in the area and a spot kick, which Rodriguez converted as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

In a low-key first half, the Baggies were first to spring to life when Jay Rodriguez tested Cech with a looping header after an incisive run by Matt Phillips.

But moments later we burst forward and Lacazette saw his shot from inside the area squirm just past the near post. With clear-cut chances few and far between, we came closest through Iwobi who firstly blasted over the bar in the 16th minute before later seeing Ben Foster just about push his firm shot around the post.

Patience was the name of the game, and we created our best chance of the second period when, on the hour mark, Iwobi and Lacazette combined well on the edge of the area before Foster saved from the France international.

As the clock ticked on, our urgency increased but we continued to find it difficult to find a way through, while Cech was called on late on to make a sharp save from Jay Rodriguez.

But just when we needed a bit of luck, we got it as Alexis’ free kick deflected off James McClean and into the corner.

But there was a late twist as Calum Chambers was adjudged to have handballed in the area and Rodriguez slotted the resulting spot kick into the net.

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded and check out the very best stats in our play-by-play commentary

WHAT IT MEANS

 

WHAT’S NEXT

We welcome the Premier League champions, Chelsea, to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday for a blockbuster clash.

In the corresponding fixture last season we beat the Blues 3-0, with a devastating first-half burst of goals from Alexis, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil doing the damage.

Last time out, in September’s clash at Stamford Bridge, we were the better team for long periods but had to settle for a share of the points.

IWOBI WATCH

With Mesut Ozil out with a slight knee injury, Alex Iwobi was drafted in as the only change to the side that beat Crystal Palace in midweek.

The Nigeria international was a threat – particularly in the first half - and here are some of his key moments:

16 – Iwobi receives the ball from Alexis just inside the area, and takes a touch before curling a shot inches over the bar

29 – Xhaka moves the ball out to the left to Iwobi, who cuts back inside and fires a powerful shot at goal that Foster just manages to deflect behind for a corner

60 – Combines well with Lacazette on the edge of the box to create a chance for the France international, whose shot is saved by Ben Foster

73 – The ball breaks to Iwobi 30 yards out and he tries his luck, but Foster is able to make a comfortable save

74 – Iwobi comes off and is replaced by Danny Welbeck

Interview

Cech - My view on the penalty decision

Calum Chambers remonstrates with Mike Dean after West Bromwich Albion were awarded a late penalty for handball

We looked on course to finish 2017 with back-to-back away league wins, before West Bromwich Albion were awarded - and converted - an 88th-minute penalty on Sunday afternoon.

After the match, Petr Cech gave his opinion on the game’s controversial moment. Here’s what he said:

on Cech getting annoyed at the goal…
Every time we have a meeting with the referees prior to the season and it comes to this point where the player is too close to the ball and he has no chance to react. He has his hands by his side and it can never be a penalty. The referee gives this with two minutes to go and I asked him why he changed his opinion to give a penalty, when every time we have this meeting, it’s clear that they say this is not a penalty. I got booked as well and I think that’s the most disappointing, because he could have told me ‘come later’, but he just gave me a yellow card. I was not rude, I just asked the question and I think this disappoints me even more.

on if Cech can see why the penalty was awarded…
No. 

on what Dean said when asked why he awarded it…
Nothing. 

on if he’s ever been this angry after a decision…
I’m just disappointed because of the penalty situation. I expect, when I walk towards the referee with respect and ask him a question, I would like him to answer me in a normal way and not give me a yellow card and say nothing.

Press conference

Wenger on Alexis and the January window

Alexis has been a hot topic throughout 2017 - and that remained the case after our final match of the year on Sunday.

After much talk in the media over the past few days about the Chilean, the Arsenal manager was asked about the forward.

This is what he told the post-match press conference:

on the reaction to the comments about Alexis…
No, it was never a problem inside, there are some people who always want to create problems.

on Thierry Henry’s comments…
I don’t listen to what he says, or what other people say. We focus on our own problems and that is the only important thing. These people are paid to talk and it’s difficult to always talk, talk, talk and only say things that are true and intelligent.

on whether it could be Alexis’ last game for Arsenal…
We play on Wednesday night.

on whether he is worried about Alexis leaving…
I have spoken many times about that and I am not ready to talk about it any more. I have given you my answer many times in a press conference and I don’t see why I should come back on it as we have talked about it 150 times.

on Alexis’ performance…
I thought he was fantastic.

on whether he will have any business in January…
Tomorrow we try to bring in first and after that we will see.

Interview

‘When you have given everything, it’s difficult’

Arsene Wenger was understandably unhappy after West Brom were awarded a late penalty to snatch a draw against us at The Hawthorns on Sunday.

Afterwards he spoke to Arsenal Media and this is what he said:

on digging deep to go 1-0 up…
Yes, we had a big handicap as West Brom had five days to prepare and we had three, honestly the schedule is unfair and we also had to deal with an unfair decision. You can talk but it will not change anything, we can just say the players gave everything.

on the performance overall…
We played brilliantly at Crystal Palace but you could see today that the legs were a bit heavy, and that we more had to show mental strength and desire to do it. If you go in the dressing room, the players are very tired but also very disappointed because they face real injustice. When you have given everything it is difficult.