KARACHI: A Danny Welbeck header in the second half saw Arsenal leave The Hawthorns with all three points to go back into the top four in the early Premier League kick-off.
Few chances were created in a slow first half, with Welbeck being denied smartly by Ben Foster to keep the score at 0-0 going into the break. However, it was a bit more open after the break and Welbeck rose highest to send home a bullet header after some superb work out wide by man-of-the-match Santi Cazorla to give Arsenal the lead.
The Bagpies rallied late on and Saido Berahino hit the crossbar in the dying minutes of the game. However, Arsenal held on to record only their fifth win of the season.
The Saints and the Sky Blues
Southampton sit proud in second place but will now have their trial of fire as they face defending champions Manchester City at the Saint Mary’s Stadium.
Despite losing several of their key players and their manager last year, Southampton are defying the odds yet again and are two points ahead of the visitors. New manager Ronald Koeman is confident of his side holding their own against the champions. “I have not seen a better team than us in these 12 games and we have played Liverpool and Tottenham,” he said. “Maybe on Sunday, but we will see.”
City, meanwhile, cannot afford to drop anymore points as their start-stop season has already seen them lose considerable ground to leaders Chelsea, with the league’s top-scorer Sergio Aguero being one of the only bright lights of a poor season so far and Manuel Pellegrini was quick to highlight the importance of the striker. “It is not the same, playing without Aguero as with Aguero,” he said. “I am always asking and demanding that he tries to be the best player, because he has all the conditions to do that.”
Six-pointer for European hopefuls
Everton and Tottenham may be languishing in ninth and 10th place but both sides will have genuine European aspirations and will be hoping to make it into the top four as the traditional bigwigs stutter.
With both sides separated by goal difference on 17 points, the match may be vital in deciding which of the two sides finishes above the other.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ