EPL 2016/17: Arsenal 1-0 West Bromwich Albion - Player Ratings
A late Giroud goal secured all three points for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger breathed a sigh of relief as an 86th-minute winner from Olivier Giroud secured all three points for Arsenal against an inspired Baggies defence. West Brom defended with all their heart and was looking for a match which would intensify the 'Wenger Out' brigade. But Giroud, who was given a surprise start, had other ideas as the Frenchman finally broke the deadlock to give Arsenal all three points.
With the victory, Arsenal are now level on points with Liverpool, who play on Tuesday, whereas West Brom drop to the ninth spot with 23 points in the bag for Tony Pulis' side.
Let's take a look at the player ratings from the match between Arsenal and West Brom which took place at the Emirates on the festive occasion of Boxing day:
Petr Cech - 6.5/10
Cech had very little to do and was a mere spectator for the majority of the game. He commanded his area well in the few times that he had to come off his line.
Hector Bellerin - 7/10
The youngster was brilliant throughout the 90 minutes as he contributed to Arsenal's attacks right from kick-off and provided an extra man in Gunners going forward.
Gabriel - 6/10
The Brazilian was a calming presence at the back and was good with his feet too. He should start to threaten more in Arsenal's set pieces and utilise his strength and height to more use.
Laurent Koscielny - 6/10
Like Cech, the Frenchman has been a colossal presence for Arsenal this season but had very little to do against the Baggies and he did well when he was required to do his job.
Kieran Gibbs - 6.5/10
Gibbs made his first start of the season and made a lasting impression before being subbed off with an injury. His final ball was disappointing but the work rate on display by Gibbs was commendable.
Granit Xhaka - 6.5/10
Again, a commanding display from the Swiss international as he ran the show for the Gunners with his brilliant passing. It was a disciplined performance from Xhaka and his importance for Arsenal is growing with each passing game.
Francis Coquelin - 6/10
Coquelin read the game brilliantly and nipped West Brom's attacks. He was substituted for an attacking option in the final quarter of the game but had made his mark on the game by then.
Alex Iwobi - 6.5/10
The youngster showed quick feet in the first half as he linked up well with Sanchez and Giroud to create few chances in the first 45 minutes.
Mesut Ozil - 7/10
Ozil was disappointing for the lion’s share of the game but made an important contribution when it mattered the most. He provided an inch-perfect cross for Giroud to head home and keep burning Arsenal's title hopes flame.
Alexis Sanchez - 7.5/10
Sanchez was exemplary throughout the game and stamped his class on the field. His touch, movement, awareness was on display as he asked many questions to the resolute Baggy defence.
Olivier Giroud - 7.5/10
It was the first start of the season for the Frenchman and he celebrated that with a well-deserved winner. Arsenal's best chance was created in the 86th minute and it fell to the perfect man as Giroud headed in a looping header to beat Ben Foster.
Nacho Monreal - 6/10
Monreal was brought on to replace the injured Gibbs and did not put a foot wrong.
Lucas Perez - 6.5/10
Perez had 20 minutes to make an impression and he certainly make a good one as he linked well with Monreal and Giroud.
Aaron Ramsey - 6/10
Ramsey was back after a long injury and provided what Arsenal was missing from midfield – energy and driving runs forward. He had a shot saved on the line as he tested West Brom's defence continuously.
West Bromwich Albion
Ben Foster - 8/10
He did everything in his power to win a point for his side as he made saves left, right and centre for his team. Foster put in a man of the match display for the Baggies.
Craig Dawson - 5.5/10
Dawson was sloppy at the start but grew into the game as the match went on. He handled the threat of Iwobi well and negated his impact for Arsenal.
Gareth McAuley - 6/10
It was turning out to be a fine evening for McAuley until Giroud scored the winner for the home side. He cleared the ball and positioned brilliantly to stop Arsenal's attacks.
Jonny Evans - 7.5/10
One of Evans' best performance in recent times, he was brilliant from the word go and is a major reason for West Brom to be doing so well this season. His leadership from the back has been crucial for the Baggies.
Allan Nyom - 6.5/10
Nyom handled Bellerin's threat well to some extent and was also efficient in getting forward and putting in some deliveries into Arsenal's box.
Claudio Yacob - 6/10
Yacob made some crucial interceptions and man marked Ozil well at times. He should have done well with the chance that was presented to him when the score was still goalless.
Darren Fletcher - 5/10
The former Manchester United man was not at his usual best as he was a bit slow to react to situations and failed to create opportunities in attack for the visitors.
Chris Brunt - 6/10
He showed immense work rate and was brilliant in delivering set pieces. Brunt was left isolated at times on the flank when in possession.
Nacer Chadli - 5.5/10
Chadli was highly ineffective against Gunners and was rightly taken off at the hour mark. He should have done more to trouble the overlapping Arsenal full0backs.
Matthew Philips - 6/10
A typical performance from Phillips as he did his designated job to the tee and tracked back well. His final delivery failed him at times which dented his showing.
Solomon Rondon - 5.5/10
Rondon cannot be criticised as West Brom hardly attacked to deliver something for him to feed on.
James McClean - 5.5/10
McClean replaced Chadli but could impact the game and didn’t offer anything different to Chadli.
Hal Robson-Kanu - N/A
The Welsh international was a late substitute and hardly had any time to make an impact.