Match Reports

Albion v Arsenal match report

JAY Rodriguez struck an 89th minute penalty as Albion closed 2017 with a 1-1 draw with Arsenal on New Year's Eve.

The visitors looked set to claim all three points from an entertaining encounter when Alexis Sanchez struck with a deflected 83rd-minute free-kick.

But the Baggies, roared home by a season-high Hawthorns attendance of 26,223, snatched an equaliser at the death after Rodriguez converted from the spot; Calum Chambers adjudged to have handled in the area.

Following his sad passing on Boxing Day, the club paid a series of tributes to Richard Eades, 42, a much-loved Baggies stalwart with almost 30 years association, including his regular matchday duties as Baggie Bird sidekick Albi.

Albion's players, wearing black armbands, forced the first meaningful action of the encounter after just six minutes, Jay Rodriguez seeing his header kept out by Petr Cech.

Alexandre Lacazette saw his effort deflected narrowly wide before Alex Iwobi curled over when well placed on the edge of the penalty area.

Chris Brunt fired off target with a 20-yard free-kick and Granit Xhaka and Iwobi both tested Ben Foster amid a lively, albeit goalless, first 45 minutes.

Foster saved well with his feet to deny Lacazette on the hour mark before the Frenchman flicked a deft touch narrowly wide from Alexis Sanchez's throughball.

Ahmed Hegazi denied the Chile international with a superb sliding block before Cech kept out Rodriguez at the other end.

With the game heading for a goalless stalemate, Sanchez was felled by Craig Dawson outside the area. His free-kick bounced off James McClean in the home wall before finding the net, seeming to give Arsene Wenger three points in his record 811th Premier League game in charge.

It was a cruel blow for the Baggies who gave as good as they got across the 90 minutes. But Alan Pardew's men battled to the end and got their just rewards when former Gunner Kieran Gibbs' cross hit Calum Chambers on the arm inside the penalty area.

Mike Dean pointed to the spot - Albion's first penalty since September 2016 - and Rodriguez slammed home from 12 yards to send the home fans into raptures.

Albion now face a quick turnaround as they travel to West Ham United on Tuesday, January 2.

ALBION: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans (c), Gibbs, Phillips (McClean 72), Livermore, Barry, Brunt (Krychowiak 72), Rodriguez, Robson-Kanu (Nyom 75).

Subs: Myhill, McAuley, Yacob, Burke.

  • Home