Arsenal continued their Premier League resurgence with a ruthless victory over strugglers West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Defender Kieran Tierney’s excellent solo run and curling finish put the Gunners in front in the first half, before the impressive Bukayo Saka rounded off a stunning passing move to make it 2-0.
Alexandre Lacazette added the third and fourth goals after the break – smashing in a rebound from Emile Smith Rowe’s shot before he was set up by Tierney.
It was Arsenal’s third league victory in a row after they had failed to win their previous seven.
West Brom, playing their fourth match under new manager Sam Allardyce, remain second from bottom and six points from safety.
Purring Arsenal show desired confidence
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he wanted his players to “show confidence” at The Hawthorns, and they certainly did that in a dominant and eye-catching display.
Hector Bellerin forced Sam Johnstone into a save within two minutes after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke down the left, and Saka tormented full-back Dara O’Shea on the opposite wing constantly during the opening half.
It was Saka’s ball that fizzed past the back post, inches away from the toe of Aubameyang, after the 19-year-old had got the better of O’Shea and hit it straight at Johnstone.
West Brom were being suffocated and Tierney’s burst of pace to get around Darnell Furlong, before bending it into the far corner, was the perfect way to open the scoring.
Saka made it 2-0 by rounding off a slick, one-touch passing move that former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would have been proud of.
West Brom could offer no response after the break either and Arsenal were 3-0 up on the hour when Lacazette eventually blasted in the rebound from a catalogue of errors by defender Semi Ajayi.
That was game over but Lacazette was allowed to add a fourth when he was left unmarked to divert Tierney’s cross into the roof of the net four minutes later.
Arteta, knowing the job was done, was able to bring off Saka and Emile Smith Rowe following impressive performances from both youngsters, while Arsenal continued to create chances to round off a very enjoyable evening in the snow.
Challenge facing Allardyce just gets bigger
Allardyce’s first match in charge of West Brom – a 3-0 drubbing by Aston Villa after captain Jake Livermore had been sent off – was a sign of just how tough this job was going to be.
Then that 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield provided hope. The Baggies were resilient, organised and tireless.
But heavy back-to-back defeats by Leeds United and now Arsenal at home have brought things back down to earth.
West Brom were overawed in defence, out-run in midfield and frustrated by a lack of opportunities in attack throughout this confidence-crushing defeat.
Their rare sniffs at goal came from a Granit Xhaka error in the first half – Matheus Pereira chipping it through to Matt Phillips who struck it straight at Bernd Leno – before Callum Robinson’s finish was ruled out for offside in the second half.
Substitute Rekeem Harper’s long-range strike deep in stoppage time was also comfortably turned behind by Leno.
It was West Brom’s third home loss in three under Allardyce and they have conceded 12 goals with no reply in those games.
‘Everything looks much better’ – what they said
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce: “Another game gone by where we learn more about the players we have. We have learnt an awful lot about what we can and cannot do.
“We need to work out a way of not trying to be as sloppy as we have been at conceding goals. It appears when we try to open up we leave opportunities for the opposition and we cannot cope.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: “We had a big week, three games in seven days, and we managed to win them and everything looks much better. It was difficult conditions but the team looked sharp from the start. It’s a big win.
“After the results we had before we had to lift things straight away. Now we have got some discipline back. We look more creative in the final third and we look solid at the back.”
💬 "His work rate is always there, he's always fighting for the team but he needed that luck for the ball to land in the right moment. I think he's in a great moment, we have to take advantage of that and give him more minutes."
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 2, 2021
The best of the stats
West Brom are the first side to lose consecutive home Premier League games by at least four goals since Wigan in August 2010.
Arsenal have scored in all 25 of their Premier League meetings with West Brom, the best 100% scoring record by one side against an opponent in the competition’s history.
There were 20 passes in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal scored by Kieran Tierney – since Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge on Boxing Day 2019, the Gunners have scored more goals following a sequence of 20+ passes than any other Premier League side (3).
Tierney became the first Scottish player to score an away Premier League goal for Arsenal and the first to do so in the top flight since Charlie Nicholas against Ipswich Town in March 1986.
Alexandre Lacazette has scored five away Premier League goals in 2020-21, his best such tally in a single season in the competition.
West Brom travel to Blackpool for an FA Cup third-round tie on Saturday, 9 January (15:00 GMT kick-off), before returning to Premier League action on Saturday, 16 January against Wolves (12:30 GMT).
Arsenal host Newcastle in their FA Cup match on the same day (17:30 GMT), before facing Crystal Palace at home in the league on Thursday, 14 January (20:00 GMT).