Arse­nal lose ground in West Brom de­feat

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

West Brom 2

Arse­nal 1

Arse­nal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as they suf­fered a 2-1 loss away to West Bromwich Al­bion yes­ter­day France in­ter­na­tional Olivier Giroud headed his ninth goal in 11 matches from a Me­sut Ozil free-kick to give Arsene Wenger’s visi­tors hope of a sixth win in seven league matches. But two lax pieces of de­fend­ing be­fore half-time, and a late Santi Ca­zorla penalty miss, al­lowed West Brom to claim vic­tory-their first over Arse­nal at the Hawthorns since 2005. James Mor­ri­son got free to turn in Chris Brunt’s free-kick with his shin, be­fore Mikel Arteta di­verted a cross into his own net via his arm and his thigh.

It was not the re­sult Arse­nal wanted ahead of Tues­day’s must-win Cham­pi­ons League tie against Di­namo Za­greb. Giroud, along with France team-mate Lau­rent Ko­scielny, was named in Arse­nal’s start­ing line-up af­ter the trauma of be­ing caught up in the Paris at­tacks eight days ago, in which 130 peo­ple died. Wenger had noted in the build-up to the match that Ko­scielny, in par­tic­u­lar, had been deeply af­fected by the at­tacks, which in­cluded a num­ber of ex­plo­sions out­side the Stade de France, where France were play­ing Ger­many in a friendly. Arse­nal’s French man­ager, though, was sat­is­fied that the cen­tral de­fender was in the right frame of mind to play. The in­jury-hit visi­tors suf­fered an early set­back as mid­fielder Fran­cis Co­quelin limped off af­ter jar­ring his knee in a chal­lenge with Clau­dio Ya­cob. They did, though, have the bet­ter of the open­ing half-hour, with Alexis Sanchez’s floated free-kick well held by keeper Boaz My­hill, and were first to score. Al­bion’s de­fense switched off as Ozil’s free-kick, swung in from the right, was glanced in by an un­marked Giroud.

Brief lead

Arse­nal’s ad­van­tage lasted just five min­utes, how­ever, as they were un­done by a set-piece at the other end. Brunt lifted in a free-kick from just in­side the visi­tors’ half, and Mor­ri­son sneaked in be­hind Hec­tor Bel­lerin to vol­ley the equal­izer from seven yards. It got worse for Arse­nal five min­utes be­fore half-time, with the ex­cel­lent James McClean do­ing the dam­age. McClean, who had caused prob­lems with an early low ball that whizzed across goal, burst past Bel­lerin on to Salomon Ron­don’s pass, and drove in a de­liv­ery that was turned into his own net by Arteta, on as a sub­sti­tute for the in­jured Co­quelin. —AFP

WEST BROMWICH: West Brom’s Solomon Ron­don (right) bat­tles with Arse­nal’s Mathieu Flamini (front left) and Arse­nal’s Per Merte­sacker dur­ing the English Premier League soc­cer match be­tween West Bromwich Al­bion and Arse­nal at the Hawthorns yes­ter­day. — AP

WEST BROMWICH:

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