It’s hard to believe that in August, some Arsenal fans were saying that we would be fighting to stay in the Premier league this season. Others wanted Wenger to be sacked as they thought he was not going to take this club anywhere. Skip forward a few months and now Arsenal are favourites to finish 3rd in the league, only behind Man United and Man City. All that is standing in between an incredible season and true disappointment is West Brom.
Arsenal was on a terrific run a few weeks ago. Having won many big games, like Liverpool (a), City, and Tottenham, Arsenal were expected to fly into the Champions League. However, Arsenal has now not run for 4 weeks straight having lost to Wigan at home. Many factors could contribute to our recent poor run; like losing Arteta and Walcott. However, Arsenal was also in a great position a week ago against Norwich City, where we were ahead after Yossi Benayoun opened the scoring after 60 seconds. Some dreadful defending later and we were down. Then, our skipper almost won us the game scoring his 30th league goal of the season. Our defence was once again to take the blame as Norwich scored an 85th minute equalizer. Having one on of our last four games, Arsenal would only need to take a point to secure third place.
West Brom away is not an easy place to go to. I also don’t think that it is going to get any easier with it being Mr. Hodgson’s last game managing the Hawthorns. With West Brom having absolutely nothing to play for, this game is also going to be much tougher, as they will be playing with no fear. I believe that this match is definitely Arsenal’s or Arsene’s to lose. Many things can go wrong and it could start by the team selection. What I am hoping for is this: Szczesny; Coquelin, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Benayoun, Van Persie, Gervinho( Walcott)
The injury list sees a rumour of Szczensy being a possible doubt because of some back problem. Most Gooners will be hoping that he is fit because of course; our alternative will have to Fabianski. While Fabianski isn’t a bad keeper, in fact last season he was good, whenever he goes out of the side he seems to make school-boy errors when he plays. Also, Theo may be available and I would definitely like to see him start ahead of Gervinho. Arsenal has definitely missed the English Winger’s pace and agility.
One error I am hoping Arsene doesn’t make is starting Aaron Ramsey. The young Welshman has been good this season, but lately he seems to be somewhat fatigue and uncreative. He hasn’t looked interested in chasing back that ball and doing any dirty defencive work. While comparing him to Fabregas or Nasri may seem unfair, he just doesn’t seem to have the same extra spark that those two players had when they were the playmakers in midfield. Aaron Ramsey has potential, whether or not he will be able to reach his potential in the future is still hazed.
So how else can Arsenal screw this game up? Showing the same defencive quality they produced against Norwich. I believe that all three of the goals were big errors that any side in the Premier League should not be making each week. For the first goal, Szczensy let the ball slip through his hands and into the back of the net. For the second goal, it was terrible defence all around, ending in a poor deflected shot which crept into the back of the net. The third goal was just a ball into space that Morrison finished rather well. As long as Arsenal shows some determination in defence, I believe that we may be just okay.
Final Score Prediction: West Brom 1-4 Arsenal (V. Persie (3), Benayoun)
What’s the point of being negative and thinking that Arsenal will just screw this up? Being positive gives good motivation out and really spurs our team on. All Arsenal fans will be hoping that Van Persie does get a brace to become the record goal scorer in a Premier League season. I don’t see Arsenal keeping a clean sheet with our current defence, but I am hoping that the goal comes in the 90th minute off a corner for a consolation for West Brom. So come on Arsenal!
Also, Arsenal legend Pat Rice will sit on the bench one last time for Arsenal so let’s give win a great final game for a legend!