Arsenal were able to clinch their third victory of the Premier League season, as an Alexandre Lacazette brace powered a 2-0 win versus West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium.
With Alexis Sanchez returning to the XI and Mesut Özil back on the bench, two goals in either half from Lacazette sealed the win for Arsène Wenger’s men, maintaining their 100% record at home this season.
On his 100th appearance for the club, Alexis was the first to come close to breaking the deadlock with an early free-kick, leaving Ben Foster rooted to his spot before floating his attempt past the far-post.
Arsenal then found themselves in all kinds of trouble in the 8th minute when Shkodran Mustafi brought Jay Rodriguez down inside the box, with the ex-Southampton forward shelving his penalty claim to force a save onto the woodwork by Petr Čech when getting back on his own two feet.
From the subsequent rebound, Jake Livermore could’ve also found the back of the net but would fire wide instead.
The Gunners responded to the scare and would find their way through in the 20th minute, as another dangerous set-piece from Alexis brought Foster into action and left Lacazette with an open goal to nod into, subsequently becoming the first Arsenal player to score in his first three appearances at the Emirates Stadium.
Tony Pulis’ men came close once more to finding joy against Arsenal on the break, led by Grzegorz Krychowiak before picking out Rodriguez’s head at the back post, but Nacho Monreal was on hand to anticipate the move in behind Čech and clear the Englishman’s effort off the line.
With the North Londoners’ vulnerability from crosses again showing in the final five minutes of the first period, Rodriguez came close to finding an equaliser from the corridor of uncertainty on two separate occasions, as Arsenal held onto their 1-0 lead prior to the half-time interval.
The hosts neared goal number two through Lacazette and, later, via a near-post Mustafi header in the early knockings of the second half, with Wenger’s men beginning to impose themselves fully on proceedings.
Courtesy of an innocuous Allan Nyom barge on Aaron Ramsey inside the box, Arsenal were given the chance to double their lead in the 67th minute from the spot, which would be duly taken by their record signing, Lacazette.
In the 70th minute, the former Olympique Lyonnais striker could well have wrapped up the game, as well as his hat-trick, when evading the committed Foster and slicing his half-volley over from a fairly acute angle.
Ramsey also had the chance to add the finishing touches to Arsenal’s display in a quick counter-attack spearheaded by Özil and Olivier Giroud, but the Welshman could only find the feet of Foster with his strike in the 88th minute.
A third goal wouldn’t be required, however, as the 7th-placed Gunners cruised through the latter stages of the game to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Petr Čech (6) – Laurent Koscielny (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Nacho Monreal (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (5), Sead Kolasinac (7) – Aaron Ramsey (6), Alexandre Lacazette (7), Alexis Sanchez (8)
Subs: Olivier Giroud (6), Mesut Özil (6), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (N/A)