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WBA v Arsenal: would you support Arsenal if Pulis were made manager?

By Bulldog Drummond

The question on everyone’s lips is would you support Arsenal if Pulis were made manager?

Actually it isn’t on everyone’s lips as I just made that up.  But I find it an interesting ponderable (a new word it seems, but I reckon there needs to be an opposite of imponderable.)  Would I still support Arsenal?   Oh that is so tough…

West Bromwich Strollers as they used to be known, were once upon a time top ten finishers in the top division – from 1977 to 1981 for example they were indeed in the top ten each year.  But 2012/13 has been the only occasion of a top 10 finish since that era in the 70s.

So if they do make it into the top ten this year, it will be quite an achievement, casting the mind back to the post-war (that is post-first-world-war) era when they were quite a force to be reckoned with.

Looking back over the way the two teams have been playing this season we can hazard the guess that Arsenal will dominate possession, and will also use the ploy of taking the ball from the opponents in tackles and interceptions.  Quite a nifty ruse that – and a wonder that no one else has come up with it.  Anyway that is WhoScored’s interpretation of Arsenal’s technique.

They also suggest that West Brom have figures that show they will create many scoring chances, but that should still not remove the chance for Arsenal to control the game in their half.

Such is the disaster area that awaits any team that is relegated, West Brom have noted that they have already secured their Premier League status for next season.  Newcastle, Norwich and Villa went down last season: Newcastle look like they are coming straight back, but Norwich are 23 points off automatic promotion, and Villa 29 – it is easy to get stuck in the abyss for years to come.

But the wobbleyous will be expected to push on and get that elusive top ten finish, and the defeats in the last two games without actually scoring even a consolation goal means they will be pushing harder and harder to show they can mix and match it with the big boys.  Elbows and two footed lunges at the ready.

Back to Whoscored – they say that WBA have four main weaknesses: avoiding fouling in dangerous areas, defending against skillful players, aerial duel and (and this is the big one) keeping possession of the ball.  Blimey – I never thought that was needed.

So their forecast for the game is that Arsenal will dominate possession, will steal the ball from the opposition very often, and will control the game in the opposition’s half.

What they also do on the WhoScored site – but it is buried in the stats and not that ease to see, is a “per match” statistical analysis, which it is possible to adjust for WBA being at home and us being in far away places.  It goes like this:

 

So from that we get a 2-2 draw, with Arsenal having slightly more shots, and corners.  On the fouling front it looks evens: two yellows each on 11 fouls each.   But it is on possession and pass success that Arsenal come out on top.

Now the usual silly bits of coincidence:

Arsenal have scored in 22 consecutive league matches against West Brom, winning 15 of them, since a 0-0 away draw in November 1985.

If the Wobbleyous lose it will be the first time they have lost three in a row this season.  And they have never had three games without scoring (except for the famous Pulis goalless draws) since Pulis took over.

West Brom have won seven of the last nine league matches at home.

Salomon Rondon the top scorer of the Albion with seven has failed to score in all 13 league and cup appearances since his hat-trick against Swansea City on 14 December.

Arsenal

We have lost three PL games in a row before without the end of the world being proclaimed – but the figures give out by some sites on this (including the BBC) are wrong.  The last time we did that we did that was in January 2012 when we lost to Fulham, Swansea and Man U each by one goal. The last time we lost three away games in a row was August 2011, against Man U, Blackburn and Tottenham.

 

We also haven’t looked at the fair play league for a while, so here it is.  As I have mentioned before, there are various fair play leagues, each ranking events with different points systems.  This one gives one for a yellow and three for a red.

 

RANK CLUB Yellow Cards Red Cards Points
1 Watford 66 3 75
West Ham United 63 4 75
3 Manchester City 53 4 65
Sunderland 56 3 65
5 Crystal Palace 62 0 62
6 West Bromwich Albion 58 1 61
7 Manchester United 56 1 59
8 Middlesbrough 57 0 57
9 Burnley 50 2 56
Stoke City 53 1 56
11 Leicester City 50 1 53
AFC Bournemouth 44 3 53
13 Chelsea 51 0 51
14 Tottenham Hotspur 50 0 50
15 Everton 46 1 49
Arsenal 43 2 49
17 Hull City 40 2 46
18 Swansea City 45 0 45
19 Liverpool 43 0 43
20 Southampton 36 2 42

And thus and therefore we approach the team.  How about this one:

Giroud

Alexis Ozil Theo

Elneny Coquelin

Monreal Koscielny Mustafi Bellerin

Cech

That would give us a beach of

  • Ospina or Martínez (Ospina may be still suffering from a knock),
  • Gibbs or, Jenkinson (again there is one report around of Gibbs being out)
  • Gabriel or Holding,
  • Maitland-Niles,
  • Pérez,
  • Xhaka
  • Ramsey,
  • Reine-Adélaïde,
  • Iwobi,
  • Welbeck

Which is almost a team-full and in fact three surplus to requirements.  I think Maitland-Niles, Le Jeff and Xhaka will miss out, but it is a tough call.   That’s the problem, when we don’t have the whole team injured we’ve got too many players.   The problem for Xhaka is that we are playing a Pulisian team and that spells danger in terms of having a man sent off.

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55 comments to WBA v Arsenal: would you support Arsenal if Pulis were made manager?

  • Leon

    In just two days we’ve gone from Pep to Pulis.
    Can it get any worse?
    McClaren?
    Redknapp?
    Ranieri?
    Pearson?
    Hiddink?
    Paul Merson?

  • Hunter13

    Owen Coyle dont forget !!!

  • Leon

    Yeah, Owen Coyle.
    He was a big favourite for the Boss job while at Bolton. Look what’s happened to him since.
    Also Glenn Hoddle

  • Dumbing down the canditates, classic, don’t mention Simeone…..these guys want Pulis…..I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Arsene will sign a new deal…. To the detriment of Arsenal…….but who cares, so long as Arsene enjoys his retirement years managing Arsenal…it’s all about him.

  • Ernest

    Sure I would support the club with Pulis as manager. It’s Arsenal Football Club, not Arsene Football Club. No one person is above the club. Why is this simple concept so difficult to grasp?

  • Good point Ernest…..what a stupid question. I supported Arsenal with spent managers before…..

  • The Hawthorns, the scene of our greatest Top four trophy win…🏆

  • Pat

    Just watching the TV. Some rich person has sponsored the anti Wenger banner in the sky – which got TV coverage, of course.

  • Gord

    Some rich person, like for instance an owner of a medja outlet? And maybe this same person paid to get aaa into the game, and also arranged for protest material to be brought into the field, so it could be shown in the medja?

    Come on Gunners, let’s win this game.

  • Matthew

    Well taken equaliser for Sanchez (the guy that UA wanted to be kicked out of the club).

  • Gord

    How to go Alexis! Nice work Xhaka.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    And a second supportive banner. Wasn’t expecting that

  • Leon

    Let’s hear a bit of praise for the media for showing it then.
    No? I didn’t think so

  • Gord

    Nothing showing on my LiveScore commentary. Just a series of lines of text. Oh, and two pictures of a soccer ball when a goal was scored.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Alexis is getting pulled and pushed all over the place & getting nothing for it. No wonder he’s complaint to the ref

  • Nitram

    Must be bad, even the commentators can see the refs not doing his job already.

    At least 4 blatant fouls not given, as well as a yellow.

    Joke

  • Nitram

    Oh no there not.

    Silly me.

  • Jerry

    Credit where it’s due to the media for showing the supportive banner.

    credit for questioning the referee letting Arsenal players get fouled around the pitch without a card.

    They would get more credit if they said Bellerin was hard done with his foul going for the header based on Chelsea/Alonso allowed to knock him out

  • Gord

    Why is Petr injured?

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Are these players not fit?

  • Nitram

    And that tackle is the result of letting foul after foul on him pass unpunished.

    As I said. Joke refereeing.

  • Leon

    Studs up by McLean on Alexis

  • Al_The_Gunner

    if it was granit it’ll be red

  • Nitram

    Jerry

    Exactly.

    It seems an elbow rendering a player unconscious is perfectly acceptable where as a push isn’t.

  • Andy Mack

    BBC text comment; “Sanchez has been knacked by West Brom a few times this half as part of a targeting campaign.”
    Shame the refs let this happen….

  • Cheh injury kicking a football wtf.

  • finsbury

    Riley out!

  • Pat

    A targeting campaign. There you go.

  • Nitram

    As usual, playing 12 men.

    Commentators initial acknowledging WBA where getting away with it but gradually turning around.

    A word in the ear maybe.

    Starting the ‘we’ve got to be stronger’ bollocks.

    A foul is a foul is a foul.

    Have you noticed how every missed foul except one (which they had to acknowledge was actually 2 fouls on the edge of the box) doesn’t get a replay ?

  • Gord

    Now I find that Untold has decided to start ignoring the pushing of the Post Comment button.

    I wonder what I typed to set this off?

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Sorry, no possession stats. Something about that comment is refused.

    COYG!

  • Nitram

    Despite all this it would be no surprise to me if it where us that finished the match with 10 men.

  • Alex Dieuzeide

    WOw! One of the worse refereeing ever!
    Clear message for the ref to WBA. “You can foul Alexis as much as you want. I will punish you when he’ll had his leg broken”. Disgusting!

  • gouresh

    We are falling into their trap. We have to pick up the pace of the passing.

  • Gord

    Horse feathers! WBA scored again.

    ESPN (worldwide leader in being ESPN) claims the injury to Petr is a calf injury.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Bit of a comical goal ( if you’re a W B A fan). Ospina came rushing out & used his feet, the ball was loose, & Robson Kunu poked it in between Mc Leans legs. He was offside but made no attempt to play the ball, so I’d say correct decision. Ref had to check with the Lino for confirmation

  • Jerry

    His initial run was offside before Ospina deflected it. Game should have been stopped.

    But hey it all evens out in the end so they keep on saying

  • Al_The_Gunner

    so it is a penalty on mustafi

  • Leon

    His arm was offside,

  • Gord

    Sounds like a good decision. If Ospina was out of position, and no other player was in position to be possibly “fooled” by Mclean. The only thing to really check otherwise, is if it deflects off Mclean, then it should immediately be whistled for offside.

    COYG!

  • Vince

    Not only McLean was offside on the initial foul but he also fouled Bellerin…

  • dan

    Stfu, can’t defend, waste man has to go, as for your banner he can take that with him.

  • 5th Gen Gooner

    Looking at this game, Pullis as manager is a step in the right direction!

  • dan

    Pulis out classed Winger, honestly, u lot are lying to yourselves, 2 shots on target.

  • Gord

    Grrrr. Come on Arsenal, we need 3 goals now.

    COYG!

  • dan

    Iwobi coming on Sanchez off, master class!!!

  • Gord

    Any gunners want a hat trick? Come on lads, we need goals.

    COYG!

  • Vince

    By the way has anyone noticed that on both corner goals, Fletcher is on the goal line and clearly prevent the keeper from going for the ball. Last time I checked, that’s a foul…

  • dan

    Wenger has been sussed out, too much tippy tappy upfront, and no penetration, all to familiar!!!

    Keep telling yourself, our 1st game of season and he didn’t have his team prepared. Predictable, everyone saying it, possession and no impact.

  • Tommo

    The question on everyone’s lips is would Pulis want to come to Arsenal?

  • gouresh

    Blame the refs eh?

  • Vince , think you find in was Theo on the first, what’s stopping Ramsey putting the block on, ffs.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Vince it sure is a foul to block the keeper and interfere with him. Only in Pulis land this is still being used as tactic. It is down to the ref to know the laws of the game and act. But he didn’t.

    Match report is on line

  • nicky

    We are currently in a typical Arsenal valley at present, when performance is lacking and manager and players are being heavily criticised.
    For any new supporters, this is nothing new.
    There are peaks ahead to aim for.
    Fourth place in the EPL and the FA Cup are still within our grasp.
    Keep the faith.
    After all, it’s only a game….. 😉

  • Jared

    All 3 of West Brom’s goals should have been disallowed, Swarbrick is ABSOLUTELY blind and missed 85% of the calls. Both Corners for goal were interference on the keeper, should have been an immediate whistle as soon as the corner was taken with Fletcher making contact with goalkeeper, I mean it’s right there in the laws of the game. The offside goal, they currently whistle offside if a player who’s offside makes any movement towards the ball, and since the ball was kicked directly at McClean they have no choice but to whistle, it went through his legs for Christ’s sake. Another thing that stood out to me was Swarbrick’s body language and general attitude when talking to Arsenal players, he could not hide his disgust. “Ok get up now Alexis, you’re ok”, with an eye roll. That’s how the PMGOL give themselves away in my opinion. And we’ve all seen the same attitude from Andre Marriner and the troll Mike Dean. In this game, how can the PL look at Swarbrick’s performance and say “this is what we want!” Talented players kicked to bits? Possibly damaged ligaments? Is it any wonder English clubs are toothless in the Champions League? If Barcelona or Real Madrid were treated like this in domestic play the supporters would riot!