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Clarke rues missed chances but happy with draw

West Brom boss Steve Clarke was pleased with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal but admitted it could have been even better for his side.

The hosts went in front three minutes before the break when Claudio Yacob headed home, before Nicolas Anelka missed two golden opportunities to put them further ahead early in the second half.

Jack Wilshere punished that profligacy with a 63rd-minute equaliser for Arsenal, with a draw leaving West Brom 12th in the Premier League table.

Clarke, while happy with the point, acknowledged that those missed chances could have given his side an unassailable lead.

“At the start of the second half we had a couple of great opportunities to make it 2-0 and that might have been enough,” he said.

“Nicolas (Anelka) is experienced – he knows he was in the right position. He did almost everything right (with the second chance), he just put it the wrong side of the post, you’re talking about inches.

“He knows they’ll come if he keeps getting in those positions.”

Nonetheless, Clarke was happy with his side’s overall performance.

“We played really well,” he added. “It was a good game, with two very good teams.

“The first half was more cagey with good football and common sense and we managed to get ourselves in front.

“Credit to Arsenal, they’re up there for a reason – they’ve got good players.

“It was very open at the end, which was a bit nerve racking, but at the end of the day you have to say a draw is a fair result.”

The result came on the back of last week’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and Clarke was understandably delighted with his side’s form going into the international break.

“I’m not disappointed,” he continued. “I’m pleased with the players, we played another good game against another top team.

“On the back of last week I think four points from those two games is a good return for us.

“We’re certainly improving, nobody here hid from the fact that we started this season slowly, but we did good business at the end of the transfer window and that gave everybody at the club a lift.

“You see now the level of team is improving game to game and we’ll try to continue that improvement for the rest of the season.”

Sun 6 October, 2013
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