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West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal

Arsenal’s trip to West Brom seems like a perfect opportunity to end their goal scoring drought. Tony Mowbray’s side have lost their last 4 games and Arsenal have a big opportunity to make that 5. To add to that hopeless run, they have conceded at least two goals in their last 7 games.

Arsenal as we all know are on the worst run in Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal’s manager. 5 straight draws have made them drop 10 points. What makes this run hard to digest is that in all of these matches, Arsenal have dominated the game, but yet they drew as they failed to find the back of the net. If Arsenal had won these 5 games, they would have been 2nd in the League, just 6 points behind the leaders Manchester United. But now the 16 point gap has effectively ruled Arsenal out of the title race and even qualifying for the Champions League is becoming more and more difficult. Luckily for Arsenal though, Aston Villa too have been held to draws in their last 2 games so they have not been able to increase the gap between themselves and 5th placed Arsenal.

A defeat tonight, and a win for Everton would send Arsenal down to 6th place. But as Manchester United have won the League Cup so the 5th and 6th placed sides at the end of the season will qualify for the UEFA Cup so even if Arsenal unfortunately end up 6th considering their immensely poor run, they should still make it to the UEFA Cup next season so we don’t need to worry about not being in Europe at all next season!

Talking of West Brom now, their run is much worse than Arsenal’s as mentioned above and they are at rock bottom in the League table. Havent won a match since their 3-0 win against Middlesbrough 7 matches back. So looking at the situation of West Brom, Arsenal should finally end their long run of draws. West Brom have lost 17 matches already this season and hopefully Arsenal can make it 18. West Brom rarely come and just defend. They go for the win in every match which should give Arsenal some breathing space and we all know Arsenal play really well in such situations. West Brom have been hopeless against big teams. They have lost to Arsenal and Liverpool, and to Aston Villa, Chelsea and Mancheter United twice.

Tema news now. William Gallas is out with an ankle injury so Djourou will come in. Bad news there. Gallas-Toure partnership has been working brilliantly. Lets hope Gallas returns soon. He is going through the best form of his Arsenal career. Apart from his no one is back and no one else is out. The team might change though. I don’t expect Vela to get another start. Bendtner might be back.

Almunia
Sagna     Toure     Djourou    Clichy
Arshavin     Diaby     Denilson    Nasri
Bendtner     van Persie

I expect Bendtner to return but he might again be dropped and Eboue might come into the same 4-2-3-1 formation on the right.

Predicting Arsenal’s matches is becoming quite difficult now! They are on a bad run but the bad run is eventually going to end obviously. It wont continue forever. I expect the run to end tonight (my heart says so :p). 1-0 to Arsenal!

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Burnley celebrate the opening goal

Burnley celebrate the opening goal

Giant killers Burnley have claimed yet another Premier League scalp in West Brom. The FA Cup replay saw the Championship side thrash Tony Mowbray’s side 3-1 at Turf Moor. This means if Arsenal truimph against Cardiff at the Emirates on 16th of February, they will once again play Burnley, who knocked the young guns of Arsenal out of the League Cup. Burnley have already defeated Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham and now West Brom.

fabregas02

"Now my only worry is that I recover as soon as possible"

Apart from that Fabregas says he wont go anywhere near Nou Camp. The Spaniard said:

“I’d have liked to have gone to watch Barcelona at the Nou Camp, but I wanted to avoid all the speculation about my future. Now my only worry is that I recover as soon as possible to return to Arsenal and help my team.”

No surprises there. Once again the Arsenal captain wastes no time in addressing speculations regarding his future. Hope he returns earlier than expected. He has the will and I am sure he can do it. Arsenal need him back big time!

Arshavin - Can't wait to start playing!

Arshavin - Can't wait to start playing!

Meanwhile Andrei Arshavin had a session with the fans. The new Arsenal player looked very excited and claimed that he has been a Gooner for quite some time now. He says he joined Arsenal because he likes he club’s style, Arsene Wenger and a few players. The forward is already looking to spur Arsenal’s silverware ambitions.  The Russian said:

“Arsenal’s aim is to win the Premier League title and be European champions. That is always the target for this club, so everybody knows that.

“I have already had a training session, and I am pleased with how I have been welcomed. Everyone has been very hospitable.

“I’m yet to train at the stadium but I’ve trained at the training ground and I was happy with how they took to me. Everything was very good, everyone was welcoming, asking me what I needed and things.

“We trained for an hour and a quarter, in the gym and then on the pitch. I got a positive impression from my new team mates. They believe in me.”

“Arsenal play very fast and attacking football that I really like, and there are many creative players.

“Wenger is a great man, and I never thought I would be able to play in his team.

“Here in London, I have had three or four interviews in English. It is clear that I am unlikely to speak without making errors, but it seems to me that I am being understood. In any case, I have only had to resort to using an interpreter a few times in these interviews. Naturally, I will improve.

“Naturally there are problems with English because I don’t know the language very well and can just chat about basic every day things.

“And today I was sitting in the changing room and it was all French – now that’s a language I have a lot of problems with*laughs*! But I hope we will get over the language barrier and everything else very quickly.”

Looking quite confident and happy from the start! As always the players have made a new player feel at home and that is very vital for one to settle at a new club. It’s good to see he has already had interviews in English. Learning the language will be vital for him to settle in quickly. He seems really confident and hopeful. That’s really good.

by Zain Shahid

With the form that Arsenal are in, this performance against Cardiff came completely out of the blue. Poor defending at times, gave the ball away on too many occasions and did not create enough chances; and all that against a Championship side!

Ramsey - Below par performance from the youngster

Ramsey - Below par performance from the youngster

The hosts made a bright start and one might say we were lucky it remained 0-0 thanks to some not so good finishing. Gradually we came into the game with Nasri getting a brilliant chance to put us ahead but his shot was saved by the keeper. Apart from that there was a van Persie free kick that flashed just wide of the post and an easy chance wasted by Adebayor. The list ends there and it sums up the performance of Arsenal. Cardiff nearly made us cry but their late free kick hit the bar otherwise we would have been left fighting for just two trophies.

The only positive from the game was Keiran Gibbs, who is becoming a good cover for Clichy; and not to mention the fact that we managed not to lose! Ramsey did not perform to the level he can as probably the occasion got to him and he gave the ball away too easily. Eboue had another hopeless performance. Bendtner looked a bit lost as the striker but played better on the right. Diaby, when he came on in the second half, played quite well but another substitute Adebayor was unbelievably poor. A guy with his quality has got to finish chances like those but on more than one occasion this season we have seen him miss chances like that.

Surprisingly with us needing a goal to win it, Vela or Wilshere were not introduced to inject the vital pace which was desperately needed. I was really confused with Wenger’s thinking on this one. And when he did bring on Wilshere, he got a couple of minutes to win the match! Unbelievable.

Arsene Wenger will surely not be pleased to play an extra game now with the small squad that he has but you have to live with it. If Arsenal manage to win the replay, they will face either West Brom or Burnley at Emirates. Seems easy on paper but like this match against Cardiff, it wont be easy…i.e if Arsenal get to the next round!

by Zain Shahid

2009 is just a few hours away which means the time we have been waiting for is nearly here. I’m talking about the January transfer window! I am quite optimistic this year as the transfer window approaches because from what we have heard so far we might FINALLY see Wenger spend on some proven world class players. We will all have new hopes from Arsenal for this year. May 2009 be ‘the year’ for Arsenal. May a brilliant new form start with the new year and may this year have a trophy in store for us trophy thirsty Arsenal fans! May we see a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Arsenal this year. May Gallas learn to speak nice and may Eboue learn to play, may Song learn to tackle and may Bendtner learn to finish, may Clichy learn to make less mistakes and may Almunia keep more clean sheets! May we see world class new faces in the red and white very soon. May Rosicky, Fabregas and Walcott make speedy recoveries. And may Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa have a bad 2009! To summarise, may 2009 be the best year Arsenal has ever had in their history:D! Happy New Year to all the readers! May you guys too have the best year of your lives so far and may your problems and worries stay back in 2008 and may happiness spread in your life with the dawn of 2009!

Now to business! Wenger’s looking to wrap up his work with the young guns beforehand so he can pay full attention to getting his transfer targets! Firstly Nacer Barazite extends his loan at Derby County till the end of the season. Secondly Jay Simpson joins West Bromwich Albion in their relegation battle on loan for the rest of the season. And lastly Gavin Hoyte joins Watford on loan for the same period of time. Hope their growth continues at a remarkable rate at their new clubs. Once again Happy New Year to all!

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