Two first half goals from Alexis Sánchez were enough for Arsenal to comfortably beat West Bromwich Albion and head into third on Thursday night.
Aaron Ramsey came into midfield to partner Mohamed Elneny while Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud replaced Gabriel and Danny Welbeck in the side.
It didn’t take long for the new midfield to link up and move the ball around quickly, with Ramsey finding Alexis Sánchez outside the box. A swift turn left Sandro standing and Alexis smashed his fourth goal in as many games beyond Ben Foster. Six minutes and Arsenal had the lead.
West Brom responded fairly well to hit the bar from a corner but Gareth McAuley’s effort was to be their only significant one of the first half. If his header striking the woodwork was a worry for the Gunners, the Baggies had a similar moment when Ben Foster let a simple effort slip through his hands. Luckily for the goalkeeper, Craig Dawson was behind him and cleared the ball off the line.
Alexis’ grabbed his second of the night shortly before the break. Ramsey won a free-kick well on the edge of the box and, after a little posturing, Alexis took the free-kick instead of Özil. Foster was bamboozled, Arsenal’s lead doubled.
A rare calm second half didn’t see the game put to bed despite a number of half chances. Arsenal managed to tee up Mesut Özil on a couple of occasions but West Brom’s defenders and Ben Foster were on hand to keep the game within sight.
There was a brief moment of panic with just over 10 minutes to go as Petr Čech misjudged a corner. Fortunately, it was nothing but a scare. It was the last Arsenal fans would suffer until the weekend.
A solid win sees the Gunners into third and with a four point cushion to fifth-placed Manchester United.