By Bulldog Drummond
Today is the day that Mr Wenger takes the record for the number of Premier League games handled by a manager. Of course there are people who wish it were not so, but that’s the sort of thing that always happens and some people will acknowledge a remarkable achievement. There are more exotic places to take a record than West Bromwich, but still…
As the regular stats from both clubs showed us, Arsenal ought to win this, but need to beware of an early WBA goal which would lead to a 12 man defensive unit (11 players and ref) operating in front of the WBA goal for the rest of the game.
So to the injury news…
We’re in 12th in the PL injury league from physioroom, equal 12th/13th/14th with Swansea City and the Tiny Totts with four men down…
Monreal and Ramsey are said to be due back on 7 January, Giroud one week later. As always the number is inflated by including Santi Cazorla, who is not a member of Arsenal’s 25 man registered squad but still included.
However there is some newspaper chatter about Xhaka not being available because of a hamstring problem although the not always utterly reliable Football.London tells us that he came through training and is showing all the signs of being ok.
On the other hand the even more not always accurate Daily Cannon tells us “Arsenal dealt midfielder blow as new manager seeks to heal rift”. which turns out to be an article that opens “Vincenzo Montella, believes that Steven N’Zonzi…” so not really something to do with today’s game.
The same bloggetta also tells us that there will be a problem today because Lacazette struggles when Ramsey doesn’t play. Apparently, “Unless Ramsey is in the team, we often have too many players who are drawn towards the ball.” Hmmm – I would like to see some stats on that, as it doesn’t look that way to me.
West Bromwich have three injuries…
|Man down||What’s wrong||Due back||Today?|
|S Rondon||Hamstring Injury||January 6, 2018||No chance|
|N Chadli||Thigh Muscle Strain||February 24, 2018||No chance|
|J Morrison||Achilles Injury||January 6, 2018||No chance|
Following their new pattern of writing, the Guardian has, I think for the fourth match running, refused to greet the morning with a preview of the game, while every other Premier League team across these recent weeks has had the normal treatment. Instead we get this gem…
“…despite Wenger’s preference for discussing football instead of transfers, it is not the media’s fault that Sánchez, Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere all have six months left to run on their respective deals.”
Of course, it is never the journalists’ fault… except that it is the journalists who decide which inane questions to ask over and over and over and over again and then what to write. They could ask anything, but every single press conference prior to every single Arsenal game, the media has chosen to ask about the contracts, knowing full well that they will not get an answer.
A much more reasonable point for the Guardian to have debated would have been, “why are journalists always asking the same questions when they never get an answer?” To use that invented Einstein quote that people used to write on Untold, doing something which fails and then doing it again and again is a sign of madness. It isn’t of course, but in the case of journalists one might might an exception.
Here’s what Mr W said about Jack…
“When we play with five at the back, I like to have more offensive players in midfield,” Wenger said. “That system suits him well. Where he has improved is tactically and defensively. When he does that his defensive game becomes even better. Jack has a great quality, when he wins the ball he gets you out of pressure because he has that little burst and then suddenly he can open the game for you.
“I believe his positional play is good. You watch football, you see that straight away, he is in the right place. Football is first where to be on the pitch, where to stand. After, where to run. But at the start you first have to stand in the right place and he does that.”
Meanwhile West Brom have ventured into the نقل السوق which as I am sure you will know (or just found out using Google translator, is what Google thinks “transfer market” is in Arabic. Written in Latin script it is “naql alsuwq”
They have bought Ahmed Hegazi from the Cairo team, Al Ahly and he is … a defender, of course. With WBA what else? They can’t play him today of course.
Which leads me to one bit of transfer news. Apparently the news this morning is, “Malcom lands Gunners on belated bandwagon” which appears to mean that we are buying the 20 year old striker from Bordeaux for £44m. Remember you didn’t hear it here first and if you did read it and it is wrong I’ll blame PainintheArsenal for being their usual inaccurate selves.
Next, the teams and the history of games between the clubs.
- West Bromwich v Arsenal: this could be dangerous
- West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal; Sunday 31 Dec 2017 – The Match Officials
- Uefa increasing looking weak as European clubs propose completely new approach
- The Premier League action against Man City brings Super League ever closer
- What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you
- Arsenal v Manchester City Women’s Continental League Cup semi-final – match preview
- How Man City’s problems began to arise…. nine years ago