West Brom came from behind to beat Arsenal on a wretched afternoon for the Gunners as Santi Cazorla blew a late penalty in astonishing fashion and they lost two more stars injured. The Gunners took the lead when their French striker Olivier Giroud headed in Mesut Ozil’s free-kick in the 28th minute. But Albion hit back from a free-kick of their own when James Morrison cleverly flicked in Chris Brunt’s delivery in the 35th minute. The hosts went into the break ahead after Mikel Arteta diverted in James McClean’s low cross in the 40th minute for an own goal.
Arsenal also lost both Francis Coquelin and replacement Arteta to injury and were unable to level in the second half as Ozil hit the post and sub Joel Campbell missed a sitter. They were handed a late lifeline when Brunt was harshly adjudged to have fouled Alexis Sanchez but Cazorla slipped when taking it and ballooned the ball into the crowd.
Here are five things we learned:
Injuries could cost Arsenal the title:
The Emirates’ already busy physio room has two new additions after this encounter. Both Francis Coquelin and his replacement Mikel Arteta hobbled off to join the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere on the sidelines.
Emotional Olivier Giroud maintains form:
French forward Giroud has seven goals in 10 games for Arsenal now in all competitions. His celebration suggested he was thinking of the Paris victims as he pointed and looked to the heavens after passionately singing the La Marseillaise before kick-off.
Saido Berahino still needs to do more:
Berahino spent the international break doing extra training to graft his way back into Albion’s starting line-up but he was still on the bench again until his introduction in the 68th minute.
James McClean re-establishing himself:
McClean has generally made headlines for the wrong reasons as he continues to refuse to wear a poppy. But he was once a heck of a prospect at Sunderland and Tony Pulis has got the winger back to his best as he worked tirelessly both ways on the the left flank and assisted Albion’s second.
Arsenal always struggle in November:
It is all very well looking slick in August but Arsenal have a habit of struggling in November and this year looks no exception. They are yet to win this month after also being thumped at Bayern Munich in the Champions League and drawing with Spurs.