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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Arsenal come from behind at West Brom to remain top

Arsenal came from behind on Sunday afternoon as they drew 1-1 with West Brom at the Hawthorns. Jack Wilshere had a poor first half but came back with a bang in the second half as his deflected effort was enough to see his side back to the top of the table. It wasn't a great performance but the Gunners didn't deserve any more or less than their draw. Having put in a top display against Napoli in the week it was no surprise to see that some of the players looked a little tired. Credit to West Brom though who didn't sit back and were full of confidence having beaten Man United last weekend. Arsenal had recently played their opponents in the League Cup where penalties were the deciding factor. There was none of that this time as the two sides had to settle for a draw.

There were two changes to the line-up from the win over Napoli. Jack Wilshere came back in place of Rosicky whilst Jenkinson came in for the injured Sagna. Nicklas Bendtner came off the bench as he made his first Arsenal league appearance in over 2 years.
Jack Wilshere scored as he put a difficult few days behind him
The first half saw an end to end game but Arsenal's defence switched off momentarily after a corner just before the break. That allowed Claudio Yacob to head home at the near post for his first strike in English football.West Brom and former Gunner Nicolas Anelka had two chances to seal the game in the second half though. First he failed to make a good enough contact from Berahino's cross and secondly fired wide of the far post when having acres of time and space.

Jack Wilshere had been a talking point leading up to the game. He had been pictured smoking outside a club. Something that Wenger was quick to address and said that the behavior wasn't acceptable. Wilshere also responded. He tweeted that he doesn't smoke and that it had been a mistake. His reaction on the pitch wasn't so good though. Since his injury he hasn't really been able to discover his best form. In recent months, football fans have slated him and claimed that he's over rated. As much as that may be the case, his talent is clear for all to see.

In the first half he put in what probably is his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. Out of position on the left, a position he'd played in earlier in his career, he had little impact. He didn't give the team much width and looked to come inside far too often. His drive and the pace at which he runs with the ball has been one of his major assets but it's been faltering recently. He's often taken too big a touch and has lost the ball and run straight into trouble. In the second half when Rosicky was brought on and Ramsey came off, Wilshere was allowed back into his preferred central role. He all of a sudden looked a completely different player. He scored the goal which got Arsenal a point with a fine strike, albeit it was deflected. Meanwhile he played the pass of the match at one point to split the defence and set Giroud up with a chance to score.

Wilshere could have problems getting into the squad when every first team midfielder is fit. On form he doesn't merit a place in my opinion. However Wenger admires him and said after the smoking incident that the young midfielder will always be a part of his plans at the club.

One thing's for sure though, Jack Wilshere is certainly a player that will not dwell on his mistakes on and off the pitch and will continue to remain confident in what he does.

The teams line-ups:

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Yacob, Mulumbu, Amalfitano(89), Sessegnon(78), Berahino, Anelka(69).
Subs: Daniels, Popov, Lugano, Morrison(78), Brunt(89), Rosenberg, Long(69).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey(58), Ozil, Wilshere, Giroud(85).
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Rosicky(58), Gnabry, Ryo, Bendtner(85). 

 Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 24,839

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