Van Persie has now scored 19 goals in his last 19 Premier League starts
By David Ornstein
Arsenal overturned a two-goal deficit but could only earn a point as their Premier League title aspirations were dented at struggling West Brom.
Steven Reid put the hosts in front with a header from Chris Brunt's corner.
Robin van Persie nodded against the bar before a horrendous mix-up between Manuel Almunia and Sebastien Squillaci gave Peter Odemwingie a simple finish.
Andrey Arshavin pulled one back with a superb strike before Robin van Persie forced the ball home to equalise.
The Gunners were encamped in West Brom territory late on but could not complete the comeback and were ultimately left to rue Almunia's awful mistake.
Hodgson deflated after Arsenal fightback
The Spaniard was making his first league start since September in the absence of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, but there was no excuse for this howler.
Squillaci looked set to clear Youssouf Mulumbu's long ball forward only for Almunia to come needlessly racing off his line, seemingly confuse his team-mate and allow the Nigerian to double his side's lead.
This latest defensive calamity will raise further questions about boss Arsene Wenger's ongoing reluctance to sign a top class goalkeeper.
Arsenal managed to launch a stirring riposte, but the result leaves them five points behind leaders Manchester United after
their victory over Bolton
- although the Gunners do have a game in hand.
Wenger's men have now won only one of their last six matches in all competitions and it seems they are still struggling to recover from their recent Carling Cup final, Champions League and FA Cup defeats.
Arsenal did arrive at The Hawthorns unbeaten in 11 Premier League games but in West Brom they faced a side battling to avoid an immediate return to the Championship and resurgent under new boss Roy Hodgson.
Wenger open to Lehmann return
The Baggies outclassed Arsenal in a shock 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season - Almunia's last start - and they got at a nervous-looking Gunners rearguard from the outset.
Indeed, there was a sense of inevitability about West Brom's opener as Reid easily evaded Aaron Ramsey to meet Brunt's set-piece with a powerful header.
Arsenal only had themselves to blame and despite working hard to restore parity, their play was characterised by a general lack of urgency, creativity and precision in the final third.
Holding midfielder Denilson was particularly wasteful in possession but others were culpable too, and it was not until the 25th minute that the visitors created a chance of any note.
Gael Clichy crossed from the left for Van Persie to head against the crossbar and Baggies goalkeeper Scott Carson spread himself well to repel Ramsey's close-range follow-up.
Arsenal dominated possession thereafter but rarely looked like breaching the home defence and it was hardly surprising to see Denilson replaced by Marouane Chamakh as Wenger switched from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2.
Almunia was starting in the league for the first time since September
The move gave the Gunners greater presence up front but, again, they rarely troubled the West Brom defence and the momentum was soon back with the hosts.
The Baggies deserved to extend their advantage when Brunt poked Marek Cech's low centre just wide after a stunning one-touch move, but a second goal was soon forthcoming.
Wenger had just introduced Nicklas Bendtner for Ramsey - replacing another midfielder with a striker - when Clichy lost possession to Mulumbu and Almunia did the rest.
The Gunners looked shell-shocked but eventually regrouped and, out of nowhere, Arshavin exchanged passes with Chamakh before drilling a magnificent first-time finish past Carson.
That gave West Brom an unwanted record of 28 Premier League games without a clean sheet - and their hopes of a first double over Arsenal since 1961-62 suffered a further setback when the visitors levelled.
Arshavin's deep cross from the left hit the far post and fell to Abdoulaye Meite, who could not clear his lines and a Van Persie tackle saw the ball trickle over the line.
Arsenal then went for the jugular and Carson got down well to save Clichy's low shot, while at the other end substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune saw a strike blocked by Squillaci's last-ditch challenge.
But both sides were forced to settle for a point, which helps West Brom edge away from the bottom three.
90:00+4:26 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
90:00+4:11 Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.
90:00+4:02 Bacary Sagna takes a shot. Blocked by Nicky Shorey.
90:00+3:11 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri, save by Scott Carson.
90:00+2:57 Gael Clichy takes a shot. Save by Scott Carson.
90:00+1:44 Effort on goal by Jack Wilshere from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
89:47 The ball is sent over by Andrey Arshavin, volleyed right-footed shot by Bacary Sagna. Save by Scott Carson.
88:15 Centre by Jack Wilshere, Steven Reid makes a clearance.
87:57 Corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri, Chris Brunt manages to make a clearance.
87:10 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrey Arshavin by Youssouf Mulumbu. The free kick is delivered right-footed
by Samir Nasri from left channel, clearance made by Jonas Olsson.
84:17 The ball is delivered by Gael Clichy, Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Scott Carson.
83:57 The ball is delivered by Gael Clichy, Jack Wilshere takes a shot. Blocked by Jonas Olsson.
82:34 Corner taken by Samir Nasri played to the near post, Header on goal by Robin van Persie from inside the box goes harmlessly
over the target.
81:34 Corner taken left-footed by Chris Brunt from the right by-line, save by Manuel Almunia.
81:24 Marc-Antoine Fortune takes a shot. Bacary Sagna gets a block in.
80:29 Booking The referee shows Samir Nasri a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
80:10 Jack Wilshere delivers the ball, Abdoulaye Meite makes a clearance.
79:24 Youssouf Mulumbu concedes a free kick for a foul on Marouane Chamakh. Gael Clichy takes the indirect free kick.
79:13 Marc-Antoine Fortune concedes a free kick for a foul on Laurent Koscielny. Laurent Koscielny takes the indirect free kick.
77:53 GOAL - Robin van Persie:West Brom 2 - 2 Arsenal A goal is scored by Robin van Persie from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. West Brom 2-2 Arsenal.
77:17 The ball is sent over by Marek Cech, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.
75:50 Andrey Arshavin delivers the ball, Jonas Olsson manages to make a clearance.
74:51 Marc-Antoine Fortune sends in a cross.
73:45 Substitution (West Brom) makes a substitution, with Marc-Antoine Fortune coming on for Peter Odemwingie.
73:21 A cross is delivered by Gael Clichy.
73:15 The ball is crossed by Bacary Sagna.
71:53 The assistant referee signals for offside against Peter Odemwingie. Bacary Sagna restarts play with the free kick.
71:13 The ball is delivered by Robin van Persie.
69:54 Assist on the goal came from Marouane Chamakh.
69:54 GOAL - Andrey Arshavin:West Brom 2 - 1 Arsenal Goal scored by Andrey Arshavin from the edge of the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. West Brom 2-1 Arsenal.
68:56 Marek Cech challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sebastien Squillaci takes the direct free kick.
68:28 Robin van Persie sends in a cross, Jonas Olsson makes a clearance.
67:34 Centre by Samir Nasri, save by Scott Carson.
67:24 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Reid.
65:50 Foul by James Morrison on Marouane Chamakh, free kick awarded. Robin van Persie fires a strike on goal direct from the free
64:58 Steven Reid fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Reid restarts play with the free kick.
63:56 Steven Reid challenges Jack Wilshere unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Samir Nasri.
63:03 Marouane Chamakh concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonas Olsson. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Carson.
60:20 Foul by Laurent Koscielny on Peter Odemwingie, free kick awarded. Chris Brunt crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed
from right wing, Peter Odemwingie manages to make a clearance.
60:20 Booking Laurent Koscielny is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
58:55 Marouane Chamakh delivers the ball, save by Scott Carson.
Correction - 57:45 GOAL - Peter Odemwingie:West Brom 2 - 0 Arsenal Peter Odemwingie gets on the score sheet with a goal from outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. West Brom
57:45 Assist on the goal came from Steven Reid.
57:45 GOAL - Peter Odemwingie:West Brom 2 - 0 Arsenal Peter Odemwingie scores a goal from outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. West Brom 2-0 Arsenal.
57:00 Substitution Nicklas Bendtner joins the action as a substitute, replacing Aaron Ramsey.
56:12 Jack Wilshere delivers the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Robin van Persie misses to the right of the goal.
55:51 Gael Clichy produces a cross, Jonas Olsson manages to make a clearance.
54:19 Robin van Persie challenges Abdoulaye Meite unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Carson.
53:38 A cross is delivered by Marek Cech, Chris Brunt produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes
wide of the right-hand post.
51:49 The ball is crossed by Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Save by Scott Carson.
46:49 A cross is delivered by Gael Clichy, Jerome Thomas manages to make a clearance.
45:30 Centre by Gael Clichy.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:01 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Marouane Chamakh coming on for Neves Denilson.
45:01 Substitution Marek Cech on for Paul Scharner.
45:00+4:16 The ref blows to signal half-time.
45:00+3:57 Bacary Sagna delivers the ball, clearance by Steven Reid.
45:00+2:33 Handball by Nicky Shorey. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance by Jonas Olsson.
45:00+2:24 The ball is swung over by Bacary Sagna.
45:00+1:34 Robin van Persie produces a left-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
43:51 The ball is sent over by Nicky Shorey, Manuel Almunia makes a save.
43:03 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Gael Clichy.
40:03 Foul by Andrey Arshavin on Paul Scharner, free kick awarded. Steven Reid restarts play with the free kick.
39:27 Samir Nasri is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Carson.
36:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jerome Thomas by Neves Denilson. Free kick crossed by Chris Brunt, Manuel Almunia
makes a save.
36:01 Booking The referee shows Neves Denilson a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
34:25 James Morrison delivers the ball, save by Manuel Almunia.
33:52 The referee blows for offside against Aaron Ramsey. Scott Carson takes the indirect free kick.
33:08 Samir Nasri crosses the ball, save made by Scott Carson.
30:38 Unfair challenge on Jerome Thomas by Bacary Sagna results in a free kick. Nicky Shorey takes the direct free kick.
29:29 Paul Scharner concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Wilshere. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance
by Abdoulaye Meite.
28:48 Corner taken by Samir Nasri, Paul Scharner makes a clearance.
28:15 Corner taken by Samir Nasri, clearance by Abdoulaye Meite.
28:07 The ball is swung over by Andrey Arshavin, clearance made by Abdoulaye Meite.
27:32 Shot by Jack Wilshere. Save by Scott Carson.
27:25 The ball is sent over by Gael Clichy, Jonas Olsson manages to make a clearance.
27:08 Centre by Robin van Persie, Paul Scharner makes a clearance.
25:29 Effort on goal by Neves Denilson from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.
Correction - 25:07 Aaron Ramsey takes a shot from 6 yards. Save by Scott Carson.
25:07 Laurent Koscielny takes a shot. Save by Scott Carson.
24:51 A cross is delivered by Gael Clichy, Robin van Persie takes a shot.
24:04 The ball is swung over by Samir Nasri, Abdoulaye Meite manages to make a clearance.
23:06 Gael Clichy sends in a cross, Jonas Olsson makes a clearance.
22:02 Peter Odemwingie is caught offside. Free kick taken by Sebastien Squillaci.
18:02 Samir Nasri takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Abdoulaye Meite manages to make a clearance.
17:06 The official flags Peter Odemwingie offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.
17:06 Booking Abdoulaye Meite is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
16:45 Samir Nasri delivers the ball, clearance made by Jonas Olsson.
13:07 Paul Scharner concedes a free kick for a foul on Andrey Arshavin. Aaron Ramsey takes the direct free kick.
6:42 The official flags Aaron Ramsey offside. Scott Carson takes the free kick.
6:08 The ball is swung over by Robin van Persie, clearance made by Abdoulaye Meite.
5:28 The ball is swung over by Jerome Thomas.
3:46 Jerome Thomas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna. Free kick taken by Gael Clichy.
2:47 Outswinging corner taken by Chris Brunt, Chris Brunt provided the assist for the goal.
2:47 GOAL - Steven Reid:West Brom 1 - 0 Arsenal Steven Reid scores a headed goal from inside the area. West Brom 1-0 Arsenal.
0:57 The assistant referee flags for offside against Peter Odemwingie. Gael Clichy restarts play with the free kick.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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