Premier League finale – Previewing West Brom vs. Arsenal

By Phil Gregory

Just a quick preview from me today, as I need to be heading over to the library soon, with finals looming. Arsenal travel up West Brom today looking to tie up third place and with it guaranteed Champions League football, complete with no tricky qualifiers in August. Such a league finish would give us a comfortable start to next season and hopefully help us to start the season strongly.

RefWatch has thrown up some interesting tidbits, in that the referee isn’t a clown and Roy might just be willing to go a little easy on us today. That’d be nice, given how much is at stake but there is always the possibility he’ll want to leave club management with a win, so I’ll be nervously following the game, nonetheless!

In injury news, minor concerns around the likes of Squillaci, Park and Santos aren’t expected to preclude them from appearing in this game if required; Theo Walcott may be back from his hamstring injury, while Sagna is of course out. Diaby is expected to miss our final game, while Arteta is another sidelined midfielder


Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen Santos

Song Ramsey


Benayoun Van Persie Gervinho

Sagna’s injury forces a slight defensive reshuffle, but it does give us a chance to see Jenkinson in action. The youngster endured a baptism of fire in his early Arsenal career and look all at sea defensively, but quickly improved that side of his game and after a couple of months was looking like a promising player. Hopefully he’s ready to come back into the side after his injury layoff.

Koscielny plays in defence with the news of his inclusion in France’s Euro2012 squad adding just that little extra bit of motivation to play a blinder. The call up is recognition of the irmpvoement and development that Laurent has made since his arrival, and is testament to how well the French defender has done. Santos comes in at left back for what is, after all, a fairly tough away game.

The attack will likely shape up similarly to how it was at home versus Norwich. Gervinho needs to pack his shooting boots and start to put away chances, but that will come with time and otherwise I think he’s a good player, a livewire who can beat a man and break down a defence. Yossi Benayoun will probably start in what is possibly his final Arsenal appearance. The Israeli’s performances have been good this season, and his experience and professionalism wouldn’t do any harm in the squad… if the likes of Chamakh and Arshavin are sold over the summer, I think a one year deal with Yossi would be a great move, a player to ensure we’re not overly reliant on the still-raw Ryo while Gervinho heads off to the African Cup of Nations (again) in January.

Finals or no finals, there’s no way I’m going to be stuck revising when the Premier League’s final weekend is nearing, so a pub revision break is the order of the day I suspect. 2-0 to the Arsenal for me… enjoy the game!


74 Replies to “Premier League finale – Previewing West Brom vs. Arsenal”

  1. I see where you’re going with it but I think Coquelin may get the nod over Jenkinson, whereas I’d like to see Coquelin alongside Song.

  2. As well as a sending off present, West Brom players will also want to impress and influence Roy Hodgoson — the new England manager — with the Euros coming up.

    So the Gunners will have to be wary of this mid-table team; they can’t underestimate the Baggies in the final match of the season.

  3. Well, I can’t predict, but I can hope. I am hoping for a van Persie brace and a hat-trick to Ryo. Holding off on sending this until I see rosters. Early word is that the roster has 2 changes from last week, where Ryo started on the bench. Tough to get a hat trick there. 🙂

    Jenkinson and Coquelin both look to be starting. Brom lost their keeper in training/warmup.

    Of course, the boo-birds are twitting to the BBC. Only one spotted so far.

    > “Wenger has bottled the big occasion for many a year and it will not be any different at the Hawthorns today – there’s no point being reliant on a Robin when there are 10 bangers behind him.”

  4. Interview with Van persie and his family regarding hi future (source Daily Mirror) :

    Robin van Persie will be staying at Arsenal – if his wife and mother get their way.

    It’s the news every Gunner fan wants to hear and there will be in-depth contract talks between the club and their 28-year-old star striker this summer.

    But as far as Robin’s wife Bouchra is concerned, their family comes first.

    She said: “We have been in ­London for eight years now. As a family, we love it here.

    “Robin is captain of Arsenal and, as many people claim, the leader of the Arsenal team.

    “Arsenal believed in Robin when he was young and when he was considered as a bit of a rebel.

    “We don’t want to upset things at home either. Our kids, Shaqueel and Dina, go to school here in London. And they are just as happy as we are.

    “We still expect to sit down after this season is over and have a look at the future.

    “We have to make some ­decisions at some point. But it is not just about Robin. He also thinks about us, his children and me.

    “I also love it that everyone at ­Arsenal respects him. At the ­training ground, at the stadium, his teammates, the fans.

    “Everyone comes up to me all the time to tell me how happy they are with him.

    “I also see that Robin is really kind to everyone at Arsenal in ­return. As a skipper should be!

    “A good captain should be ­concerned about the club, about the team, about everything ­involving Arsenal. Oh, and in the meantime, I have been promoted to ‘skip’s wife’.”

    Even Van Persie’s mother, Jose, has joined the clamour for him to stay.

    She said: “Arsenal is a ­beautiful club. They have no debts and Robin is being worshipped there.

    “I honestly feel that the fans and the people at the club really love him. That is worth so much, too.

    “When we go to Arsenal and we walk into the stadium with him, it is electrifying.

    “As a mum, that fills me with pride. It is really fantastic. When Robin’s granddad, my dad, was over at the Emirates for his (91st) birthday and we were taking pictures inside, I heard grown-up people behind me say: ‘We love Robin’. As a mum, I could not wish for a nicer thing.”

    Van Persie, speaking to lifestyle Magazine ‘Heroes’ in Holland, ­admits his mum is right.

    “I have got to know everyone at the club. The kit man, the laundryman, everyone really. I know ­everyone by name. I love all that.’’

    Wife Bouchra added: “When it was his grandad’s birthday, Robin took the entire family to the
    dressing room.

    “His grandad went to sit in ­Robin’s seat in the dressing room and walked through every room of the home team. He loved it.’’

    Van Persie added: “My grandad also wanted to walk on the pitch. But as we all know, the grass is almost sacrosanct and nobody can walk on it after a game. Not even your family.

    “But when our groundsman saw grandad standing on the ­touchline, he said, ‘Robin, YOUR
    grandad can step onto the pitch’. Well, you see, that’s Arsenal.”

    Van Persie says he will let his family choose after his career is over if they want to live in England or head home to Holland.

    He ended: “While I am playing, I realise that it will be mainly me who decides where we live.

    “If my kids want to go back to ­Holland, we will do. But that won’t be for another 10 years, I think.

    “My kids speak better English than Dutch at this moment. They attend a real English school, not an international school.’’

  5. Well, another fan writing into BBC agrees with you as to offside. Their suggestion was 5 yards though.

  6. Well done Santos!

    It still would be nice to see RVP get a brace at some point.

    15 goals so far today.

  7. I would suggest Jonas Olson should be about due for persistent infringement. He has fouled RVP 3 times already in the Press Association commentary.

  8. Four fouls on RVP by Olson, and RVP gets a misconduct? That is, four fouls recognized by the Press Association. How many more not caught by their write up?

  9. Gord,

    do you know where the linesperson was when WB scored the offside goal?

  10. RVP yellow, dangerous tackle due to lack of control but VP completly actually missed the WB player and the WB player only fell because his standing foot landed on VP’s shin.

  11. Sorry, all I get is the BBC text commentary. 🙂 Sounds like RVP was worth the yellow then. But still, Olson should be under yellow as well.

  12. How to go Koscielny!

    And a straight red card for Barton as well.

    > You cannot keep him out of the headlines can you? Joey Barton is sent-off against his former club for an off-the-ball incident with Carlos Tevez.

    > Joey Barton has lost it here in a major way. After he is shown a red card, Barton knees Sergio Aguero in the back of the leg, that sparks a major melee, he tries to headbutt Vincent Kompany before tangling with Manchester City substitute Mario Balotelli. Madness! At least three red cards for Barton in that lot.

    > Robbie Savage on BBC Final Score: “What Joey Barton has just done there is an absolute disgrace. He’s just leathered Sergio Aguero as he’s going off.”

    And tomorrow all the newspapers will have, “Joey Barton is not that kind of player”.

  13. Well, Koscielny was interviewed this last week about how much Champions League means. And he delivered. I guess Robin will have to wait until next year to get that scoring title. Bolton are relegated with Ryo left on the bench. And City win the league on the last kick, so to speak.

  14. I am full of optimism for next season!

    This season: The great turnaround!

    Next season: The great league and champers double!

  15. Well done. I’m wrecked! Two glasses of single malt are on the menu!

  16. Looks like the spuds will be sweating next week, what a nasty 7 days for them, hahahahahaha!!!!

    I couldn’t care for Chelsea but hey Spudz will be feeling it.

    Mind the gap spudz your days are numbered.

  17. Happy STD, better late than never! The team have come through a real test this season, and will be stronger for it. Have a feeling we can enjoy the summer this time!
    George Graham last autumn.. “A top 4 place this season will rank amongst Wengers greatest achievements” – or something very similar.
    Cannot really put it any better than that.

  18. ^was referring to St Totts Day of course, as opposed to a group of rather unpleasant diseases!

  19. Well done Arsenal, funnily enough flicking between sky sports 1 and sports news, caught the final whistle @ sunderland with the manc’s celebrating, hahahahha Lord Fungus must be most displeased.

    Let the word ring out in every language from every curbside and mountaintop: THE GREAT TURNAROUND IS COMPLETE!!!!!!!!!!

  21. By the skin of our teeth-but make no mistake we did it-and it is a great achievement. Well done the team and well done Arsene Wenger-this is massive. Now I hope Chelsea win the ECL.

  22. hahahahahaha the media darlings Fungus/’Arry have just been butt fucked live on TV.

  23. Walter, Tony,
    UN-leash the balloons! One for every language! Let a thousand flowers bloom! Joy to this world! Enough restraint. This headline counts:

  24. @bob

    Well named – “The Great Turnaround” – has been a superb performance. Now we can look forward to good summer of preparation and a good start to next season!

  25. Well Done King Kenny for showing the media big mouths and the most deluded fans in the world that Liverpool are finished as big club.

    Also a big thank you to the MOTD panel for hating them more than ever, today makes it even more sweeter.

  26. Shit, just had a thought. Please can someone clarify my question on the possible scenario.

    “If chelsea win the Champions League, they then automatically earn the chance to play in the Champions League next season as current winners of the CL. Now here’s the question, with Chelsea winning the CL does that mean Uefa recognise that Arsenal then move into the fourth qualifying EPL position by default with Man City 2nd and Man U 3rd and therefore we would need to qualify through the last qualifying round of the champions league like we had to last year?”


    EPL Champion League qualifying teams, in term of standing:

    1. Chelsea (on the basis that they win)
    2. Man City
    3. Man U
    4. Arsenal

    If this is the case, then we need Bayern to win which would then mean the Spuds then get the fourth champion league place and the chance to play in the last champions league qualifier.

    Would anyone be able to clarify this for me/us, I suspect that Uefa have not even thought of these permutations themselves. I mean, if chelsea win the CL and arsenal qualify automatically then that means another automatic qualification place will need to be given to another country so that all the qualifer games have a team to play.

  27. Sign up Yossi !!! and that RVP fella.
    An amazing day great block by Gibbs and delighted for KOS scorring the goal that ensured ST Totts day.

    Been honest I was choked up at the final whistle which makes me spare a thought to what it must be like to be a Bolton fan today.

    At least we can enjoy the summer now.

  28. gerry. really!!? why would you take chelski being the first london club to win the cl over the tiny tots having to play a tricky qualifier with possible departures(greedy)? and they could get a tough group and wont be winning it. now chelski losing with an onlooking terry will be a sight to behold.

    well done lads, you deserve it. thanx for a great season

    nice to see walcott looking sharp? and thanx Hodge your keeper is very obedient.
    if you want the ox this summer, he’s yours. 🙂

  29. Man U stat:

    1st time in 7 years without winning a trophy in a season, what a complete failure, Sir Firgie out, out, out! (note the irony).

    Rooney scores his career best in the EPL this season but won nothing this season,

    Rooney states to Fergie:

    “the players I play with are not good enough. I’m going to leave (and yeah, even to Man City) if you don’y double my wages again.”

    Fergie: “Fuck off then yo little scrote”

  30. @Arun

    Where’d you get that information? Chelsea win a playoff spot for the CL next season if they win it this year. I’ll try to find a link for confirmation.

  31. Arsenal go into group stages with chelsea;they looked it up on fans forum on ATV a couple of weeks ago.

  32. Ok. I just don’t like the confusion created over this. This sort of thing is what can allow UEFA to make things up as they go along. They might just say, no no, that was all speculation, Chelsea go straight to group stages and Arsenal have to qualify. I don’t trust UEFA, and I’d like to see an official source somewhere clearly stating what is to happen in this situation.

  33. This from the Premier League’s official site

    “Arsenal are now assured of their place in next season’s competition, while Tottenham must wait to see what happens in the Champions League final in Munich next weekend.
    If Chelsea beat Bayern Munich, then they would take Spurs’ place in the Champions League and Spurs would drop into the UEFA Europa League”

    That seems more reassuring, but there is still no clarity on whether they mean the group stages, or the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Champions League. Like I said, I don’t like the confusion.

  34. taking spurs’ place seems pretty clear to me. they’d have to do what spurs would have done-qualify round

  35. ak47

    Yes. It SEEMS clear. And that is what I always thought was going to happen. Yet, some people are claiming other things, and I just don’t like the doubt. Still, as I said, that link is more reassuring that we are in the group stages, and Chelsea will have to qualify. Liverpool played a qualifier when they won it and finished 5th. This rule came into being after the season ended. So I would guess it would be the same now. Except that Everton also played a qualifier. In this case, Spurs will go to the Europa League.

  36. The Swiss ramble has this to say, but it is not conclusive for our answer (source: Swiss Ramble “Champions League Revenue – The Final Countdown” 25th april 2012).

    Also, If arsenal are regarded as the 4th qualifying team for the EPL they only get 50% less guaranteed tv allocation money than the 3rd ranked team. This season it was 3rd (ranked team): £8.2 million, 4th (ranked team):£4.2 million (source: Swiss ramble).

    Anyway, back to VP news source BBC textupdates (today)

    Arsenal captain Robin van Persie: “We will have a chat next week somewhere. You never know but Arsenal is a massive club, a great club. I have been playing here for eight years and I love this club. Whatever happens that will never change.

    “We will see. We will have a chat and go from there.”

  37. @Shard,
    Since, Chelsea won the FA cup, they have already qualified for UEFA cup. Rule 1.03(a) applies in that case (which means that if Chelsea win Champions league, they will take the place of lowest ranked champions league representative i.e. Tottenham, and Spurs will be moved to UEFA cup):


    From the rule book:
    a) If the title-holder comes from an association entitled to more than one
    place in the UEFA Champions League and qualifies for the UEFA Cup
    through its domestic competitions, the lowest-ranked club of the
    association’s UEFA Champions League representatives is automatically
    transferred to the UEFA Cup. In this case, the number of places to which
    the title-holder’s national association is entitled in the UEFA Champions
    League and the UEFA Cup does not change.
    b) If the title-holder comes from an association entitled to more than one
    place in the UEFA Champions League and does not qualify for the UEFA
    Champions League or UEFA Cup through its domestic competitions, the
    lowest-ranked club of the association’s UEFA Champions League
    representatives is automatically transferred to the UEFA Cup. In this
    case, the national association of the title-holder is entitled to one
    additional place in the UEFA Cup.

  38. After the premier league rules and based on if Uefa want chelsea in the CL (if they win it), could there be a legal battle?

  39. If there is no clarification before the final then lets just hope for Bayern win and spuds get into the qualifiers, would that be such a bad thing?

  40. Arun, the link does not take into account what we are discussing

  41. Could we all send an email to the premier league and see if we can get an answer (or at least get them thinking)?

  42. Wenger: ” I am still thinking of suing the referee for the five minutes of added time because my heart suffered immensely! ”

    Hehe.. nice one boss 🙂

  43. Just sent the below into the Premier League


    Please can you clarify the following:

    “If chelsea win the Champions League, they then automatically earn the chance to play in the Champions League next season as current winners of the CL. Now here’s the question, with Chelsea winning the CL, does that mean Uefa recognise that Arsenal move into the 4th CL qualifying position by default with Man City and Man U moving into 2nd and 3rd therefore would Arsenal need to qualify through the last qualifying round of the champions league like they had to last year?”


    EPL Champion League qualifying teams, in term of standing:

    1. Chelsea (on the basis that they win)
    2. Man City
    3. Man U
    4. Arsenal

    If chelsea win the CL and arsenal qualify automatically then that means another automatic qualification place will need to be given to another country so that all the qualifier games have a team to play.

    Kind Regards.

  44. Harry wrong again, LOL

    Fulham boss Martin Jol on the madness of the closing minutes of the title race:

    “Harry [Redknapp] told me that United were champions and then I went into the dressing room and someone else told me City were champions.”

  45. From 17th to 3rd, what a season! Having been written off by pundits and plastics, ridiculed by our own “fans”, kicked to kingdom come by the opposition and “officiated” by those oh so “competent” refs, there’s 16 teams who’d love to be in our position. Although it’s arguably been one of our toughest seasons in recent years, in some ways it also feels like one of our best. We’ve had some big results, Ch3l5ea, 5pur2’s, doing the poznan to Man City. Almost did the unthinkable against Milan at home. See our captain emerge as the best player in the league this year. All this after the many predicted a doomsday scenario after last summers departures.

    As the wise man Jon Bon Jovi once said, “you gotta keep the faith”.

    Thank you Arsenal, Wenger, those at Untold and to the fellow Gunners for another season.

    “We’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.”

  46. YIPEE…………yes it feels like winning a trophy! Ask those who are not in the Champions League next year!

    Defoe id leaving Spurs…not because he wants first team football but to recover the financial loses his team have cause him!

  47. Trivia from the BBC wrap up

    > My frazzled mind was correct, as the 32 PL goals scored today make a total of 1066 goals scored this season – the most ever goals in a single 38-match season.

    1066 – Domes Day Survey?

    It seems to me that a few years before the Domes Day Survey, a piece of land north of the Thames called Eadhelm’s Tun was sold for $40 (approximately). The name for this piece of land was later basterdized to Edmonton. Where Edmonton is with respect to Arsenal and Tottenham, I am not sure. The world has produced a couple of other Edmonton’s: a suburb of Cairns in Queensland (which should be about the same population as Edmonton in London), a little tiny Edmonton in Kentucky (about 2000 people), and the Edmonton I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (metro population approximately 1 million).

  48. @Gord, Edmonton is Spurs turf, Right next door to Tottenham. Basically a S**t hole.

  49. In the BBC text coverage, it was mentioned that at the end of the Everton game, that Cahill was given a red card. I now find out it was after the end of the game:

    > Substitute Cahill was dismissed after appearing to grab Yohan Cabaye by the neck.

    Didn’t we have players grabbed by the neck with the referee two inches away, and no red cards to the opposition?

    This selective refereeing has to go.

  50. Thanks Adam.

    Yes, I knew that Edmonton, London was not a very good place anymore. It is in the poorest 10 percent of postal zones. From what I’ve read, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the poorest.

  51. Since your online Gord. You witnessed Canary’s comments with regards to Jackson’s challenge on kos. Just think if he was injured, what position Arsenal would be in today without his winning goal.

  52. Canary seems to have his heart in the correct place. I don’t think he is as good a referee as Walter is. Did he say he was a FIFA referee? One can only hope he will keep an open mind and to desire to improve himself as a referee.

    Football needs to find good referees, for all games. From the youngest of children’s games to professional and international. All the EPL have seem to have done, is produced an example of what NOT to do.

  53. @Adam

    I think one of the problems Canary has to come to grips with, is how to define excessive force. I think as a general rule, most players in England use too much force in a tackle to begin with. Which makes the determination of excessive difficult. If normal play “just occasionally” results in broken bones, excessive is very close to normal.

    I think if Canary straightens out that part, he will do better as a referee.

    Excessive force has to be defined in terms of the possibility of causing injury, not as some increment on normal behavior.

  54. Agreed Gord. In all honesty good luck to him.
    I prefer seeing a football match where the teams try to nick the ball from one another, I don’t like seeing players diving,sliding or over extending just because they were caught out of is played on your feet, not your back.
    Caught your comment on another article.
    The argument people make to “let the game flow” is hogwash. If every foul is called, it is only a flow problem for a couple of minutes. Everybody then “knows” there are no fouls allowed, and then the game flows. If every foul is called, the chances of the better team on the day winning are better than if fouls are allowed to happen. This is especially true if the calling of fouls is asymmetric or inconsistent. People that promote fouling by the team they support, are people that support winning by cheating.
    Top comment dude. couln’t agree more.
    Even if teams ended up with 7or8 players they would learn quickly or be out of a job.

  55. A long time ago (late 1980’s ?), I was active doing athletic first aid for a bunch of things: provincial U15 and U17 to nationals, collegiate, top level amateur (Canada, not UK). And there was a football camp (soccer camp) I was at, that brought in a top coach from Holland. He told everyone there that the moment a defender left his feet to tackle someone, he had almost always lost the battle with the striker.

  56. ak-see your point- a Spurs in the qualifiers for ECL will wear their players out sooner next season-but a Chelsea win denies Spurs the CL revenue they need to significantly strengthen their squad- or even keep the one they have. I’ll still go for the latter.

    Chelsea’s irrelevant- they will stick 2 fingers up to FFP and spend whatever they like on who ever they like win or lose- and father time will catch up with some key members of their squad by the end of next season.

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