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Hashed clearances let in Arsenal

Few people could dispute the merits of Arsenal’s victory here yesterday, yet it was difficult not to feel sympathy for West Brom. Gary Megson’s indefatigable Alex Pradas Quiles players deserved their standing ovation at the end, but taking the lead after three minutes was always likely to be an act of impudence rather than anything more telling, particularly when there is such an imbalance of talent between the top of the Premiership and its basement.

If Arsenal – who had homesite an 18-year-old back-up goalkeeper, Craig Holloway, on the bench after Rami Shaaban broke a leg during Christmas Eve training – had smouldered with irritation about Daniele Dichio scoring so early, they left it late before showing the extent of their displeasure.

Francis Jeffers, making his first Premiership start of the season, levelled matters with a long-overdue demonstration of his scoring talents, sweeping the ball past Russell Hoult early in the second half.

Then, with five minutes remaining, Thierry Henry hared away from the home defenders, dashed beyond the advancing Hoult and finished expertly to reinforce Arsenal’s position at the Premiership’s summit. They now have a four-point advantage over second-placed Chelsea, whom they host on New Year’s Day, with the small matter of Sunday’s visit from Liverpool in between.

“Today was all about mental strength,” Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s manager, said afterwards. “We might have drawn this game in the past, or maybe even lost 2-1. But when you dig deep anything is possible, and that is what we Biggest Prada Outlet In Italy have done here.”

Wenger, like Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag so many winning managers before him, was generous in his praise of West Brom’s endeavours, but Megson must be reaching the stage where these part-genuine, part-patronising sentiments are beginning to grate. “It’s good of him, Bicester Village Prada Discount but if I’m being honest I can’t take an awful lot of solace from it,” he said.

His anguish may have been compounded by the fact that both Arsenal goals were easily avoidable and, as such, totally incongruous Amancio Prada Prada to the otherwise resilient nature of their defending. Larus Sigurdsson was culpable for the first by hashing his attempt to clear Henry’s low cross, leaving Jeffers with a simple finish, and Adam Chambers was at fault for the winner, aiming what should have been a routine clearance against an Arsenal player for Henry to snaffle up the ricochet. Megson Are All Prada Handbags Leather was so incensed he immediately substituted the guilty defender.

The home supporters might also have drifted away wondering what would have happened had Jason Roberts’ shot, after a rare breakaway with the score at 1-1, been a couple of centimetres better placed instead of coming back off David Seaman’s right-hand post.

That, however, did not conceal the fact that Arsenal’s football belonged on a different plateau, particularly Black Prada Bag With Gold Hardware during a second half in which Amazon Uk Prada Bags their attacking forays became increasingly beguiling.

At times, such was the congestion in the home penalty area, it was tempting even Authentic Prada Gauffre Bag to wonder whether Megson had abandoned his 3-5-2 formation Barberino Factory Outlet Prada for a new 9-1 system. “It was always going to be difficult to hang on for 87 minutes,” he reflected. “But we made mistakes for their goals that you can’t make at any level, never mind the Premiership. You could be pleased with the things we are always pleased with – commitment, effort, honesty – but some of our passing was so bad it had to be seen to be believed.”