Jack Wilshere cancelled out Claudio Yacob’s opener as Arsenal took a share of the spoils from their visit to Wes Bromwich Albion.
Baggies boss Steve Clarke made two changes to the XI that started their famous away win at Manchester United. Old Trafford scorer Saido Berahino and Nicolas Anelka replaced injured duo Victor Ancihebe and Scott Sinclair.
Arsene Wenger also made two alterations to a winning team. Bacary Sagna picked up a hamstring injury in the Gunners’ Champions League win over Napoli. Carl Jenkinson deputised. Wilshere also returned with Tomas Rosicky making way.
Young Berahino worked Wojciech Szczesny early on with a deflected strike for hosts Albion that forced the Arsenal keeper to readjust. It was a half of few chances as midfield congestion saw the sides cancel one another out.
Boaz Myhill in the home goal then made a reaction stop as Aaron Ramsey’s shot flew through the legs of Gunners teammate Olivier Giroud from a corner. It was a similar set piece frailty at the other end that the Baggies exploited to open the scoring.
Argentine midfielder Yacob headed home from Morgan Amalfitano’s near post cross as Arsenal failed to close out the second ball three minutes before half time. A frustrated Wilshere was then booked for a nasty challenge on the goalscorer.
Former Gunners star Anelka missed two big chance to extend Albion’s lead early in the second half. First he failed to get clean contact on a lovely Berahino cross. Laurent Koscielny later played Anelka onside and he ran in behind the home defence, but dinked wide.
Wilshere blazed over off-balance for Arsenal meanwhile with away fans screaming for a penalty as Billy Jones lunged in desperately. There was nothing doing from referee Lee Mason, however.
Rosicky’s introduction paid dividends for Wenger as he teed up Wilshere for the equaliser after the hour. A low volley diverted in off Baggies captain Jonas Olsson, leaving Myhill with no chance.
Szczesny pushed away a venomous strike from Jones at one end. Myhill then sprawled magnificently to stop Giroud from taking Wilshere’s through-ball round him at the other. Youssouf Mulumbu’s massive tackle then stopped Wilshere from scoring another himself.
Honours finished even and this result kept the Gunners in top spot on goals scored. Clarke will be happier with a point to add to that bonus three he took from fellow heavyweights United last time.
- WBA: 13 Boaz Myhill, 28 Billy Jones, 23 Gareth McAuley, 3 Jonas Olsson (c), 6 Liam Ridgewell, 5 Claudio Yacob, 21 Youssouf Mulumbu, 18 Morgan Amalfitano (11 Chris Brunt 89’), 29 Stephane Sessegnon (7 James Morrison 78’), 38 Saido Berahino, 39 Nicolas Anelka (9 Shane Long 69’) 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Claudio Yacob 42’
- Arsenal: 1 Wojciech Szczesny, 25 Carl Jenkinson, 4 Per Mertesacker, 6 Laurent Koscielny, 28 Kieran Gibbs, 16 Aaron Ramsey (7 Tomas Rosicky 59’), 20 Mathieu Flamini, 8 Mikel Arteta (c), 11 Mesut Ozil, 10 Jack Wilshere, 12 Olivier Giroud (23 Nicklas Bendtner 85’) 4-3-2-1
- Goals: Jack Wilshere 63’