Thanks to Olivier Giroud’s crucial header, Arsenal have managed to get back to winning ways.
Tony Pulis has seen his team concede a goal to both Chelsea and Arsenal in the last few weeks but has claimed that Chelsea will need to spend in January of they plan on beating Wenger’s Arsenal to the title this season.
Tony Pulis said “If you look at the players who were not playing and not in the team today, and then you look at Chelsea’s, I think Arsenal have definitely got the stronger squad,”
“So they have most probably got the staying power to see them through and it will be interesting to see what Chelsea do. I think Chelsea will spend. I don’t think your man (Conte) will sit back on what he’s got, I think he will invest. So it will be an interesting window for the top four or five clubs.”
After losing to Everton and Manchester City in the last two Premier League games, Wenger had claimed he was not listening to criticism from the fans, but a draw at home to West Brom may well have started a big revolt heading into the New Year.
Fortunately for the Gunners, Giroud made Arsenal’s second-half dominance finally pay off with three minutes remaining as the Frenchman finally got the better of in-form West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster with a header from Mesut Ozil’s ball into the area.
“Players who are ready and get their chance, take it,” said Wenger.
“Players who feel sorry for themselves and are not ready, give you another reason to leave them out.
“I have got big respect for Olivier. He always makes a point when he comes in because he has scored many times. He has qualities in our squad that are needed and the other players have not. He’s a fighter too.”
On the title race, said: “We are quite a big distance behind Chelsea and we will need a special resilience to come back. But I hope that the other teams will have their moments of weakness as well. We can only take advantage if we continue like that.”
With Arsenal having Premier League games against Crystal Palace, on New Year’s Day, Bournemouth, Swansea City, Burnley and Watford to come, Arsenal desperately need to secure three points in all of these games.
Just as they did at Chelsea, West Brom lined up with seven men, including Foster, behind the ball throughout the whole game when they were defending and it proved to be similarly difficult for the hosts to get past them.
Arsenal, and in particular Sanchez, came alive after the restart and it took a combination of Foster and the post to prevent Wenger’s men from taking the lead before the hour mark.
Arsenal survived quite a bit of a scare with 20 minutes remaining following a series of West Brom corners.
Petr Cech fumbled Chris Brunt’s delivery, but Claudio Yacob lifted the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box which was a huge relief for the Gunners fans. That was the visitors’ big chance gone and they paid the price in the 87th minute, when Giroud lifted the frustration inside the Emirates.
Hector Bellerin raided down the right and pulled the ball back for Ozil, who planted an accurate ball in on to the head of Giroud. He outmuscled Gareth McAuley and this time Foster was completely helpless.