24 hours before this game, Arsenal were guaranteed 4th place in the Barclay’s Premier League and a place in the Champions League for next season as Everton lost 2-3 to Manchester City. With the pressure off, the Gunners took to the field and welcomed West Brom with a 1-0 victory with Olivier Giroud scoring the lone goal. After Everton’s defeat by Manchester City on Saturday made the Gunners’ top-four spot secure, the France striker grabbed the only goal of the game, rising in front of marker Craig Dawson to convert Santi Cazorla’s corner. Relegation threatened West Brom rarely threatened but were confirmed safe after Norwich drew at Chelsea.
At Emirates Stadium, the visitors played like a side who seemed certain of safety, barely making Arsenal’s defence sweat on a warm day in north London. Arsenal were slightly more spritely. They were in relaxed mood after Saturday’s result ensured manager Arsene Wenger has led his team to a top-four finish in every season since he joined in 1996. Giroud’s early opening goal provided one of the few rousing moments during a sedate match. The France international has a brilliant knack of losing his marker when the ball is played from the wings, and on this occasion he beat Dawson to score his 22nd of the season. Arsenal went close once more, after the break, when German Lukas Podolski mis-hit a half-volley from 10 yards that bounced off the post and into the arms of Foster.
The Gunners, who deserved their victory, finish their league campaign at Norwich before an FA Cup final against Hull, as they aim to end a run of nine years without a trophy. Arsenal have 76 points with a goal difference of 25.