Arsenal 2 WBA 0
A goal by Lacazette in each half was enough.
Arsenal started brightly but were lucky after 8 minutes when Jay Rodriguez was brought down by Mustafi in the box.
Seen in replay, Mustafi’s challenge was Sunday League standard : grotesque and embarrassing. A stonewall penalty in any league.
Instead of rolling around and screaming, Rodriguez got up and fired a shot which Petr Cech tipped onto the far post and the rebound went to Jake Livermore, who muffed the chance, shooting well wide with his left foot.
Rodriguez said he waited for Bobby Madley’s whistle and when he didn’t hear it he got up and had a shot.
I’m thinking: If the ref’s not gonna give a pen for that, West Brom have no chance!
After 19, Sanchez took a free-kick from the edge of the box and Ben Foster made a superb save and the Lacazette nodded in the rebound from five yards. All poachers are optimists: they think the ball will come to them and this time it did.
It seemed that a good contest would develop. It was quite a lively game.
When West Brom broke on the left and header by Rodriguez beat Cech but the agile Monreal cleared off the line with both feet off the ground. A very risky clearance but he executed beautifully.
Second half, Arsenal completely outplayed the visitors. And their second goal was a gift.
Right back Nyom made a kamikaze challenge on Ramsey when the ball was going over the byeline and Ramsey could not have reached it.
Lacazette was clinical from the spot and Arsenal went 2-0 up in 67.
The most lackadaisical of Alexis Sanchez’s 150 games for Arsenal? Where was the fire? Where was the focus?
Roll on Belarussia on Thursday. Bate Borisov may have more ideas than West Brom did.
But will Sanchez be galvanised by the challenge of Bate? Let’s wait and see.
In the meantime, I’m going out to hug my knees and roll gently across my sacrum.