EPL: Rejuvenated Arsenal Thrash West Brom
Alexandre Lacazette scored twice as Arsenal further eased their early season struggles by thrashing West Brom 4-0 at a snow covered Hawthorns on Saturday.
After seven Premier League games without a win, the Gunners have now won three in a week to dampen talk of a relegation fight and move back into contention for the European places.
Kieran Tierney’s stunning solo goal opened the floodgates as Sam Allardyce’s men have now conceded nine times in two games.
Bukayo Saka rounded off a brilliant team move to double the visitors’ lead before Lacazette struck twice in four second-half minutes.
West Brom are yet to win in four games since Allardyce took charge and the former England manager needs to quickly instill the defensive discipline he has made his trademark at previous clubs if the Baggies are to have any chance of survival.
Just over a week ago Allardyce said Arsenal were in a battle against the drop, but Mikel Arteta’s decision to finally put faith in his crop of talented youngsters has turned his side’s season around.
Saka was again the shining light, while Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe also impressed.
Arsenal’s poor run was principally caused by a struggle to score goals, but they were a threat from the off despite the treacherous conditions.
Sam Johnstone denied Hector Bellerin and Saka inside the first 10 minutes, but he was powerless to stop Tierney’s stunning opener on 23 minutes.
The Scotland international left Darnell Furlong trailing in his wake before cutting inside onto his weaker right foot and curling into the top corner.
Arsenal’s second was reminiscent of their flowing football at the height of the Arsene Wenger era as Saka fed Lacazette, whose brilliant pass played Smith Rowe in behind the West Brom defence and he squared for Saka to tap into an empty net.
The one way traffic continued after the break and some comical West Brom defending led to the third as Semi Ajayi smashed a dangerous cross off his own post and the ball broke to Lacazette to apply a simple finish.
Moments later another raid from Tierney down the left teed up Lacazette for another finish from point-blank range.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has missed out on Arsenal’s return to scoring form over the past eight days as he turned a glorious chance from Willian’s mishit shot over before Johnstone produced another fine save from the Gunners’ captain.
However, four goals were more than enough to prove Arsenal’s return to form as they moved to within six points of the top four with two favourable fixtures against Crystal Palace and Newcastle to come.
West Brom on the other hand remain six points adrift of safety and showing little sign of life since Allardyce’s arrival.