Arsenal young guns seal West Brom fate, as Baggies set unwanted record


A pair of Arsenal youngsters were the architects as West Brom tied Norwich City for the joint-most Premier League relegations at five.

West Brom entered the contest knowing a defeat would see them relegated from the Premier League for a joint-record fifth time. Arsenal, meanwhile, were seeking to end their season with a measure of respectability after enduring a woeful campaign.


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If the Baggies were to produce a remarkable finish to the campaign, much of it would likely be down to the displays of playmaker Matheus Pereira.

The Brazilian came close to breaking the deadlock early on in spectacular fashion, but his curling effort from fully 25 yards flew agonisingly wide of Bernd Leno’s post.

A rare bright spark for the Gunners this season has been the rapid development of Bukayo Saka. The youngster showed quick feet to leave Callum Robinson in his wake down the left before firing a low pass across the face of goal that deserved to be finished.

West Brom would not be the recipient of a lucky break a second time when Saka engineered the game’s opening goal.

Played in by Willian down the left, another teasing cut-back was this time met by Emile Smith Rowe who showed great technique to slot beyond Sam Johnstone with a tidy first-time volley.

One soon became two when Nicolas Pepe lodged his contender for goal of the season.

The winger picked the ball up on the right flank and cut inside a pair of lax defenders before curling a superb drive into the top corner.

With 45 minutes remaining to preserve their Premier League status, West Brom required the half of their lives.

The Baggies forced a series of four straight corners as the hour mark approached, but each was repelled as Arsenal refused to bend to their will.

Immediately after the fourth was cleared, Arsenal broke at lightning speed and came within a whisker of sealing West Brom’s fate.

The impressive Saka again delivered the goods, whipping in an inch-perfect ball that two Arsenal attackers somehow managed to avoid bundling home from close range.

Those misses were punished moments later when Pereira handed his side a vital lifeline.

The Baggies talisman ran from deep within his own half to Arsenal’s area uncontested before firing a low strike beyond the outstretched hand of Leno to halve the deficit.

Darnell Furlong then missed the chance to become an unlikely hero when glancing a headed effort narrowly wide following neat work from Matt Phillips out wide.

With time fast running out, West Brom’s fate was sealed when Willian converted a late free-kick.

The 3-1 defeat confirmed West Brom’s return to the Championship and handed manager Sam Allardyce his first ever Premier League relegation.

 



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