ALBION fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal in today’s lunchtime kick-off in the Barclays Premier League.
Danny Welbeck proved the difference at The Hawthorns on the hour mark, rising highest to meet Santi Cazorla’s cross from close range and power a header home despite the best efforts of Ben Foster.
Saido Berahino headed against the crossbar with ten minutes remaining before Craig Gardner went close as the Baggies searched for a route back into the game, but it was not to be.
Welbeck’s solitary header consigned Albion to a third successive reverse, albeit with two of those coming against Chelsea and now the Gunners.
And with West Ham the next visitors to the midlands as early as Tuesday night, Alan Irvine’s side will be determined to get back to winning ways.
Sebastien Pocognoli, fit again after a hamstring injury, and Youssouf Mulumbu, making his 200th appearance for the club in all competitions, returned to Albion’s starting XI.
Albion’s home support were roused by The Liquidator prior to kick-off although the first half of the encounter was largely a cagey affair.
Foster was called upon to make the first save of the day after 26 minutes, denying Welbeck.
Aaron Ramsey pulled an effort narrowly wide after 37 minutes, before Berahino had the ball in the net at the other end but was denied by the offside flag.
It was the same story at the start of the second period although television replays showed the Baggies frontman to be onside as he raced clean through on goal.
Berahino was proving a lively threat after the restart and put a shot into the side-netting from a difficult angle.
Pocognoli’s superb headed interception prevented Alexis Sanchez from a goalscoring opportunity, but the visitors were not to be denied after 60 minutes.
Cazorla got the better of Andre Wisdom down the right and crossed for Welbeck, who leapt above Pocognoli and saw his header find the net despite the best efforts of Foster.
Berahino almost pulled the hosts level as his header from substitute Cristian Gamboa’s right-wing cross came back off the bar.
Gardner then found the side-netting from the edge of the penalty area as Albion pressed for a leveller but it proved in vein as the Gunners claimed all three points.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Lescott, Dawson, Pocognoli (Gamboa 74’), Gardner, Mulumbu (Anichebe 64’), Brunt, Dorrans, Sessegnon (Samaras 76’), Berahino.
Subs: Myhill, McAuley, Baird, Ideye.
BOOKED: Dorrans (foul 53’), Gamboa (foul 84’)
Arsenal: Martinez, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal (Gibbs 23’), Flamini, Ramsey, Welbeck, Alexis, Cazorla, Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain 78’).
Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Rosicky, Campbell, Podolski.
GOAL: Welbeck (60’)
BOOKED: Oxlade-Chamberlain (foul 90’)
Referee: Chris Foy (Lancashire)
Albion star man: Graham Dorrans