West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: Gunners & Baggies Share Points At The Hawthorns
West Brom and Arsenal ended their 2017 with a draw at the Hawthorns, with both sides scoring late to claim a point after quite the feisty encounter.
Mesut Ozil, who hadn't missed a Premier League fixture since the clash against Burnley in November due to illness, was forced to sit this one out with a knee injury, while Granit Xhaka retained his place in the starting lineup after recovering from a thigh issue in time.
If anything, the Hawthorns crowd seemed well up for it, and the atmosphere seemed to have spurred the Baggies on as they forced Petr Cech into a save in the fifth minute, with Jay Rodriguez heading Matt Philips' cross from the right side goalwards.
Arsenal hit back with an attempt of their own minutes later, coming close to scoring through Alexandre Lacazette, who had his shot deflected for a corner.
Alex Iwobi did well to test Ben Foster with a stinging shot around the 29th minute, curling a powerful shot from the top of the box that left the keeper scrambling to push it away.
But Ainsley Maitland-Niles had to be thrown on as an unplanned first-half substitute after Sead Kolasinac was forced off on minute 35 with a knee injury, following a heavy challenge from Gareth Barry.
The halftime whistle blew after two minutes of extra time, with neither team able to break the deadlock, despite both of them enjoying a bit of attacking freedom in the opposition half.
The second period kicked off and was as lively as the first as the teams kept going at each other. Lacazette and Iwobi combined to create a chance for the Frenchman, exchanging possession at the top of the box before their passing opened space up for the former Lyon man to run through and shoot. Foster was equal to his strike, however.
Lacazette found himself with another chance just moments later after Alexis Sanchez's pass found his toe, but the ball skewed wide. The Chilean cut in the box to fire off a shot of his own into the side netting shortly after.
Arsenal finally took the lead in the 83rd minute by virtue of a free kick from Sanchez after he was fouled at the top of the box. The former Barcelona man was quite fortuitous, though, his shot taking a wicked deflection off the West Brom wall to beat Foster.
Things would take a quick turn, however. West Brom were handed a penalty in the 88th minute after Calum Chambers handled the ball in his box. Rodriguez stepped up to beat Cech from the spot to tie things up at 1-1.
Four minutes of extra time did nothing to change the scoreline at the end, despite all of Arsenal's late attempts.