Arsenal’S push for a place in the Champions League for a 16th successive season remains on course after two Tomas Rosicky goals gave them a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion and lifted them to fourth in the Premier League table.
Scorers: West Bromwich Albion - Morrison 71pen; Arsenal - Rosicky 20, 50
It was their sixth win in seven league games and came despite their having German centre back Per Mertesacker sent off 19 minutes from time for a foul on Albion striker Shane Long. Scotland midfielder James Morrison scored from the resulting penalty but Arsenal hung on for the three points that took them on to 56 points from 31 matches, one behind arch-rivals Tottenham who are third on 57, also from 31 games. They are one ahead of Chelsea who slipped back to fifth on 55 points from 30 games.
Spurs are at home to Everton and Chelsea host Sunderland today, but even if they both win and Arsenal finish the weekend back in fifth, the Gunners have served notice of their intent. The race for third and fourth places looks to be between the three London rivals with Manchester United and Manchester City, who meet at Old Trafford tomorrow, looking set to finish first and second.
Rosicky, who only started his first Premier League match of the season last week after months disrupted by injury, headed Arsenal in front after 20 minutes and scored from a rebound in the 50th minute. Mertesacker was shown his red card by referee Howard Webb for tripping Long and after Morrison scored from the spot, Albion went close to an equaliser several times.
“Tomas has been out for six months but showed his quality and why he is so important to us,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.