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West Bromwich Albion 2 - 3 Arsenal: match report, third place

this was the only picture
this was the only picture

0 - 1 Yossi Benayoun 4'
1 - 1 Shane Long 12'
2 - 1 Graeme Dorrans 15'
2 - 2 Andre Santos 30'
2 - 3 Laurent Koscielny 55'

Arsene Wenger elected to start Carl Jenkinson at right back and Francis Coquelin in midfield alongside Alex Song. Aaron Ramsey started on the bench (was this a reaction to last week's concessions?) and Andre Santos started a left back. Theo Walcott would start on the bench.

The match would start out in utter disaster for West Brom's keeper, Martin Fulop. The ball rolled back to him, and under pressure from Yossi Benayoun, he couldn't decided whether to pick it up or kick it away, and in the end, he did neither, the ball rolling away from his foot for Benayoun to tap into the empty net.

0-1, Arsenal, 4'.

It would be important for the Gunners to keep pressing and make sure that they remained solid, but this is Arsenal, and West Brom immediately won a corner which eventually was cleared.

11 minutes in, West Brom would find their way back in. Alex Song lost the ball and didn't get right side of his man, who strode forward and played a ball through to Shane Long. Long was offside, but no call was forthcoming, and Wojciech Szczesny hesitated to come out of his goal, was caught in no-man's land, and Long slotted home past him.

1-1. 12'.

It wouldn't be long before more or less the same kind of thing would happen. James Morrison would have all the time in the world to move forward and pick out a long ball, this time to Graeme Dorrans, who, despite being in the vicinity of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, took a turn, one touch, and buried it past Szczesny.

2-1. 15'.

Benayoun blasted a volley over the bar on 19 minutes. Gervinho did some things getting to the byline, but it was to no avail, as WBA had all their defenders very deep. Robin van Persie won a free kick on 28 minutes inside the D; van Persie hit it into the wall.

Arsenal were applying pressure now, and they were starting to press again. 30 minutes in, they forced WBA into a mistake, and Andre Santos did something. He jinked through their defense and unleashed a rocket that Fulop got a hand to, but to no avail.

2-2, 30'.

The game sort of sputtered a bit after that. van Persie earned a yellow card on 39 minutes for a very hard late tackle on McCauley.

Halftime arrived. Theo Walcott would emerge at the start of the second half in place of Tomas Rosicky...which was an interesting change. Benayoun would move into the middle behind van Persie. Early on, Morrison would go racing down the left, and under some pressure from Carl Jenkinson, his leg sort of went, and he would have to exit the match.

Santos would have a pop on 51 minutes from distance, but it flashed wide of the far post. Keith Andrews would come on in place of Morrison. The game was pretty back and forth, Arsenal having to survive corners and trying to counter to little avail.

55 minutes in, Fulop would do it again. An Arsenal corner came in, and he appeared to catch it before he...dropped it. He just dropped it, and Koscielny was all over it.

2-3, 55'.

68 minutes, Gibbs came on for Gervinho. The Ivorian had had a tough day at the office. Walcott got onto the end of a pass on 73 minutes, but could not locate Benayoun amongst the WBA trees, and the chance was cleared.

Peter Odemwingie replaced Simon Cox on 74.

Graeme Dorrans would exit for Paul Scharner on 80 minutes. Aaron Ramsey would replace Andre Santos at the same time. Marc-Andre Fortune's shot would go wide on 82 minutes. Shane Long nearly played Odemwingie through on 84 minutes, but it was just a bit too far, and Arsenal escaped again. WBA had a free kick from the side of the box on 88 minutes, which Szczesny caught.

Gibbs made a tremendous block on 92 minutes, after van Persie had missed a half chance at the other end. Arsenal needed to hang on...

... and they did. Mike Jones blew for full time. Arsenal win. Third place.