London:Mikel Arteta halted Arsenal's three-game winless run in the Premier League on Saturday by scoring two penalties in a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich. Arteta's first goal in the 26th minute came after Santi Cazorla went down lightly under Steven Reid's challenge. But there was no disputing Arsenal's second penalty when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Chris Brunt in the 64th.
After rising to third place following four straight wins, West Brom have now lost three in a row to drop to fifth. A second victory in seven matches for the Gunners lifted them provisionally up four places to sixth, two points behind West Brom. Seventh-place Everton hosts Tottenham on Sunday.
An alarming decline has engulfed Emirates Stadium in negativity in recent months - a position acknowledged by captain Thomas Vermaelen in the matchday program as he urged fans to "stick together." But after enduring their worst start to a league campaign since Arsene Wenger arrived 16 years ago, the Gunners will take comfort from beating a side above them.
Early in the match, though, Arsenal's finishing was wayward: Gervinho sliced wide after hesitation at the back before Cazorla struck wide and sent a first-time volley over after Oxlade-Chamberlain darted down the right flank. West Brom's first effort on goal saw Brunt's strike swerve just round Wojciech Szczesny's post. Arsenal's breakthrough came when Cazorla appeared to dive after be clipped slightly on the shin by Reid caught his shin lightly, allowing Arteta to score from the spot.
Arsenal could have extended their lead when Gervinho worked his way into the penalty area and then cut the ball back across the face of goal only for Jack Wilshere to shoot wide. West Brom appealed fruitlessly for a penalty when Per Mertesacker handled a high ball. Arsenal, though, were on top, with the first half ending with Gervinho's low shot turned around the post by goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
The chances continued to fall to Arsenal after the break, with Gervinho heading wide and then missing the ball as he attempted to shoot from close range. To find the net again, Arsenal needed another a penalty, with Arteta firing the ball down the middle of the net after Oxlade Chamberlain had tumbled in the area after being halted by Brunt. West Brom didn't give up though, with Markus Rosenberg's low effort blocked by Szczesny and Romelu Lukaku heading wide.