Arsenal 3-0 West Bromwich Albion: Efficient and Drama-Free

Due to the lack of legitimate television coverage (and the fact that thanks to our wonderful public transport system, I missed the first 17 minutes), this won't be the usual comprehensive report.

That said, I think we can all agree that this was a professional, composed performance against a side that took four points off of us last term (albeit all at the hands of Manuel Almunia). West Brom never seriously threatened at any point in this contest, and while they gave an honest effort and even defended well at times, Arsenal took their chances when it counted and took all three points on the day.

From what I can gather, I did not miss much in the time I spent on the N train cursing everyone involved with the MTA. Before I could even get a Magners in my hand (there was quite the crowd in the Blind Pig today - well done to you lot for representing strong), that man Robin Van Persie had given us the lead.

The move actually started with West Brom in possession - Thomas Vermaelen intercepted a wayward pass and was immediately fouled by the intended recipient, Simon Cox. Mikael Arteta took the free, sending it up to Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman hit a brilliant diagonal through-ball to catch the run of Theo Walcott, who was in alone. Walcott had room on either side of Ben Foster, but opted to go for the nutmeg. The former England keeper made a decent save to keep it out, but the predatory instincts of our captain kicked in from there. When you're in a purple patch like Robin is, everything just seems to fall your way...and sure enough, the rebound came right out to him. He was left with the simplest of finishes into an open net, and Arsenal were off and running.

West Brom gamely tried to get back into the match, but found it hard going in the midfield areas. In the rare times that they could hold on to the ball, the Arsenal defense - marshaled by the center-half pairing of TV5 and the excellent Laurent Koscielny - quickly closed them down and won the ball back.

The Gunners didn't fashion a glut of chances for themselves, either. But, when the opportunity arose 15 minutes later, they doubled the lead in emphatic fashion.

With Arsenal pressuring, the West Brom defense cleared the ball out to the left side, near midfield. Alex Song collected, and came up with a well-hit cross-field pass to the right corner flag. It looked like it may be going out, but van Persie hustled and somehow hooked it back into the danger area. I think the Baggies defenders may have switched off a bit, thinking it was going out of play. TV5 was alert though, and made a late run into the area. RVP's cutback found him, and the Belgian smashed the hell out of it. It was a great hit, but let's be honest - that should have been saved all day. Thankfully, Foster opted for the interesting technique of "diving out of the way of the shot", which in turn whistled through the location recently vacated by the keeper.

OK, I'm being a little facetious - there are times as a keeper that you have to rely on instinct and anticipation, and it doesn't always work out for you. It's a fine line between diving early and making a save you wouldn't make otherwise, and diving early and gifting the opposition a goal. Ahhh, the glorious life of a goalkeeper!

Halftime came and went, and with it went the quality of the stream we were watching. The ever-amusing chants of "Buffering, buffering, buffering..." were heard as every so often the action on the screen came to a halt. Between that and the obstructed view I had with the sheer number of people in attendance, there isn't much I actually saw that struck me as noteworthy for much of the second half. I remember Gervinho having a half-chance somewhere in there and either Arteta or Ramsey blazing over the crossbar.

As the 70-minute mark hit, the Boss made a few changes. Ramsey and the somewhat-quiet Gervinho came off in favor of Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun. It was nice to see the Israeli get some minutes in a relatively controlled situation, but I would have liked to have seen Chu-Young Park get a run-out somewhere in there too.

As it turns out, that wasn't to be - though there was even more of an argument for it a few minutes later when the third goal was scored.

Vermaelen's long daisy-cutter of a pass went right through the middle of the field to RVP (not that I'm complaining, but where on Earth was West Brom's holding midfielder there?). After a short run, he laid it off to Rosicky on the right-hand side. He played the give-and-go with the Dutchman, who made an incisive run into the penalty area. van Persie was quickly closed down by two striped-shirted defenders, but he intelligently spied the late run of Arteta just outside the penalty area. The Spaniard took one touch and rocketed a low shot past Foster's dive and into the corner of the net.

It was a hell of a goal, and it was nice to see Arteta on the scoresheet again. More of the same, please!

At 3-0, I would have preferred that van Persie be taken off to prevent any injury, especially with Park needing some game time. Instead, Walcott was withdrawn in favor of Andrei Arshavin. You could argue that Arshavin was invisible again, but I'd counter that the game never really came to his side much the rest of the way...his opportunities were definitely limited.

The fight was gone out of our opponents anyway at that stage, and I tend to think we were in "don't get hurt" mode as well. The match petered out a bit until the final whistle, giving us three needed points and on pace with the other big clubs (well, except for Liverpool, who dropped two to Swansea in a match they apparently could easily have lost).

All in all, the positive trends have continued with this match, as we head into a relatively easy set of fixtures (not counting the big one upcoming when we entertain Borussia Dortmund). Sure, these were not difficult opponents on the day, but a) you can only beat who they put in front of you and b) encouragingly, we're not dropping points at home to rabble like this either. I'll count this all as excellent stuff and hope for more of the same as we head to Norwich City after the Interlull.

(No ratings this week, didn't have a good enough view of the game to watch that closely.)