Arsenal play hosts to West Bromwich Albion this coming Saturday and will hope to carry on their impressive home run and also improve their strong winning statistic where they have won eight in their last ten matches. Gunner’s fans may go into this match not knowing what to expect with Arsenal’s two most recent performances completely contradicting eachother.
The first, against Chelsea, was a perfect example of attacking football. Arsenal were always threatening on attack and lethal in front of goal, but admittedly defence was average at times with soft goals being conceded due to poor positioning/marking. The second match, against Marseille in the Champion’s League however was the complete opposite where our attack failed to penetrate Marseille’s resolute defence with star front-man Van Persie rested, yet our own defence was very solid with the return of reliable centre-back Thomas Vermalen.
While contrasting performances, it is hoped that the likely return of both Van Persie and Vermaelen will give Arsenal the best of both world’s in attack and defence. While the Belgian centre-back has been short of match-time, his performance in midweek suggests that he is still as sharp as ever with an exceptional defensive performance. At the other end of the pitch, not much has to be said on the form of Van Persie who will be looking to extend his remarkable goal-scoring record of 28 goals in 27 Premier League appearances in 2011.
West Brom will be looking to contain the offensive power of the gunners, but may have a tough time of it after only keeping three clean sheets in their last 40 away fixtures. At the other end of the park however the baggies will be looking to their own lethal finisher Peter Odemwingie to get on the scoresheet, but with a knee injury there are doubts about his fitness leading into the tie. In this tie one would expect Arsenal to bag a few goals as well as all three points.
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(Premier League in red)
on any new injuries…
There are none, basically. We have no injuries from Tuesday night which is very positive. Apart from long-term injuries we have only Chamakh and Gibbs out at the moment. Going into November that’s not too bad.
Often we have had good starts and then a little drop in November. This season we didn’t have a very good start and hopefully we can go from strength to strength as we are doing at the moment.
on Marouane Chamakh…
He has a little inflammation in his knee. There is a little effusion and he will not be available for Saturday. I think he will miss the international games as well. Hopefully he should be ready again after the international break.
on Kieran Gibbs…
He is not available for Saturday as well. He is progressing normally, a bit slower than expected but there’s a chance he might be available after the international break.
on Thomas Vermaelen’s reaction to his game on Tuesday…
Apart from stiffness, no, there was no reaction.
Arsenal – Robin Van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been in outstanding form this season and his form can not be argued with. Scoring an impressive hat-trick against Chelsea at the weekend, his confidence going into this match will be sky-high with the Dutchman himself saying he expects to score in every game.
Marseille – Peter Odemwingie – Although there are doubts over his fitness leading into the tie, the Nigerian striker has troubled the Arsenal defence in the past, bagging goals in both Premier League fixtures against the gunners last season. Having netted 15 goals for his club in his debut season last season, expect him to be a handful for the Arsenal defence if he is fit to play.
Jenkinson Koscielny Mertesacker Santos
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
With Vermaelen putting in an exceptional 90 minute performance against Marseille in midweek performance there is every chance he will be recalled into the side. In saying this though, after just coming back from injury Wenger may err on the side of caution and rest him in place of our other in-form defender Koscielny.
The midfield will be the usual three, and upfront and wide it should be the same after Gervinho and Walcott put in excellent performances at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Expect Van Persie to be recalled after being rested in midweek.