Giroud To Take Arsenal Top Of The League
Match Preview – West Brom vs Arsenal – Premier League – 21.11.15
Words are my thing. They’ve always flowed naturally from me and struggling to find the right ones is a rarity. The first time I ever truly struggled to get my words out was when I asked my wife out for the first time. It was then that I knew I’d marry her. The second time was during the birth of my son and immediately after when in my vain attempts to appear calm and supportive – whilst I kicked furiously under the surface like a swan – I kept repeating “you’re doing really really well”. This after reading so many books on being a birthing partner that all said to mix it up and not to repeat yourself too often. Then, as I looked at my child for the first time the only sound I could decipher and project from the whirl of emotions swirling all through my body was “wow… wow”. That went on for a least a minute.
And now, once more I find myself unable to write down the words I want to express my horror at the atrocities in Paris and my deepest sympathies for the victims, their families, the people of France and also for those in society who have done nothing but loosely share a religion with murderous psychopaths and now face alienation and marginalisation which is exactly what the aforementioned scumbags want.
How do you begin to comment on such a tragedy? I’d like to write something elegant to honour those lost and to preach acceptance, tolerance and peace to avoid more innocent lives being lost and innocent, caring and peaceful people affected by the unsavoury reaction to the Muslim community because of the actions of religious hijackers who seek to legitimise their abhorrence by claiming their actions to be the will of God. It is the will of rabid vermin, not men, not Gods, but violent, primeval vermin. I cannot though. Anger taints every word and sadness every pause. Perhaps in time the right words will come to me but for now it is too raw.
Life is full of small mercies in times of great sorrow and difficulty and football is one of them. In troubled times it is both an escape from reality and a beacon of hope that something so ordinary can happen and raise a solitary finger to those who would seek to disrupt and ultimately eradicate our way of life.
November has historically not been the Gunners’ greatest month with, if my figures are correct, an average of 1.6 points per league game and so far we are stood at an average of 1 this season. However, with just two league matches remaining this month we have an opportunity to take that to 2.3 which is above our average for the calendar year and would certainly be a standard with which to mount a serious title challenge.
First up is West Brom and should Arsenal emerge victorious they will top the table ahead of Manchester City’s match against Liverpool which I fancy to be a draw. Sadly we could not overpower Tottenham to leapfrog City before the international break but we have a chance to get our noses in front and challenge them to match us.
Arsenal have mixed news with the availability of the squad. Bellerin is back from injury which is a huge plus as the young Spockney (a word of my own design; it sounds like he’s a huge fan of Leonard Nimoy which is actually quite fun) has become a key player for Arsenal. Alexis may have to settle for a bench role having played extensively for club and country already this season and, understandably, Giroud and Koscielny may need some time.
If Giroud doesn’t play it presents a bit of a quandary for the manager, especially if he plans to rest Alexis. That said, I believe Giroud and Koscielny will both play and play well. I think they will be more determined than ever, especially when La Marseillaise rings out around The Hawthorns. If you are going I hope you join in.
Arsenal from; Cech, Ospina, Macey, Chambers, Bellerin, Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Arteta, Coquelin, Flamini, Reine-Adelaide, Özil, Campbell, Giroud, Alexis, Iwobi
Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Özil, Gibbs, Campbell, Giroud
I expect to see substitute appearances from Flamini, Alexis and Arteta.
“It is difficult but it’s a good opportunity to focus on something else and to get it out of your mind a little bit” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 4-1 West Brom (24.05.2015)
- West Brom 0-1 Arsenal (29.11.2014)
- Arsenal 1-0 West Brom (04.05.2014)
Arsenal Last 5
WBA Last 5
Tony Pulis sides are usually quite difficult to score against and beat but so far they’ve lost half their games and conceded 16 goals. Possibly West Brom isn’t built entirely in their manager’s image and that explains their form so far but they haven’t entirely lost their ability to make things difficult.
Their home form has been poor and that works well for Arsenal who are usually good away. West Brom have a full squad to pick from but should Arsenal find an early weakness it could be a straightforward day.
- West Brom have only beaten Arsenal once in their last 19 league meetings at The Hawthorns (D7, L11)
- Arsenal have the best away form in the Premier League this season, winning five of their six games
- West Brom have won just one of their six home games in the league this season losing four
- Arsenal are unbeaten in nine league meetings with West Brom, winning seven and drawing two
- Only Aston Villa have a worse home record in the Premier League this season
- Arsenal have scored 11 goals in their last three league games away from home
- Pulis’ team have scored just 10 goals in 12 league games
- The Gunners have conceded just two goals in their previous five league matches
- Olivier Giroud has scored in four of his last six league appearances
- Cech is one clean sheet shy of equalling David James’ league record
2-0 to Arsenal. Giroud brace. 1-0 to democracy and freedom.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
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