Thursday, 4 April 2013

West Bromwich Albion (A)

They say there are no easy victories in football, however Reading on Saturday was an easy victory. I was very pleased with the performance the team put in against Reading and although the look no more than a Championship team we made them look that bad with out very tidy performance. Now many people will be fully aware that I am no fan of Gervinho and when although I suspected he'd start, I could feel the universal disappointment at the Emirates when his name was read out.

However he played his socks off at the weekend and although we saw the man who can slip past 2 defenders before blazing the ball over the bar, we saw glimpses of what he really cant do, his goal was a tap in but fair play to him for seeing it. But the stand out moment for me was when Sagna (who was superb) lifted the ball over the top of the midfield and Gerv charged onto it. He was on his own against 3 defenders but held the ball well, drew them all in and then slid it across for Giroud who drilled the ball in. There were a lot of really good performances, Cazorla was unreal as were all the midfield actually. Fabianski had a good game and it was good to see Giroud getting back amongst the goals.

I'd also like to touch on the fantastic display of support on the 7th minute of the match for a man who graced our number 7 until his very premature death. David Rocastle was a fan favourite at Arsenal and with a unique blend of flair and power he was exciting to watch and a very effective player. Sadly on March 31st 2001 David lost his battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma aged just 31 and will always be sorely missed, but will never be forgotten. 

Anyway that game is gone and we need to keep our momentum in the run is as Chelsea slipped up against Southampton. Tomorrow is going to be an odd game. We play West Brom who are by all means a decent team and will be very hard to beat but on the flip side of that, they have nothing to play for. They're sitting comfortably in mid table and aside from a Europa League place will go nowhere. That said they will still provide a stern test for our team who are still battling for a place amongst Europe's elite next season, and although people will say the run in is with us, we have to do our job before we count on others.

Team news for us is looking positive, although we are still without Jack and Theo, they are aiming to be available for selection next weekend. After colliding with the post and going on against Reading, Monreal is available which is good because although Gibbs came on to replace him its clear he isn't quite ready just yet. So with this in mind I think the team will be identical to the one that started against Reading. Fabianksi, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud.

West Brom have a strong team and with Lukaku upfront on loan from Chelsea having bagged 13 of their goals this season. After Odenwingie's antics on deadline day he hasn't been selected (surprise, surprise). Brunt will sit in the gap behind Lukaku and they will have threat from Morrison too. They are however without the powerhouse Mulumbu in the middle which may give us the edge to to run the game from the middle of the park.
West Brom are a tricky team to beat but if we want to keep our charge for the top four on track they are a team we have to beat. On our day when the Arsenal play in the way we all know they can we should be beating West Brom but sadly we all know Arsenal far too well to expect this to be a bump free ride, we do like to make things hard for ourselves.

Until next time. COYG!

Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Arsenal