LONDON (Sporting Alert) — A second half goal from Danny Welbeck guided Arsenal to an English Premier League 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Gunners wasted several opportunities in the first half, but finally got on the scoresheet on the hour mark courtesy of the former Manchester United forward.
Playmaker Santi Cazorla made a skillful run down the left and skipped past Andre Wisdom before crossing inside the box for Welbeck to leap high and head past Ben Foster, who should be disappointed by his efforts to stop the attempt at goal.
“The clean sheet is very important. We always believe we will score goals, so if we get a clean sheet we feel we’ll win the game. It was a vital three points for us today,” Welbeck said afterwards.
“Getting towards the end of the game, they started lumping balls forward and made it uncomfortable for us but we defended well as a team. It’s only one game and the most important thing is to take it one game at a time. We’ve got to prepare correctly for every single match.
“The manager’s got a lot of options going forward, so once we’re on the pitch we’ve got to give 100% for Arsenal.”
The victory saw Arsenal moving back into the top four with 20 points from 13 games, but with a number of later kick-offs to come, Arsene Wenger’s side could drop out of the Champions League slots again.
“We played well but we couldn’t take our chances, sometimes because of the final ball, sometimes because of finishing,” Wenger said.
“After playing on Wednesday, we finished the game more looking more for solidarity because the legs were a bit jaded but we kept it together. We had a bit of luck but as well we had focus to defend to the end.”
Arsenal injured midfielder Mesut Ozil was delighted to see his teammates picking up the three points on the road.
He said on his Twitter Account: “Good job guys! Three very important points!”
Earlier Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal was had to leave the match early after he suffered a leg injury.
Monreal picked up the knock early in the first half when he collided with a West Bromwich player in the 13th minute.
The Spanish defender tried to shake off the problem, but as the match progressed the pain increased and manager Wenger had no choice but to make the substitution in the 22nd minute.
England international Kieran Gibbs replaced Monreal and he will be hoping for a good outing as he seeks to return to the national starting setup again.
Earlier striker Olivier Giroud returned to the starting lineup for Arsenal for the first time since August after he recovered from a broken leg.
He scored off the bench in the defeat against Manchester United last week and Arsene Wenger decided to start him at the center forward position — forcing Danny Welbeck out wide to play with Alexis Sanchez on the other side in the attack.
“I think it can work, with Danny Welbeck on the flank and Olivier Giroud more in the middle,” Wenger speaking told BT Sport.
“Alexis Sanchez is playing as well so let’s see if we can find the balance between attacking well and defending today.
“The dynamic in the group is very good, the desire is there. We want to add that defensive focus and get some clean sheets.”
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny is also back for his first start since October.