WBA Preview: Just Win. For The Love Of…

West Bromwich Albion arrive at The Emirates with the good form of the early season disappearing into the mists that have descended in recent mornings. The Baggies have slipped out of the top four, albeit on goals scored, having lost their customary back-to-back games this season. Previous years might have seen such events become woes but having made their best start in over thirty years, Albion have revived memories of the mid-to-late 70s, the Atkinson era, when they routinely handed bloodied noses to clubs who were the Big Four of their time, a place they briefly occupied as they routinely produced sparkling performances.

A different world now, on and off the pitch. Arsenal are nothing but consistent with their inconsistency at this time of the year, dominating the back pages as players are deemed ‘wantaway’. One such, Bacary Sagna, was the subject of conversation at the pre-match press conference. The previous day, the French defender was deemed frustrated by talks breaking down yet the manager, Team Sagna or someone else is mischief making. That is not surprising on so many levels, least of all is that broadsheets now routinely stray into territory that used to be the sole preserve of the tabloids. Speculation is everywhere.

Theo Walcott meanwhile has incurred the manager’s ire, stalled talks, additional demands, the most recent of which is that Arsène serenade him with a version of “Moon River” whilst he is signing any new deal. If it gets that far, of course. My own view from the outside is that Walcott has long made his mind up to leave, knowing full well what is on offer at other clubs. I do believe that he would prefer to stay but the disparity with salary on offer – inflated by the spare cash saved on not paying transfer fees – it is difficult for him to resist new overtures. To be honest, he is a lucky lad to be in that position and that Arsenal’s own form has been so inconsistent. There is no doubt that he would be little more than a bit part player had the squad been able to continually produce the performance levels of August and September. Arsenal have a dilemma; to pay him closer to his demands and more than he demands or incur more wrath with the perception of another key player leaving. Damned if they do pay more, chastised no doubt in many quarters, damned if they don’t, castigated if they fail to hold onto another young international.

Which segues into the words of another with Kieran Gibbs noting that the lack of confidence in the team led to a lack of concentration at the back as they forced, and subsequently chased, the game against Swansea. The manager noted that home form has been unspectacular this season and any dreams of improving on last season’s third place – or even consolidating – have been thus far. Still the gap is less than two wins and Arsenal have got away with it. A win today is imperative to ensure that does not widen.

Podolski is missing today, as are Walcott and Sagna. I would hope that means the inclusion of Rosicky with Cazorla moving to the left, Oxlade-Chamberlain to the right. The alternative would be the Spaniard to the right, Arshavin on the left. Arsène has options to include the Czech, a player who was pivotal in the charge to third before the stumble at the end of the season. Rosicky doesn’t score enough, even he admits that but his contribution is more than that, his speed of thought and perception of attacking play allow him to quicken Arsenal’s forward play. That has been missing in recent weeks, the verve that he brought to the trip to the ultimately doomed trip to Greece in midweek. His withdrawal at half-time was as clear a signal as any that Rosicky starts this afternoon.

My line-up would be,

Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Rosicky, Arteta, Wilshere; Cazorla, Giroud, Arshavin

I suspect that Gervinho will be preferred to the Russian and possibly Oxlade-Chamberlain to Cazorla, to give the Spaniard a rest. Whatever the case, a win is vital, more than the performance. The fixtures beyond the Home Counties derby transported to the North West, suggest routine wins for teams above us. Just win to make the world seem brighter.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

273 thoughts on “WBA Preview: Just Win. For The Love Of…

  1. Much much better performance. Quick one twos were there to see. Wilshere was top quality and an improved outing by Ox, more of that please. Let’s build on it. We can turn this around.

  2. I think we pressed hard and finally passed and moved quickly the way we need to for our game to work and it showed that we can be a very fine team. Now a win at Bradford and confidence will be high going into next Saturday’s game. Time to put together a string of wins!

  3. Wenger has said he’ll have a word with Santi if he thinks he’s dived after he takes a look at the match.

    I hope he does, we don’t need to cheat.

  4. A joy to watch. I’ve missed that interchange between players, and clearly with Jack coming into form the passing and driving forward has improved.

  5. Especially since Santi drew deserved praise for his assist to Podolski after being brought down but carrying on playing. I’d rather he get a reputation for that determination. There may have been a glancing touch but he did overreact to get the penalty.

  6. To be completely honest, by our previous years standards (when fabregas, nasri and co where here), the type of football we played today was good not amazing.

    By by recent standards, that performance was incredible.Immense and so on.


    Maybe i am being abit harsh on him, but he set very high standards for me, i would like to see him dominate.

  7. Not blaming the players Bob. Some of they shouldn’t be here in the first place. Like I said, the criticism should be levied at the one who assembled them.

  8. Moe, probably not yet reached the very heights, but within the frame of good passing attacking football. Much improved, hence much approved!

  9. Well ,, 3 points and its all smiles ( mostly ) I only caught the lat 15 minutes of the game but it looked a vast improvement from what I seen of late. Either way 3 points is 3 points. Let use this victory to push on wards and upwards..
    Great game by Wilshere,, I guess he is not as crap as George reckons he is.. ( smiley face )

  10. There are some miserable goat herders on here again. I hate it when we win…it isn’t what I expected…but worse than that, it isn’t what I predicted…And I hate being wrong…It’s an unfamiliar feeling 😉

  11. Has anybody used my favourite cliche yet? You known the one “papering over the cracks” 😆

  12. Still, let’s look on the dark side. Nigel Winterburn wasn’t jumping up and down in his seat about the performance so we miserable buggers can take heart….bunch of mercenaries…Phrench foreign legionaires…Jermans, Jerman Polaks, and others polluting our game…

  13. A great result today. Dive or no dive, we needed those 3 points. I have yet to see the match, as I was comatose this morning due to the copious amounts of alcohol I very happily consumed last night, but from the comments and various reports it seems we deserved the win. I hear the finishing was not great but who cares when we win, right?

    On a separate note, I read this from Giroud – “When you’re attacking, you hope for more crosses. It is not spontaneous enough when we are in positions to cross. I have talked with my team-mates about this.

    “Arsenal has the culture of the passing game, perhaps too much. I am not staking a claim to be the coach, but I am fortunate to be at a club where we can talk about such things.”

    I think he makes a very good point and think that if the likes of Podolski and Theo can bang in a few more crosses, we will start to see the real Giroud. He is excellent in the air and that should be something we work on improving.

  14. Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    why do you feel a need to goad people? why not just enjoy the result, say what you liked,disliked etc

  15. A great time to support The Arsenal!

    Very good performance, still a little bit off in the final 3rd but you could see that it is getting there.

    TV looks like TV again, he was top class today. A good defensive display from the team overall.

    The team is full of excellent players and I expect some great stuff this season. Watch it!


  16. @Moe at 7:35 pm

    Certain people need to be goaded away from here. I’ve had enough of people being so negative for days on end, posting the same guff day in day out, making unfounded accusations, building straw men, and burning them of their own accord. As for me I feel very much better today and I cannot wait to see the extended highlights on Sky later…it sounds like Wilshere is close to being back to his brilliant best…

  17. @Purple Verve at 7:41 pm

    Depends upon where you are. Sky show extended highlights at 10.15pm here in the UK. Full match on Arsenal TV online tomorrow….

  18. Just enjoy the win georgaki.

    All this stuff about moaning about ‘moaners’, ie those who perceive a few issues at our club, is as boring as you claim them to be.

  19. Bob @ 5:37 pm
    Did you say moaning, moaners? Par for the course on ACLF these days. I refuse to indulge.
    – The rebuild continues, slowly but surely. We have the best possible manager for the job. Too bad for the misery brigade and their enablers.

  20. No Bob ,there is a difference between people with some concerns and those who endlessly repeat the same depressing shit.
    And its a concern to me that someone like you cant see that.
    You champion JJ and he does nothing but spout unsubstantiated negative shit,combined with stating the fucking obvious ,which he does to give credence to the other complete bollocks he spouts.
    And JJ is ok .Hes my pal At least he is genuine and would stand in front of you and tell you the same .Unlike others who are complete wind up merchants and likely never stray from artificial light and a keyboard.

  21. 3 points!!!

    With Wilshere, Wojo, Sagna, Vermaelen and Rosicky(for the last 10 at least)playing at the same, the team certainly had a more familiar feel.

    It’s easy to forget that this is only Arteta’s and Per’s second season with us. We must keep a team, this team, together if we are to challenge at the very top again.

    Right, who plays on Tuesday? Bear in mind that our next game after Bradford is an away trip to the Madejski, but that’s not until the following Monday.

    Something similar to what we saw against Olympiacos?

    Stronger? Weaker?


  22. It will be much stronger Matt.
    All the big hitters will be there ,on the bench at very least .
    Only Bac will not be there,and perhaps Poldoski

  23. I think it should be, George.

    Definitely no room, or need, for a hiccup, as this would be tantamount to a stroke.

    Perhaps a similar starting eleven with a strong, first team bench as oppose to the kids we saw in Greece.

  24. Forgot to add Gibbs and Le Coq Sportif to my above list of familiar faces who appeared today. Really good to see.

    I love it when we win.

  25. I’d go something like –


    bench: Gnabry, Akpom, Martinez, Ramsey, Walcott *if he’s fit.

  26. Zinc, George

    Perhaps a bit too experimental for me considering how things are/perceived/portrayed at present, but it does look exciting.

    I’d also like to think we would have a couple more big hitters on the bench, just in case things get sticky.

    We really MUST win; no regrets.

  27. Wenger obviously can’t keep clean sheet. So this win has to be down to Bouldie, right?

    The players we’re scared to face a repeat of the Bould version of hair drier treatment and did what they had to do (dived) to win the game. Bould for manager. Wenger out!

  28. Henistic.
    That is what some will say .
    And others will say they are entitled to their opinion and it comes from a legitimate concern.

  29. Much improved performance, but a long way to go yet.

    I think the team are aware of the slow play and back passing that was the problem, it seemed to me that they were consciously looking to make a pass forward rather then the interminable back passing we’ve seen recently.

  30. George,
    Well, that is true. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even an Einstein like yourself.

    “In Bould we trust”

  31. Have not had time to read the comments.

    very important win. The first penalty was weak but that has and will continue to happen both ways. The result is the key and we took advantage of our luck and did what was needed. Really pleased with the clean sheet.

  32. The thing is Henristic ,Someone as smart as me is likely to be right most of the time .
    As indeed I am .

  33. Ha George, must it all be about you?

    Stop cramping my Bould campaign. I’m hoping to see a movement started.

  34. george is crazy, have you guys not noticed yet? I mean the guy thinks he is a meerkat 🙂

    One should think that after such a long time hanging out in ACLF he woudl know that Poodles are on top of the animal foodchain.

    poodles george not meerkats…
    poodles are curly and clever and fits everyone from old ladys to springy youth. They even come in all shapes and sizes. not bad for a dog.
    And meerkats? well they keep going to “compare the market” to look at meercat birds instead of “compare the meerkat” where all the hotties are… and they all sound like Arsharvin…

    oh and we won today, happy days indeed 🙂

  35. I don’t like poodles. Don’t really see them as ‘proper’ dogs.
    Meerkats win 100%. They are what they are.

  36. dupsffokcuf – I thought Miquel might be injured too? If not then I’d definitely take him.

    Also, ignore my comment about Zaha above, looks completely fake.

  37. anyway, whatever happend with santi out there today it will surly drown in the Manchester derby tomorrow. All we need is a little diving from Young, a controversial penalty and a grumpy Balotelli and nobody will remember Cazorla except us. Which is how it shouhd be…

  38. Just watched MOTD from behind a pillow in anticipation of the Cazorla witch-hunt. Didn’t happen. Called it a dive, which is undoubtedly was, and that was that.

    Very complimentary on our performance.

    Things looking up.

  39. Morning LFers

    here’s hoping
    the Spuds lose or draw @ the Toffees..
    Shitty beat or draw with the red Mancs…(then lose 2 in dec.)
    Scousers beat or draw Fat Sam’s Hammers @ Anfield…

    to seal a great weekend.

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