Arsenal v West Brom: 2-0 and a fine football show

2-0 to the Arsenal. Two fine goals from Alsexis and a clean sheet, and a bit of breathing space between us and the clubs from Manchester. Will it lead to great Gooner happiness? Possibly not, but who cares? If you love football what is not to like about seeing Arsenal play their fine football at THOF?

I saw a strong Arsenal playing at a high tempo, controlling the game and playing some beautiful football. When Alexis got the ball from Rambo about ten yards away from the D, it did not look there could be a goal just a couple of seconds later. The fiery Chilean received the ball with his back towards the goal, with both Ozil and Giroud waiting in the box; he quickly turned around his axis and freed himself from a West Brom midfielder, and rather than pass the ball to his attacking colleagues in the box, he decided to shoot a vicious, yet placed, daisy cutter of a shot past the goalkeeper. 1-0 to the Arsenal and the home of football started to become a bit warmer and supportive.

Arsenal kept attacking the WB box with a variety of attacking play. Our players were keen and energetic but just lacked a bit of composure to deliver a quality pass or take a chance properly. This is fine with me. The boys were trying hard and played with joy and pride for the shirt, and that is all I can ask for. Rambo was fouled inside the D and both Alexis and Ozil were keen to take the free-kick; left footer Ozil seemed the most likely taker but it was Sanchez who aimed the ball between the BFG and Giroud who were positioned in a rather liberal looking WB wall. The keeper had no answer to this and Sanchez got his 12th PL goal – just as many as Ollie.

There were a couple of West Brom chances but in general we controlled the game for 90+ minutes. We had a strong spine in Cech-BFG-Elneny and Giroud, who all worked hard to give structure and organisation to our play. Around the spine we had seven energetic and talented individuals pushing forward and all playing very well. The full backs pushed forward at every occasion and especially Bellerina – no doubt buoyed by his inclusion in the PFA team of the season -was lively and driven. Both full backs lacked some composure when it came to the final ball, although Bellerina delivered a brilliant pullback to the edge of the box for Ozil.

Rambo drove this forward from the middle whilst helping out the simply phenomenal Elneny regularly. On top of that Sanchez and Iwobi moved continuously and drove the game forward with Ozil, Rambo and the full backs. I loved the way we kept driving forward and not gave WB much time on the ball.

Giroud worked hard to create space but had a disappointing first half; and he got a lot better in the second half. His presence in the middle of our attack meant space for others and I thought the team played well to benefit from this. We are still missing composure when good chances are being created but a lot of this is down to a lack of confidence/ disappointment in the way the season has developed over recent weeks.

But I enjoyed watching the boys play good football and winning is always sweet. Next up are Sammi Allerdici’s struggling Sunderland and that will be another proper game to watch.

By TotalArsenal.



13 thoughts on “Arsenal v West Brom: 2-0 and a fine football show

  • Well squeezed in before preview time TA.

    I cannot really add much to my previous comment, as I was not expecting this post to happen.

    As always, the next match is key, and we head the trio of games that might shape the game after that … and so it goes on.

    I am not sure if my prediction of Iwobi being given a day off will happen, but Sunderland will not be easy to open up in true ‘fat Sam’ fashion without him?
    I am sure others will chip in with their views on the game.

    I got the impression from the radio team, that W.Brom were playing the Leicester style … only they had players that were too old, or not good enough to play the quick ball over the top, and lacked a Vardy-like player up front, with pace to get on the end of any such pass. So they had to rely on their 4 CB’s to try their luck at set pieces?
    Or as the co-commentator put it, ‘What is the point of a team like W.Brom?’

    I leave it to the rest to fill in the blanks ..
    Cheers TA,

  • JK – Under most circumstances I would agree with you (:@1.13) …. however …

    I think you are expecting a lot from Iwobi. He has started the last 6 or 7 games, this next one with only a 3 day gap?
    Also, it will not be lost on Big Sam that Iwobi is a dangerous link player around the box, and a touch of ‘rotational fouling’ might be called for?
    Finally, with games coming thick and fast, although the youth may recover more quickly, he might also tire earlier than the requisite 65 minutes?

    Put into the mix that AW has players that need games (if they are to advertise their sale value … ooops, did I just say that, or just think it?? 😀 ), now is a good opportunity to shuffle the pack.
    Therefore, expect the unexpected expected, or something along those lines.

    I am trying not to pre-empt HT’s preview here, so I will leave it at that.


  • Am a bit suprised that there haave not been comments to the most exiting thing uravelling with the team. The speed of their passing. Passes well past the 700 is Pep-Barcaesque. The only thing remaining is hunting in packs, which need not be a must, and I would add a 25+ goal a season striker. For a tiki-taka style we might already have that man in Alexis at the center.

    The man who catalysed the team to crack this new threshold of passing is without doubt to me our newest recruit Mo Elneny.

    Wenger is not content with a pure destoyer at the base of his midfield. It doesn’t hang perfectly with his attacking philosophy. This, if correct would mean that le Cow has a task starting in the strong field of El, Rambo, Santi and Jack.

    Did you see the ecstasy with which the fans greeted our goals? The emotions of football reside in the NOW. I wonder why some people are stuck in the past.

  • Nice post Totalinho…

    Listening to Arsenes pre and post match interviews, it seems that he might hold back Jack Wilshere from the enchanted experience of a Fat Sam kicking…
    But I wonder if Tomas Rosicky might be given a start if he is fit enough?
    To me, Sunday is gonna be all about digging in, refusing to be intimidated and grinding out a win at whilst our opponents scrap for survival…

  • TA, Thanks very much for doing a write up of the match…We had a bit of whirlwind Friday here including a late-season snow storm… As such I have waited until Saturday morning to do my thing…watch a little of the other footy while writing up the match preview. To do so, however, somebody will need to get up on the roof and clean the satellite… Since it’s only ManCity beating up on Stoke, that person will not be me… Instead I’ve got the tape of our match going, looking for some of the things you wrote about…

    I dunno, it seems you’ve hit all the positives and there’s not too much that I can add. In my attempt to do the live-blog thing I (more or less) said my piece during the match. We had some additional great chances throughout the match and a couple of blasts (Ozil early and again in the 2nd half, Giroud late) were blocked by WBA players who didn’t know much about them. Alexis scored (successfully) but also tried to get his teammates moving with passes, as did Ozil (still stuck on his assist number). It bodes well, and the less than lopsided scoreline maybe keeps us a little bit hungry which might be good esp. if the next (three) opponents will likely be in need of points themselves…

    I’d add a little critique to the wholly positive view (but just a little)…To me, our attack remains very narrow with both Iwobi and Alexis pushing very central on top of the strong fore-aft central attack and cover interchange between Ozil, Ramsey and Elneny. This leaves little room for the big man, Ollie, who prefers planting himself, back to goal near the D… As such, I can see why Welbeck’s diagonal runs (esp from left to right) tend to open the spaces just that little bit more. But now I’m probably previewing my preview….

    WBA came with a bus and more or less gave us the entire MF. Given so much space, Elneny and Rambo (and everybody else) will take it but I liked that they moved the ball with passes rather than try and drive forward with runs which can ruin the defensive shape in case there’s a turnover. The Egyptian, to me, is providing that easy pass outlet that we’ve been missing since Santi went down and provides a bigger and easier to spot target with his added height (and hair). Ramsey popped up where needed, esp. on the defensive end, I thought. For Sunderland do those two go again or do we start Coquelin? I can’t see dropping either of them but what do I know?…Gerry, I think, because he’s referenced himself hinting at it, believes Iwobi makes way?…

    WBA played away from the BFG with first balls but were able to get corners and crosses into dangerous spots, including two that might have gotten the crowd much more concerned had they gone in…Even with the bigger players (Cech, BFG, Giroud) in the line-up I didn’t think we were any more convincing preventing corners nor defending them, although the clean sheet says differently…It’s a game of inches and McCauley’s header hit woodwork and stayed out while Rondon was just under his toe-poke so it went behind him rather than into the open net.

    Both of those (I fear) would have poisoned the atmosphere, but, as it was, it was a good night out for those who attended. The club should use its computers and find a way to fill seats maybe allowing season ticket holders to put their tickets up for auction or something. There are council estates (including high rise buildings) near the Emirates, so free or very low priced tickets would be great for folks in the neighborhood who must have very mixed feelings about having the stadium so close but never getting into the ground I will disagree with PE just a bit and say that football, more than any sport I’ve ever watched (except maybe golf…) is all about the present but only as it portends for the future. We’d all do better (MUCH better) if we could stay in the moment, but who can do it? Being a low scoring game the fans are always anxious until things are settled (a reason why we play games on paper with the hope the numbers add up in our favor). The hard work–usually unrewarded–goes missing for fans who don’t play the game themselves and/or appreciate what it takes. Instead it’s another pint and more blurry vision (for the actual play) but then highlights and punditry and who can we buy who will make their highlights in red and white?… Unfortunately, just as we need to watch entire matches and not over-emphasize the moments of glory (and the mistakes going the other way) we also probably need to watch our would be saviors over full matches to know the truth about what we’re buying…

    But those are worries for another day… Now it’s onto Sunderland who are coming off a 3-nil road win at their relegation rival Norwich. Fat Sam’s personal vendetta towards Wenger will surely lead to extra video work for his team and other attempts to prepare and motivate them. A point (or three) would likely be priceless in their run in so we will need to be braced for a much tougher match. This one, however, gives us some positive feedback upon which to build…

  • Thanks guys, especially Seventeenho for a fine indepth comment.

    The only thing I don’t agree is is the notion that we were too narrow. I thought we worked the flanks well and the full backs were key in this. The final balls from the flanks were often poor though and Ollie got some bad service.

  • @TA,

    Absolutely no disagreement with me as I have been singing ” in the NOW and in the dream of tomorrow”. Gerry’s “SUPPORT and BELIEVE “. The “tomorrow” being never over until it is over and even when it is over, the next match, or as the case may be, the next season. A dream that dies and resurrects.

    We are 4th. Manc 4-0 Stoke. My dream has died but is already risen again!

  • Just putting the final touches on the match preview and watching some football now that I’ve swept off the snow… Toonies have gotten back to level at Anfield and I would really like to see Bournemouth take some points from this club that will be winning the league again next season (Chelsea)… Shite…nice assist from Cesc to Willian makes it 3-1 down there…Back to Anfield, I guess,,,

    By narrow, TA, I think we have to acknowledge that Iwobi really cannot do much with his left foot (at this time and at this level) and is blissfully unafraid to take up central positions… Alexis wants to play centrally even more and rarely looks for the overlap with Bellerin,,,He tried some lofted wider plays for Ollie but doesn’t seem to fathom just how slow the big fellow might be. Ozil came closer trying to find Nacho from high right to the far left post. That leaves the FBs but maybe they were under instruction to hang back a bit as a WBA counter finding them out of position (with Le Coq on the bench and slow Per on the pitch) would have been a devastating turn of events…

    Anyhow, we’ll see what AW puts out tomorrow and how it all looks and feels…

    PE, if only folks could be as positive as you (and others, the silent majority?…) are…IMO–and I know plenty disagree–it would really help the boys get over the line… Keep giving it voice, I say…

  • It was a pretty victory – two more goals from reinvigorated Alexis, both un-Arsenal in terms of being scored out of the box. We created chances and moves the ball with crispy passing with Bellerin’s – as TA points out – inspiring performance.

    Ramsey picked two assists and probably didn’t want to score himself in order to avoid accusations for Prince’s death.

    17 is on the track when he mentions West Brom’s woodwork. We have to play against dangerous Sunderland team, the only Premier League club besides Arsenal that Olivier Giroud has scored for. Their new central defender Kone was a real menace against Manchester United in one of rare matches of theirs that I’ve watched apart from two we have won against them at the Emirates with the same scoreline and the same scorers (Giroud, Rambo and Campbell).

    Manchester City are on fire and if we want to avoid CL play-offs, we will probably have to avoid a defeat at the Etihad. Respective victories over Sunderland and Norwich are imperative. Both teams are fighting against relegation which means we will face more dirty tackles, more aggression and more physical approach than against Pulis’ Baggies. We haven’t enjoyed playing against teams like that this season.

  • Hey Admir… the new post (preview) is out but I appreciate your scouting report. Fat Sam, I guess is benching his captain, John O’Shea, in favor of the guy you mention, Lamine Kone. which is the sort of bold move you’d expect from a guy who is paid to keep his team up. Kaboul, of course, is a big target too so set pieces indeed could be big trouble…

    Anyhow, I don’t mean to bury your comment… Funny but sad stuff there about Rambo and Prince… Any comment on him and Elneny (and the rest and the actual football?…) As you’ll see, I definitely agree that Sunderland and Norwich will be more motivated opposition who won’t just give us the center of the pitch as WBA did… Also, I gotta agree about the Etihad being one we’ll have to get a result….Unless, of course, we fail with the relegation fighters.

    One at a time, of course, so….


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