Giroud & Koscielny Back In The Starting XI
Match Preview – West Brom vs Arsenal – Premier League – 29.11.14
Arsenal head to West Brom today in desperate need of a win as their last two league outings have ended in defeat. It is billed as a must win game which usually infers that anything less than a win would see catastrophic consequences. I don’t see this match as must win any more than the next game as our support always seems just one bad defeat away from boiling over.
Winning the FA Cup has done little to quell the unrest amongst the fans and that may be because overall we have insanely high expectations of Arsenal whenever we do something well. I said to someone today we could win 10 games on the trot but if we lost the 11th it would be seen as an apocalyptic-inducing event. Dropping points is seen as breaking the seals to release the Four Horsemen. This is seen in how we conduct ourselves after a defeat, we – and I use the term we loosely as to not overly offend the minority of morons who act this way – react to losing with such ignominy you would be fair to ask how we have the audacity to ever enter the subject of “class”.
Beating Dortmund was a start towards finding some form as costly mistakes from previous games seemed to have been rectified. Our tactical approach to going ahead was calm and considered. We didn’t overcommit yet we still attacked with enough intent so as not to allow Dortmund to think the door was left ajar for them to come in when they wanted.
Previously Arsenal had been bombing forward chasing killer goals or trying to claw their way back into the game and had failed to observe basic principles of defending and were often punished by counter-attacks. Against Dortmund they controlled the midfield and in the main, employed a pulley system with the full backs when attacking. One went, one stayed. It’s how a box-to-box partnership would work in the middle.
The win will have given the players some confidence after a poor few weeks but it did cost us heavily in the form of injuries. Arteta limped out of the game and despite some being unconvinced by his qualities in that shielding role we do look much easier to get at when he isn’t playing. His intelligence will be sorely missed.
We’re playing away and our away support are much more vociferous with their encouragement than our rotating home support are with their disapproval. The players have confidence from their last result but as they are playing away in the early kick-off against a decent team they’ll need all the support they can get.
Arsenal need to build some momentum in results but the last two games has seen consistency in attacking ability and improvement in defence. Koscielny may be welcomed back into the starting line-up today and immediately our defence is stronger. He could well be joined by compatriot Giroud who will be fresher than most who played in mid-week and certainly more so than Welbeck who faces a late fitness test.
Arsenal from; Martinez, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal, Bellerin, Flamini, Rosicky, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Alexis, Cazorla, Podolski, Sanogo, Welbeck, Campbell, Giroud
Martinez, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Flamini, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Giroud, Alexis
I expect to see substitute appearances from Monreal, Welbeck and Podolski
“Just before he scored he had a great shot saved by Roman Weidenfeller. He doesn’t hit the stands, he hits the target.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 1-0 West Brom (04.05.2014)
- West Brom 1-1 Arsenal (06.10.2013)
- West Brom (4)1-1(5) Arsenal (25.09.2013)
Arsenal Last 5
West Brom Last 5
The Baggies have won only one of their last seven matches after showing some early season promise. Their home form has been mixed thus far but home advantage is home advantage. They have injury problems of their own and Yacob is suspended for three matches. However, Berahino has shown some decent form this season and despite being an injury concern earlier on in the week he has declared himself fit. West Brom will play a counter-attacking style of football and in Berahino and Sessegnon they have players capable of hurting Arsenal if they don’t defend the way they did against Dortmund.
- West Brom haven’t beaten Arsenal in their last 8 attempts
- Arsenal have lost away to West Brom twice in the past 40 years
- Wenger has never seen a team fail to score at the Hawthornes
- Arsenal haven’t beaten a team above 14th place this season. West Brom are 13th.
If Arsenal play the same as they did against Dortmund I think we could be in for a treat. With the return of Giroud our hold-up play will be massively improved which should benefit Alexis, Chamberlain and Ramsey who is still looking to rediscover his scoring touch. Aaron Ramsey has looked much sharper in recent weeks so I’m backing him for a goal today as well as another clean sheet for young Martinez who I think will continue to deputise for Szczesny who faces a late test.
4-0 to Arsenal with goals from Giroud, Ramsey, Alexis and a late goal from the bench courtesy of Welbeck.
Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan). Please check out the official NLIR Facebook page http://facebook.com/northlondonisredblog for news, views, freebies and more.
Don’t forget to tune into the funniest Arsenal podcast around “Goonersphere Podcast“
Advertise your business here! Click here for details .