Mikel Arteta pleased with Arsenal’s progress after breezing past West Brom

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insisted the Gunners have taken the handbrake off after their rout of West Brom.

Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half brace and fine strikes from Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka earned a dominant 4-0 win at the Hawthorns.

The Gunners have now won three straight games in the Premier League for just the second time under Arteta.

They rose to 11th, three points behind the top six, just weeks after their season threatened to collapse and Arteta was being questioned – but the boss can see progress.

“This is as close as it gets to what we want,” he said. “This is an Arsenal team with the idea I want. There were certain moments when we were very close to that. The players had the handbrake off and you can see they are free to play.

“There were moments when we were really good, both defensively and offensively.

“This is exactly what we want the players to do. The energy and the momentum is much more positive.

“It is always tough to win away from home and we have done it in a really convincing way. It’s three in a row and we had talked about the importance of this week.”

The ruthless visitors went ahead after 23 minutes when Tierney twice beat Darnell Furlong to cut in from the left and fire beyond Sam Johnstone.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Albion were cut open and Saka finished off a flowing move involving Emile Smith Rowe and Lacazette.

There was no way back for the Baggies and, after Callum Robison had a goal ruled out for offside, Lacazette scored twice in three second-half minutes.

First, he netted after Semi Ajayi turned Saka’s cross onto the post and blocked Smith Rowe’s follow-up strike.

The striker then grabbed his ninth of the season when he tapped in Tierney’s cross from a yard out.

Albion have now lost their last two home games 5-0 and 4-0 and have conceded 12 times in Sam Allardyce’s three matches at the Hawthorns.

They were outclassed again by the Gunners to leave them second from bottom, six points from safety, and Allardyce knows where West Brom have to improve.

“We have to battle on as a team, we can only do the things we need to do better than we’re doing now. That is, first and foremost, to stop giving sloppy goals away,” said the former Everton manager, who confirmed striker Karlan Grant is likely to be out for five weeks with a broken foot.

“We need to get better at defending as a team, as we have shown against Manchester City and Liverpool.

“We need to be more resilient in terms of our defending and, until we get clean sheets, we won’t get enough points to move up the table because we haven’t got any proven Premier League scorers in our squad.

“They have had some moments of joy at Liverpool (a 1-1 draw) and that joy hasn’t transformed into any solid performances after that. It shows when we lose the ball we forget how to defend.”