Arsenal overcame the wintery conditions to batter West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at the Hawthorns, as Mikel Arteta’s men continued their mini-resurgence.
The Gunners took the lead on 22 minutes, when Kieran Tierney cut in from the left flank and fired a wonderful strike into the top corner on his weaker right foot. The visitors doubled their advantage mere minutes later, after Bukayo Saka tapped home to round off a beautiful, flowing team move.
Arsenal killed the game on the hour mark, with Alexandre Lacazette stroking the ball past Sam Johnstone, after Semi Ajayi almost turned a clearance into his own net. The Frenchman then nudged the final goal of the game over the line from a whipped Tierney cross to condemn West Brom to another defeat, and continue the Gunners’ mini-revival.
Let’s have a look at the player ratings from a goal-filled evening in the snow at the Hawthorns.
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 5/10 – Made an early save to deny Bellerin smartly. Could do nothing to keep out Tierney’s wonder strike. Left completely marooned for the second, third and fourth, too.
Darnell Furlong (RB) – 5/10 – Allowed Tierney inside to have a crack at goal far too easily. Big Sam will be fuming. A poor display from the full-back.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 5/10 – Couldn’t cope with Lacazette’s hunger, and left exposed by Furlong’s poor positioning on a number of occasions. Spared from scoring a hilarious own goal by hitting the post.
Branislav Ivanovic (CB) – 4/10 – Looked miles off the pace and not up to standard for the Baggies. Had no answer for Arsenal’s fluid movement. Subbed through injury – a small mercy.
Dara O’Shea (LB) – 5/10 – Bombarded down that left side by the flying Saka and Bellerin. Torn apart as the Gunners relentlessly targeted his flank. A tough evening for the defender.
Romaine Sawyers (CM) – 5/10 – Did not score a hilarious own goal this time, thus making an immediate improvement on his last outing. Still, not sure he contributed anything positive to the performance.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 6/10 – Wanted to make a difference, but his talents were restricted in such a rigid and uninspiring system. A slog of a 90 minutes.
Matt Phillips (CM) – 5/10 – Out of position, but used in the centre for his energy and pressing. Had no impact. He is a winger, after all.
Matheus Pereira (RW) – 5/10 – Anonymous, and cut a very frustrated figure. Put in the work in terms of running, but not allowed to demonstrate what his game is all about.
Callum Robinson (ST) – 6/10 – Who wants to be a lone striker in an Allardyce football team? Jeez. So little to shout about for Robinson on Saturday, but not his fault at all. Did have a goal disallowed for offside.
Grady Diangana (LW) – 4/10 – Not sure if he touched the ball in the first half. Never got in the game, and the ball didn’t come his way often enough to have a sniff. Subbed at half-time.
Charlie Austin (ST) – 5/10
Kyle Bartley (CB) – 6/10
Rakeem Harper (CM) – N/A
Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – Spare a thought for the coldest man in The Hawthorns. Nothing to do, and would have turned into a snowman if he hadn’t kept himself busy with individual warm-ups.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – 7/10 – Flashed an early shot towards goal, but saw his effort saved. Much better than recent displays, and delivered in both halves of the pitch.
Rob Holding (CB) – 8/10 – Resolute and commanding in his duties, while posing a threat in the Baggies’ penalty area, too. Comfortable.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 7/10 – Stepped out of defence with the ball well, given his lack of defensive work required. A quiet evening for the centre-back.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 8/10 – Got Arsenal off the mark with a brilliant strike on his supposedly weaker foot, crashing the ball into the top corner. Never relented from his offensive duties, supplying the fourth with a great cross.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – 8/10 – Always looking to penetrate the West Brom defence with direct, vertical passing, while not lacking bite in the tackle, either.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – Disciplined from the off, and showed no signs of the Mr Hyde to his Dr Jekyll. Kept Arsenal ticking and snuffed out potential dangers – not that there were many.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 8/10 – Made a beautiful run behind the West Brom defence to completely carve them open for the second goal, selflessly rolling the ball across for Saka.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – 9/10 – Continued his good form, using his direct running to good effect and terrifying his marker. Tapped home the second goal – couldn’t miss from there. Brilliant again.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 9/10 – Produced a lovely around-the-corner ball to send Smith Rowe in for the second. Killed the game with two clinical second-half goals.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW) – 7/10 – Drifted infield and created spaces down the left flank for Tierney to exploit. Still not getting in those goalscoring positions.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (RB) – 7/10
Willian (RW) – 6/10
Joe Willock (CM) – 6/10