Following the disappointing draw against Crystal Palace we needed to quickly bounce back as teams are catching us up and we have gone from being title challengers to fighting for the top four. (Sound familiar Arsenal fans?) This is part of the reason for the title as some fans have had enough and it was scheduled to be the lowest attendance at the Emirates.
Fortunately for us we had a relatively easy home game against West Brom who are safe from relegation and haven’t got anything to play for.
Wenger made three surprise changes to the side with Mertesacker, Ramsey and Giroud all coming in to replace Gabriel, Coquelin and Welbeck. I thought it was risky but maybe we need some change and all the players need to start proving themselves.
It was a weird situation as everywhere you looked you could see empty seats and I think the fact the game was played on a Thursday evening didn’t help. It was perhaps a warning though if we don’t finish in the top four as this would be a regular occurrence in the Europa League next season.
So the game kicked off and the fans who were at the game were soon rewarded as Alexis Sanchez got the opening goal after just 6 minutes with a well taken goal. He brilliantly turned ex Spurs player Sandro before hitting it in and he has now scored in his last four games showing he has back to his best. It was also the first time we had scored a goal outside of the box this year.
It was so important to get an early goal to ease the pressure and we dominated the game as a result. West Brom struggled to get into the game and create anything but did hit the post from a corner showing we needed to stay alert.
We did come close to a second goal with many chances and Foster nearly made a terrible mistake as Özil’s shot slipped through his hands only to be saved by a defender on the line. Bellerin also showed why he should be in the team of the season as he looked very dangerous going forward.
The score looked to stay at 1-0 until half time only for Alexis Sanchez to strike again. This time it was from a free kick which completely beat Foster in goal and it virtually put the game to bed baring a disaster in the second half. It also meant we had scored two goals outside the box now so just like London buses.
The second half was similar to the first as we dominated and should have scored some more. West Brom managed to keep in the game though and could have got one back when their corner went past everyone only for substitute striker Rondon to miss an open goal.
It was a wake up call for us and we then cruised until the end creating chances but we couldn’t add to the scoreline and it finished 2-0.
It was perhaps one of the most comfortable games of the season for us and we didn’t have to play that well but again it was too little too late as we are virtually out of the title race now. It was also a typical end of season game where both teams looked a bit tired and didn’t have much to play for.
The win means we went above Man City into third and we are now only 5 points behind rivals Spurs and 10 points behind leaders Leicester with four games left. Next up for us is Sunderland away and it will be a tough game as they are fighting for survival but I expect us to win and make sure we at least stay in the top four.
But being in the top four isn’t enough for us in my opinion as we should be challenging until the very end at least. This is why there was a lack of fans at the game but it isn’t easy to win the league. I think Wenger deserves to leave when he wants after what he has done for the club and he should stay next season as it is in his contract and really go for it one last time!
Is it time for Wenger to go? Who should replace him?