West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: Player Ratings
In the last game of 2017, Arsenal and West Brom were tasked with the impossible mission of sending out the year with a bang. The two teams failed woefully, as all they gave us was a controversial but lacklustre affair. When a match is overshadowed by a refereeing decision rather than the performance of players, it says more about the quality of football displayed.
A wrongly given penalty was enough for Jay Rodriguez and West Brom to gain a valuable point in the final game of the year. Once the war of words between Arsène Wenger and the FA are said & done, Arsenal are 5th in the league while West Brom stay joint-bottom.
Amidst all that controversy, there were some stand-out performers in West Brom’s crucial 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Here’s how the players rated.
Ben Foster: 6/10
The Albion keeper was only tested once in the first half, but in the second, Arsenal cranked up the pressure. Foster made a miraculous total of 4 saves, only being beaten by a deflected Sanchez free-kick.
Matt Phillips: 7/10
Playing as an offensive right wing-back, Philipps regularly became West Brom’s main attacking outlet. His willingness to take on Kolašinac first and then Niles offered Alan Pardew a constant threat. The 26-year-old completed 2 dribbles, created 2 chances and mustered 1 shot on target.
Craig Dawson: 7/10
As the right-sided CB, Dawson was faced with the challenge of facing Alexis Sanchez every time he ventured centrally. Dawson won 6 aerial duels, made 7 clearances, intercepted 3 passes and squared up to Kolašinac every time he entered the final third.
Ahmed Hegazi: 5/10
The Egyptian centre-back was the odd one out in West Brom’s back three. Whenever Arsenal passed their way through Albion’s defence, it was because of his inability to hold a defensive line.
Jonny Evans: 6/10
Once touted as Manchester City’ next centre-back, Jonny Evans looked erratic and void of composure against the Gunners. Alexandre Lacazette often ran in behind him, creating space for others.
Kieran Gibbs: 5/10
Against his former club, Kieran Gibbs showed us why he never quite made the cut at the Emirates. Although he won all his tackles, he only made 27 passes throughout the game.
Gareth Barry: 6/10
One of the Premier League’s longest-serving players showed the world why experience matters so much in football. Without Mesut Özil to mark, Barry was faced with a fluid midfield three of Jack Wilshere, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi to defend against.
Jake Livermore: 5/10
As the ball-winning CM of Alan Pardew’s system, Livermore’s job was to press Xhaka and Wilshere into making mistakes. That was his main role and that’s why he only mustered up a 67% pass accuracy.
Chris Brunt: 6/10
Usually a left-back, Chris Brunt was asked to be part of a midfield three. Pardew wanted to use the 33-year-old’s bursting energy to disrupt Arsenal’s flow of play. Brunt was meant to be a box-to-box midfielder but ended up playing as a second holding midfielder.
Jay Rodriguez: 7/10
Despite only scoring 3 goals all season, Jay Rodriguez still had the composure and courage to step up and take West Brom’s wrongly given penalty. Once he stepped up, there was never any real doubt in Alan Pardew’s mind and through Rodriguez, Albion lifted from 20th to 19th.
Hal Robson-Kanu: 6/10
It was only in the second half that Robson-Kanu found any joy against Arsenal’s back three. Regularly running at Chambers and Mustafi, forcing them to drift out wide with him.
James McClean: 6/10
Brought on to help intensify West Brom’s press, the Irishman maintained pressure on Arsenal’s midfield in his short time on the pitch.
Gregory Krychowiak: 6/10
The loanee came on to sure up the midfield and put more bodies behind the ball.
Allan Nyom: N/A
With limited time to impact the game, Nyom helped maintain energy down the flanks