By Bulldog Drummond
West Brom under Pulis have pulled themselves up the league somewhat, and have maintained their position in the last few weeks… (stats from Statto.com as always).
|25||11.02.2017||West Ham United||away||D2-2||8||37|
So two defeats in the last two games but four without defeat before that.
However we should also note that in 18 out of their 28 league games they have scored either no goals or just one which means a certain level of defensive awareness, both in terms of the WBA forwards and the referee, could be helpful.
There is a significant home and away difference for WBA
Clearly what we need is a tight defence and with nothing happening that can give the referee even a semi-quaver of an opportunity to give penalty for sneezing halfway inside our own half.
But we must be fair to WBA and recognise wholeheartedly that they have scored more goals at home than the wonderful Manchester City whose manager many aaa supporters have now conveniently forgotten that they were baying for Arsenal to take on this season. And more than Man U whose centre forward we should have signed. Apparently.
WBA have won 23 games at their place against us, we have won 25 against them. But with Pulis being given free range by the refs it will be tight.
On the injury front contrary to the use run of propaganda Arsenal are near the foot of the table:
|16||Tottenham Hotspur||3||M Dembele||Ankle Injury|
|17||Manchester City||2||G Jesus||Metatarsal Fracture|
|18||Leicester City||2||N Mendy||Knee Injury|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||2||J Morrison||Ankle Injury|
|20||Chelsea||1||V Moses||Calf Injury|
Santi Caz and the Ox are the other two players who are out. Just to give a comparison the top club on the table has three times as many injuries as we do.
What this means is that Stewart Robson isn’t getting quite so many interview opportunities on bonkers radio stations.
The various players who have dropped in and out of the team of late – in particular Danny Welbeck, Mesut Ozil and Theo – should be back in contention. Given that Pulis is involved we will need all our guile and courage to overcome the players, the ref and (if WBA supporters have taken over the mantle of Stoke as the location where basic human decencies have died.
The current Arsenal sequence of results is the worst one we have had all season:
But all runs come to an end sometime, but this one is being hampered by the attention given to the noises off from the media and the aaa. While the aaa would probably argue that their protests are important in order to encourage the board to get rid of the manager, the fact is that the significant downturn in Arsenal form has come as they have stepped up their protests.
Of course this might just be a coincidence, but in the absence of much evidence about anything it needs to be considered seriously.
Before the protests really took off in a big way Arsenal went on a run of 10 wins and 3 draws in 13, so there is at least a strong possibility that the protests have had a part to play in the downturn. They are at the very least a serious distraction, and with talk of the aaa hiring a plane with an anti-Wenger message on it to fly over the ground, this could get a lot worse.
Everyone who works in a job which involves any form of performance in front of a large audience will know that you can train like mad to overcome distractions, but even the most well-trained professional has a point at which focus and concentration goes.
Of course that leaves aside the thought as to whether such interruptions are ever likely to have an effect. On that we have little evidence in the case of Arsenal. We have had managers in the past whose work with the team has taken the club to much lower levels than fifth: 12th when George Graham was sacked (although not for the quality of the football), 17th when Bertie Mee was finally persuaded to leave, 14th when Billy Wright was chopped, 10th when George Swindin was removed.
So 5th, the position we occupied in the season before Mr Wenger came along, seems a bit churlish to use as an excuse to get rid of the manager.
But I guess that is how it goes these days.