Five things we learned as Arsenal's woeful run continued at West Brom

Ben Burrows
The Independent
Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal had another day to forget: Getty
Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal had another day to forget: Getty

Arsenal's season went from bad to worse with defeat at West Brom leaving their hopes of a top four finish looking bleaker than ever.

Goals from Craig Dawson - an almost identical brace - and another from substitute Hal Robson-Kanu saw the Gunners slip to defeat and further detached from the race for the Champions League.

Here's what we learned:

Arsenal fans divided

Wenger in or Wenger out, that is the question. If you needed any more evidence of how split Arsenal have become as a club here it was at the Hawthorns. First, a plane flew over the ground at kick-off with a banner emblazoned with the words “No new contract #WengerOut” on it. Then came a second plane, halfway through the first-half, with an “In Arsene We Trust #Respect” message. If Gunners fans can’t decide what they want, how are the board supposed to? Arsenal are a club divided off the pitch and it isn’t what they need on the pitch either.

Defence the best form of attack for West Brom

West Brom might not have a guaranteed 20-goal-per-season striker – but who needs one when your centre-backs score for fun in its place? Craig Dawson got the Baggies on the board with a header from a 12th minute corner – the 13th time they have done so from such a scenario this term - and went on to add a second to compound the Gunners' misery. They were the 26-year-old’s first and second of the year but was the tenth from a central defender this season. Jonny Evans also has one while Gareth McAuley has an incredible six, all at 37 years young.

Craig Dawson celebrates scoring against Arsenal (Getty)
Craig Dawson celebrates scoring against Arsenal (Getty)

Sanchez’s rough treatment

Antonio Conte wasn’t at all pleased with Manchester United’s treatment of Eden Hazard on Monday evening and you can expect a similar response from Arsene Wenger after Alexis Sanchez was targeted with some very rough treatment from the home side. Tony Pulis understandably had no intention of giving the Chilean the freedom of the West Midlands this afternoon. But there’s playing hard and there’s crossing the line. A particularly meaty James McClean challenge in the first half fell firmly into the latter category and was representative of a very physical gameplan designed to counteract the Gunners’ star man.

Alexis Sanchez had a tough afternoon (Getty)
Alexis Sanchez had a tough afternoon (Getty)

Walcott’s bad week

It’s not been the best few days for Theo Walcott. First he was snubbed by Gareth Southgate for a place in the England squad (on his birthday no less). Then today he completed 65 almost completely ineffectual minutes before being hooked in favour of Olivier Giroud as Arsenal chased an equaliser. Walcott has enjoyed one of his best seasons in recent memory but is in danger of seeing it petering out, much like his team, with more performances like this one.

Robson-Kanu the ultimate super-sub

Robson-Kanu is the Premier League’s most frequently used substitute this season. And he showed exactly why this afternoon against Arsenal. Just moments after coming on for Salomon Rondon the Welsh international fired home. 75 seconds. Two touches. One goal. Talk about making an impact from the bench.

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