Bacary Sagna claimed it was just like watching the Arsenal of old after Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe combined to score a goal reminiscent of the Gunners in their prime under Arsene Wenger.
The confidence generated by successive wins over Chelsea and Brighton was in full evidence at the Hawthorns, where even a pre-match snow storm did little to halt Mikel Arteta’s seemingly rejuvenated side.
Hector Bellerin and Saka had already forced Sam Johnstone into saves inside the the first 10 minutes and eventually opened the scoring just past the midway point in the opening period.
Kieran Tierney, arguably Arsenal’s player of the season so far, too matters into his own hands, beating Darnell Furlong twice, cutting in on his weaker right foot and curling the ball beyond Sam Johnstone for only the second goal of his Gunners career.
It was the second goal, however, which really set the pulses racing and typified the sort of imagination and movement that has suddenly returned to Arsenal’s game following Arteta’s decision to place his faith in an emerging group of youngsters.
There appeared to be little danger when Saka fizzed the ball into Alexandre Lacazette, but the France striker turned the ball round the corner in flash into the path of Smith Rowe who had initiated the move.
The England youth international could have been forgiven for taking the shot on, but instead he unselfishly rolled the ball across goal and provided his fellow academy graduate Saka with an unmissable chance.
And Sagna, who spent seven years in north London playing alongside the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, was delighted to see his old team exhibit a brand of football reminiscent of the sides he used to play for under Wenger.
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Arsenal legend Martin Keown, meanwhile, was equally delighted to see his old side score a goal of such quality, particularly given the roles played by two youngsters.
‘It is (like a Wenger goal) and this is the future. Smith Rowe, his intelligence on the ball tonight. The link-up with Saka, they obviously played with each other in the youth team.
‘They obviously enjoy that and that was a wonderful goal, made to look simple by Arsenal.’
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