West Brom Preview: Pitfalls Aren’t Always Pratfalls

2017, will it end with a whimper or a bang? Last season, this fixture brought the former as we capitulated because West Brom were…er, um…on the pitch. No other reason. Our much-vaunted – by the manager, at least – resilience and mental spirit proved to be herring-shaped globs in the water. They were red herrings but even their spines collapsed under no pressure at all.

This year is going to be different, isn’t it? We didn’t collapse when Crystal Palace scored on either occasion on Thursday night. That’s a good start but not one which can be taken for granted. Albion are bad though. I mean, worse than Swansea bad and that takes some doing. Eighteen without a win; it’s relegation material and sending for Pardew has done them no good whatsoever.

Dad-Dancer Al told the media his philosophy was to hang, draw and quarter all dissenters in his squads. They toed the line and got their Dad-Dancing shoes on or faced the consequences. He believed Arsenal should do the same with Alexis Sanchez. And Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Alexandre Lacazette, and probably Petr Cech for good measure.

Dad-Dancer Al then denied this was to give his side a better chance in today’s game; “I haven’t named any of their centre-backs,” he said as if that was some sort of defence.

On which subject, I’m not sure how Arsenal will line-up today, and the bookies suggest this may be a coupon buster if you like an accumulator bet. Albion need points; so do we to keep in touch with the top four. We’ve also got Chelsea on Wednesday which ought to be enough time for players to recover. The only defensive doubt in that sense must be Laurent Koscielny whose Achilles problem may not be up to three games in a week. I bet it is, given we’ve only got Rob Holding or Per Mertesacker to come in.

If That’s The Answer, Are We Asking The Wrong Question?

Maybe the BFG is the answer to bring organisation to the central defence; I’m not convinced that’s the answer, especially after his performance at Southampton recently. And a back four with Mustafi and Chambers or Holding as the spine isn’t dreamy unless you like your dreams to feature Freddie Kruger.

There’s a strong case if any of the defenders are to be rested, for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to come in for Hector Bellerin. The young Spaniard is better than he is given credit for. However, he could do with an experienced hand taking him to one side to train the nuances of his role into him. But we don’t coach defensive play, so that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

I’d like to see Maitland-Niles in central midfield and if he wants a battle, this is the game for him. However, if Granit Xhaka is to be ‘rested’, Francis Coquelin will be Arsène’s first choice, with Elneny as the pair in the middle; Jack Wilshere moved further forward alongside Lacazette and Welbeck. I’m guessing Sanchez and Özil will be rested although I’d be tempted to play the former just to knacker him out and spoil Manchester City’s fun.

The Chelsea match doesn’t take priority over over this one, but it does influence the manager’s thinking. It must do; it has to. Three points today are worth no more than the three points against Chelsea, but winning that game brings more confidence with it. So long as we don’t lose today; then it’s just making up lost ground. Take six points out of six and there’s a psychological element at play; it boosts us and chips away at theirs.

The first point of order is today and to win at a ground where the last two visits have ended in defeat.

New Year, New You

It’s no surprise we lost the last two visits to the Hawthorns; we were ‘Pulis-ed’. Arsène never got to grips with facing his Welsh demon away from home at Stoke; that it didn’t change at West Brom is no surprise. Now he’s taking his unique brand of agricultural football to Middlesbrough, we will have a couple of seasons respite.

If I had to guess at a team today, it would be:

Cech; Mustafi, Mertesacker, Chambers; Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Coquelin, Kolasinac; Sanchez, Lacazette, Welbeck

Maybe Özil instead of Alexis or Welbeck but I don’t think Arsène will be able to resist tinkering with the line-up ahead of Chelsea.

It’s the last post of 2017, so all that remains is to thank you all for dropping by to share your wit and wisdom every day. I hope you all have a great 2018, which can begin with three points tucked into Arsenal’s back pocket.

’til Tomorrow.


112 thoughts on “West Brom Preview: Pitfalls Aren’t Always Pratfalls

  1. Happy New Year One and All. While we may not all agree on the way forward I do believe we all want AFC to be the success that it should be. Let’s just hope that fate takes a hand and 2018 is a pivotal year in the history of the club however that may happen. 🥂🎉

  2. Hhhhhhhmmmmmmm just back in from the hospital. The Wife’s sister gave birth this morning.

    I see Its business as usual. Take the lead and then unable to hold unto a lead. Mitigating circumstances lead to a penalty.

    Oh well cesta vie. Cest la quotidien under Monsieur Wenger.

    We can be sure that in 2018 we will continue to experience the same.

  3. “If you look across the world of football, you don’t find better candidates than Arsene Wenger”

    Ivan has a point here, i mean who else would be a better candidate to fill Stan’s remit of not winning much, not spending much and becoming mid table while charging top prices. The man stan has form across his sports franchises……no self respecting ambitious well qualified coach would want to work for this a-hole. and as for the shister that is ivan, total leach and a serial liar.
    he’s let you pay him to do anything to him that one. his statements have literally negative value.
    People can whine about the penalty but whatever it was a pants performance against one of the worst teams in the division. We are a pile of mediocre stinking festering disorganised badly managed at every level – except ripping fans off – club. I actively dislike watching us now, i don’t know why i bothered to watch any of that utter rubbish that took place. no plan, flakey players, poor attitude, crap management, it goes on and on and on.
    happy new year !

  4. Thanks Yogi for yet another year of top top quality posts, I really don’t know how you do it, but glad you can. So wishing you and yours a healthy and happy new year.
    Also best wishes to everyone who contributes to commenting, something I’m not good at.

  5. New Year, New Me. Tomorrow’s post is written and goes live at 7am…

    Have a good evening all, and hope 2018 is good for you and yours.

  6. Figured I’d say Happy New Year mates and specially to you Yogi!

    To my long time mates like Bob, Wavey, Henry, Bill and those lurking like MA and MLF, find some moonshine and start your year off right 😂

  7. If Man City offer 40 to 50 mill for Alexis (which they would regard as chicken-feed for someone like Sanchez) how can Arsenal possibly say no? The only thing Arsenal are fighting for is fourth place and that looks a big stretch. The board surely will not allow Alexis to hang around and walk out the door for nothing at the end of the season. They might even think this is a good time to start blooding youngsters (or even force Arsene out the door).
    From Man City’s perspective, Sanchez is the perfect fit. He knows exactly how Pep likes to play. A forward line of Sanchez, Aguero and Sane, with Kevin De Bruyne and Silva in midfield, is the sort of combination that wins Champions League Finals.
    Of course, there will be some other big spenders, like PSG, sniffing about. But I can’t see Alexis saying no to Pep.

  8. Happy New Year to all you guys posting on ACLF and especially YW who manages to give us a fine post for discussion every day.

    May all of you have a fantastic 2018, just don’t expect much to change at Arsenal.

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