|Jack Wilshere was in fine form as Arsenal beat West Brom|
It was a game that certainly made up for the past few matches when we've failed to score and it certainly sets us up nicely for the final. The performance does however, also give Arsene Wenger a selection dilemma in the form of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere who were both outstanding on the day.
Walcott's hat-trick was well deserved and timely if you consider his recent run. Although he hasn't been granted a lot of playing time hopefully this will send messages going into the close season. It was great to see him finally get his chance, and indeed up front too, a position he wishes to play in more often. His first goal especially was of extreme quality as he smashed the ball home from an angle into the far corner. His second meanwhile was a typical Walcott goal in my opinion. He dinked the ball over the defender before comfortably finding the net by poking the ball home. He then rounded off the hat-trick after a flowing team move inside the area. Wilshere linked up well with Sanchez before Cazorla's ball across goal found Walcott who was left with a tap in.
On any ordinary day Walcott would be guaranteed the man of the match award. However Jack Wilshere was equally as impressive against West Brom. Wilshere was a constant threat and despite playing on the right he drifted inside on a regular basis and offered a different sort of attacking play to Aaron Ramsey who has been utilised on the right in recent weeks. He linked up well with numerous players and for the most part was absolutely outstanding. It was a match that showed us signs of the player he was and we hope he still can be when he first burst onto the scene at Arsenal. His drive from midfield gave us much needed impetus, a sense of energy that's been missing in our goalless matches. His goal was meanwhile one of the best seen this season as he absolutely hammered the ball into the net from outside the box.
It was meanwhile interesting to note Santi Cazorla's involvement in the game. He was a lot more involved than he has been lately and after a rather quiet spell he notched two assists as he was able to get forward more than previous. He was perhaps unlucky not to score himself, as he saw a deflected effort bounce wide and then Myhill saved well from a curling effort in the second half. Myhill could not have done a lot about the goals scored but apart from conceding the amount that his side did, he did well to keep it at just the four with some good saves.
Our goalkeeper David Ospina didn't have the greatest of games despite the win though. He made a mistake for their goal as he failed to claim the ball from a corner and consequently Gareth McAuley got up above him to head into an empty net. In the dying moments he then allowed a shot to go through his hands and onto the bar from an effort which should have resulted in a straight forward save. Ospina has come under scrunity recently and it will be interesting to see which keeper starts at Wembley next weekend. Szczesny has been our cup keeper but you still feel as though Ospina would be the most comfortable bet between the sticks.
Ramsey was meanwhile very good in the middle when he came on late in the game as he hit the post twice. It proved that Wenger does indeed have a very nice selection dilemma for the final next weekend. Saying that, Aaron Ramsey is likely to start and it'll probably be the same side that started for 7 straight games recently. Olivier Giroud hasn't scored in 8 games though and for that reason Theo Walcott could start down the middle in the final. However you get the feeling that Wenger will stick by the Frenchman.
The team's line-ups:
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin(68), Cazorla, Wilshere(76), Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott(68).
Subs: Szczesny, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey(68), Oxlade-Chamberlain(76), Giroud(68).
West Brom: Myhill, Olsson(51), Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Morrison, Yacob(60), Fletcher, McManaman(54), Brunt, Berahino.
Subs: Palmer, Baird(60), Gamboa, Roberts, Gardner(54), Ideye, Anichebe(51).
My man of the match: Theo Walcott.
Referee: Robert Madley.