LONDON (AP) — Olivier Giroud scored in the first half to give Arsenal a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Sunday, although the Baggies still finished the day virtually assured of staying in the top flight.
Giroud headed home at the near post in the 14th minute, getting in front of Craig Dawson and shrugging off the defender's attempts to hold him back as Santi Cazorla delivered a corner. It was the striker's 22nd goal in all competitions this season.
Arsenal controlled the game from there, getting into a quick passing rhythm and dominating possession, although it struggled to create serious scoring chances.
West Brom resorted to long-range efforts, with midfielder James Morrison launching a 40-yard shot after spotting Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny off his line in the first half, but the ball went well wide. Graham Dorrans' shot from about 20 yards came closer, forcing a reaction save from Szczesny in the 32nd.
For Arsenal, the match held little significance because the club had already secured at least a fourth-place finish and a 17th consecutive season of Champions League football after Everton's loss to Manchester City on Saturday. In the last home game of the season, it felt like the home crowd was already looking forward to the summer, batting around a beach ball in the first half.
"We played well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "They had a few chances as well. We wanted to finish with a win and we did it. Maybe it was a bit subdued because we knew beforehand we would remain in the top four."
Despite the loss, West Brom can start planning for another season in the Premier League after Norwich only drew 0-0 at Chelsea. That leaves West Brom three points ahead of the 18th-place Canaries with a game in hand and a vastly superior goal difference, with Norwich only having one more game to play — against Arsenal. Cardiff and Fulham have already been relegated to the League Championship for next season.
Continue reading this story on the...