Premier League
Arsenal4West Brom1

Arsenal 4-1 West Bromwich Albion

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott had scored three Arsenal goals all season before his hat-trick against West Brom
  • Walcott scores third Arsenal hat-trick
  • Forward makes first Gunners start since 14 March
  • Arsenal ensure third place in Premier League
  • West Brom's five-game unbeaten run ends

Theo Walcott scored a first-half hat-trick as FA Cup finalists Arsenal made certain of a Champions League group stage place by demolishing West Brom.

Walcott, making his first club start for more than two months, fired an early shot into the top corner, before poking in a second from close range.

Jack Wilshere thumped in a third from 20 yards, and Walcott tapped in a fourth before half-time.

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'Top quality' Arsenal delight Wenger

Gareth McAuley headed a second-half goal for Albion.

Walcott is starting to regain his best form after almost a year out with a knee injury, while Wilshere has only recently returned to action after being plagued by ankle problems.

Both made a point, after scoring, of going over to the bench to celebrate with Arsenal physio Declan Lynch, who has done much to help them get back to fitness - but who is about to leave for a new role at Premiership rugby union side Bath.

Goal machine
Theo Walcott has scored 10 goals in his last nine Premier League starts for Arsenal.

Manager Arsene Wenger will be pleased that both players look ready to play a part in next Saturday's FA Cup final against Aston Villa.

And he will also be happy that his side have found their goalscoring touch after three successive home games without finding the net.

Arsenal needed a point to be certain of securing third place in the Premier League, while ensuring they avoided a Champions League play-off in August, and set about the task of winning the game with vigour.

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'Jaded' West Brom disappoint Pulis

Walcott struck early, thumping an unstoppable shot across keeper Boaz Myhill.

The forward then side-stepped Jonas Olsson to prod in a second from eight yards after Wilshere and Mesut Ozil combined to set him up.

His England colleague Wilshere struck a spectacular third with only 17 minutes gone, finding the top corner as Albion struggled to clear a set-piece.

Walcott, though, made sure of headline status by completing his hat-trick, tapping in after Santi Cazorla rolled the ball across the goal.

Fine finishers
Arsenal have not lost on the final day of the Premier League season since 2005, when they were beaten 2-1 at Birmingham.

McAuley's consolation goal, his first in the league since December 2013, was headed in from a corner, with Arsenal keeper David Ospina at fault.

Arsenal eased off with victory secure, yet still could have had further goals, with substitute Aaron Ramsey striking the post before having a chip turned on to the bar by Myhill.

But they showed enough to strengthen their position as favourites to win the FA Cup next Saturday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Theo had a great game today. He was on fire and moved well. Jack Wilshere as well. I have not thought about a side for next Saturday. I wanted to pick a team to win this game.

"We had a slow start to the season, but progressively, we got stronger, and from January onwards we got competitive.

"We have qualified directly for next season's Champions League, but we want more. We want to challenge for the Premier League. But first we want to win the FA Cup next weekend."

West Brom head coach Tony Pulis: "We looked like a team who have played against Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea in the last few weeks. We've had a tough run-in.

"I think the performance against Chelsea took a lot out of the players. Maybe I should have rested a couple, because they looked jaded.

"It was a disappointment because we'd done so well. We hadn't reached the standards you need. But we were better in the second half."

Relive Arsenal v West Brom minute by minute

Read reaction to the game here

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott was called into the starting line-up in place of Olivier Giroud
Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere's goal was his first for Arsenal since September
Jack Wilshere
Wilshere did not play between November and May because of ankle problems
Theo Walcott
Walcott's hat-trick was his first for Arsenal since December 2012

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 13Ospina
  • 39BellerinBooked at 48mins
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 5Gabriel
  • 3Gibbs
  • 19Cazorla
  • 34CoquelinSubstituted forRamseyat 69'minutes
  • 10WilshereSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 77'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 17Sánchez
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forGiroudat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Szczesny
  • 6Koscielny
  • 12Giroud
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 16Ramsey
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini

West Brom

  • 13Myhill
  • 25Dawson
  • 23McAuley
  • 3OlssonSubstituted forAnichebeat 51'minutes
  • 6Lescott
  • 24Fletcher
  • 5YacobSubstituted forBairdat 60'minutes
  • 7Morrison
  • 19McManamanSubstituted forGardnerat 54'minutes
  • 18Berahino
  • 11Brunt

Substitutes

  • 4Baird
  • 8Gardner
  • 9Ideye
  • 10Anichebe
  • 16Gamboa
  • 40Palmer
  • 44Roberts
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
59,971

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home24
Away14
Shots on Target
Home13
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home6
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 4, West Bromwich Albion 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 4, West Bromwich Albion 1.

Attempt missed. Joleon Lescott (West Bromwich Albion) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Craig Gardner with a cross following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

Attempt blocked. Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by David Ospina.

Attempt saved. Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Victor Anichebe.

Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.

Attempt saved. Chris Baird (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Craig Gardner.

Attempt missed. Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the left. Assisted by James Morrison.

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt blocked. James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Saido Berahino.

Attempt missed. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Craig Gardner.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) hits the right post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Offside, Arsenal. Mesut Özil tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Jack Wilshere.

Attempt missed. Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Hand ball by Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt blocked. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Darren Fletcher.

Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Olivier Giroud replaces Theo Walcott.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey replaces Francis Coquelin.

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the right. Assisted by Craig Gardner.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison tries a through ball, but Victor Anichebe is caught offside.

Attempt missed. James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Saido Berahino.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Chris Baird replaces Claudio Yacob.

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 4, West Bromwich Albion 1. Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by David Ospina.

Attempt saved. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Craig Gardner with a headed pass.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) because of an injury.

Foul by Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal).

Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Craig Gardner replaces Callum McManaman.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea38269373324187
2Man City38247783384579
3Arsenal38229771363575
4Man Utd382010862372570
5Tottenham38197125853564
6Liverpool38188125248462
7Southampton381861454332160
8Swansea38168144649-356
9Stoke38159144845354
10Crystal Palace38139164751-448
11Everton381211154850-247
12West Ham381211154447-347
13West Brom381111163851-1344
14Leicester38118194655-941
15Newcastle38109194063-2339
16Sunderland38717143153-2238
17Aston Villa38108203157-2638
18Hull38811193351-1835
19Burnley38712192853-2533
20QPR3886244273-3130
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