West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the way to Invincible – written by BigRaddy

Always good to play a newly promoted team at home after a busy (and triumphant) week. West Brom according to Mr Wenger will be a tough test and one of the best sides we could play. Tosh, I say – he couldn’t have asked for a better fixture considering the progressive destruction of his squad.  If we don’t pick up 3 points today we may as well hold up the white flag regarding the title.

We go into the game on the back of a confidence boosting and easy victory over our local rivals. The dressing room must be awash with testosterone which AW will be looking to unleash upon a team who have started brightly having taking a spanking at Stamford Bridge, but drawing with Spurs and beating Man City last time out (CC). This must be tempered by an appalling away record – WBA have just 4 points from a possible 52 in their previous away games in the PL.

In Roberto di Matteo WBA have a fine young coach who will be assuring his side that they can escape a beating akin to the 6-0 at the Bridge.  Should ex Arsenal youth player Jerome Thomas start,  it could be an opportunity to apologise to Jack Wilshere for the push that got Thomas sent off with a 3 match ban. You may recall Jack refused to take Thomas’s hand after he was elbowed, JT reacted to the snub by pushing Jack and got red carded.

I cannot see Di Matteo playing anything but a cautious game hoping to counter attack. He must know that should Arsenal score early Scott Carson will be in for a very busy afternoon.

My team …..

Bench:  Chesney, Vela, EE, JD  Diaby/TR

This assumes Rosicky and Diaby will not recover from injury. If either is fit, I would replace Denilson. Vela didn’t do enough at WHL to start today, neither did Djourou. I would like to see Chesney get a start but expect Almunia to play. It would be good to give Chesney a bench seat thereby making him feel included in the first team set-up.

We have been playing fast, fluent football, have become more incisive upfront with less pitty-patty around the opposition box and we seem to have sorted out some of our defensive frailties. In short we have been superb up to now. Even at Sunderland where we had our backs to the wall there were many positives, not least of which was the knowledge  we should have won the 3 points despite a lacklustre first half. Wilshere has been superb and is growing rapidly into the team, though I expect him to be rested as soon as Diaby and Cesc are fit. We remain unbeaten and on the way to another Invincible season 😉

This to me is an surprising fact about West Bromwich, two of my favourite singers were born there. Robert Plant  ex Led Zep and  Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Now to me Lizzy are the quintessential Irish band and I always thought Lynott came from Ireland – but no, he was born in Sandwell General, West Bromwich.  Wherever he was born, he played in one of the finest bands ever to walk the planet, RIP.

Can we win? Of course. Will we win? Certainly.


88 Responses to West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the way to Invincible – written by BigRaddy

  1. Gareth26GOONER says:

    Why are we 2 subs short?we don’t have that many injuries do we?

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Great piece Raddy, although I’m surprised you preferred Thin Lizzy to Led Zep 😉 As you say, games like today’s have to be won and won in style if we have any pretentions to be champions this season. I hope citeh get at least a draw against the chavs.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Gareth . Thanks for your comment.

    I like to leave something for your imagination …..

  4. barumgooner says:

    Nice preview to the game. Not sure about denilson on the left though. Probably go for Eboue if hes fit to play, he has his faults but he can hopefully provide some crosses for Chamakh

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I love then both but if I had to choose it would be Lizzy. They had so much passion.

    Game not being shown over here. If anyone has some links to streams at game time could they post them.

  6. barumgooner says:

    Sorry..I meant right

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Barum. I have yet to get a team right in at least 20 attempts !

  8. barumgooner says:

    Haha. I know what you mean Raddy. Same for me. Whoever plays it should be a relatively comfortable 3 points and as you say if we cant win this one we may aswell give up.

  9. barumgooner says:

    Rasp. Chelsea have not had a game yet, hopefully today the Mancs will show some fight and I can see them taking all the points.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi bg,

    A citeh win would be the best for us – and I think I’m right in saying that if we beat W Brom, that would mean we are the only unbeaten team in the prem.

    You wait, if we get at least a draw against the chavs, the hacks will be asking if we can go another season unbeaten – I’ll answer that one, no we can’t.

  11. barumgooner says:

    I agree its very unlikely for that to happen again and we dont need to. I’d settle for dropping points at the big clubs and picking up all the points from the less glamorous games.

  12. London says:

    Good read as ever BR

    I’m not sure I agree with the idea of giving Chesney a spot on the bench today, that would surely be sending the wrong message…..if I publicly criticise Wenger I improve my chances of being in the first team……nah, I doubt that we will see Chesney on the bench until after Christmas by which time Fabianski should have gone out on loan.

  13. GoonerEris says:

    Of course we should win this one, but easy, it won’t be. WBA play an attractive style with the ball on the ground and do have some hardworking, tireless players, who can hassle our midfielders. In their first game against the Chavs, I remember thinking they were better, at times,…. until the goals started.

    New signing, Odemwingie is one to watch as he is a big game player.
    The key will be to score early and I am sure we should win by a 3 goal margin.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Fair point London. Alternatively it could be seen as AW being reasonable and willing to listen to his players.

    On reflection, what you say makes more sense.

  15. Big Raddy says:

    BTW I disliked Harry intensely prior to todays “nutter” remark, I can only hope that he has been misquoted. If not he must be punished by the FA.

    He may be a decent manager (and that is open to question) but he is a despicable human being.

    AW has proven his pedigree and continues to do so, to have Fat Sam, Pulis, Brown and Harry berating him is laughable.

  16. barumgooner says:

    Morning London. Good point about Chesney and I think you are right that AW will not be at all happy with the public outburst by the young pole. I would however hate to see the lad leave whereas I am running out of excuses for Flappy. At 1-0 up with ten minutes to go and an injury to Almunia, Fabianski coming on would not only scare me but the rest of the team and himself aswell

  17. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Big Raddy,
    You are an author as well as a gentleman, scholar and cooker of fish!
    Great post apart from the Thin Lizzy stuff (quintessentially Irish???). Never mind. Here’s to three points, Chamakh unscathed and both teams losing at Eastlands.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    OK Micky …. you know what I mean. Having been a massive fan I am aware of the multi national makeup of the band, but Lynott was very proud of being Irish and Lizzy remain among the elite of Irish bands..

    Ref. this quote from Live and Dangerous…….

    Lynott: “Are there any girls out there with a little Irish in them?
    Are there any girls out there who would like a little more Irish in them ??”

  19. Kozzers Gooner Get Ya says:

    I agree with two points. The first is the fabulous confidence boost the club as a whole had with a royal drubbing of the swamp dwellers the other night.

    The second is that i want to see Jack in the team again.

    I disagree with 2 points also. Why would you want to start Denilson on the the right wing? The team has played alot better with him not in the first eleven and he makes a good sub. Denilsons form has been good but thats because hes been mostly a bench player. We have too many good players in his position now that we dont need to play him as much. Especially on the right wing?? Thats very strange.

    Also, i dont agree with the title of your piece. We are only a small fraction into the new season. I think your getting carried away to suggest going unbeaten at this stage. We have not played anyone strong yet and altough we are playing well and i am highly confident we will be in the top two this season, the real test will be at the bridge.

    If we can go to both anfield and the bridge and still be unbeaten I will start to believe this could be our year to finally win something.

    I like your positiveness though. Its a wonderful feeling when you trash those spuddleys. I can understand your on a high. Wonderful to see.

  20. Mayank says:

    Great post BR,
    Really looking forward to our next few games. We always lose points in bunches. If we beat WBA and don’t lose to Chelsea we’ll have done well.

  21. Big Raddy says:

    Kozzer. Welcome and thanks for the comment.

    If you notice there is a wink next to the Invincibles line …. but I guess little jokes do not transmit on a blog.

    And I disagree about Denilson. I like him and believe he has more end product than Eboue. He is not a right winger but a right sided MF – we will play with Chamakh up front and the other attacking MF’s joining him. I like EE as a RB and nothing else… and I stressed it was my team, not yours and highly unlikely to be Mr Wengers 🙂

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Mayank. Surely you agree we will take 3 points at home to WBA ?

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bearing in mind that both Diaby and Rosicky are in the squad, and therefore presumably fit, I would go:

    Sag Kos Squil Gibbs
    Nas Song Jack
    Ros Cham AA

    or, instead od Ros, put Nasri up wide with Diaby in mid.

  24. Red Arse says:

    Well written post BR.

    My first reaction when reading ‘Arry’s comment was similar to your own, a moth telling an eagle how to fly!

    On reflection though I think he is correct that there has been a change in Le Prof’s matchday demeanour. For the first two years or so, Arsene was coolness personified, simply reaching for a swig of water whenever something untoward happened.

    Now he appears extremely agitated when he feels there has been a bad foul or an unjust refereeing decision.

    To that extent ‘Arry is right. However, the explanation is that Arsene himself said he felt the same frustrations in the past as he does now, except previously he managed to suppress any external manifestation of these feelings, but now he does not try to do so.

    The serious point behind all this is the incredible public stress managers feel when fate kicks them in the teeth or their players let them down.

  25. Mayank says:

    We will in all probability, but what really matters is to give Chelsea a fight. Not lie down and hope to make up the points against the West Broms.
    I don’t care if we lose if Chelsea have to fight for the victory. We need them to lose their aura.

    Chelsea can be felled, and I have a sneaky feeling that it’s going to be between us and Utd come April.

  26. kelsey says:

    I will start again, morning all.

    WBA had a boyhood hero of mine Jeff Astle, but apart from thatthey have always been a nearly club.Haven’t won a league game away for two years, and my caution goes out of the window for this one, i expect us to win by at least 3 goals.

    If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, therefore Jack also stays in the team for me,Chippy Vela to start and Denilson will again be on the bench,with Eboue kissing everyone 😉
    I think BR just put Chesney on the bench as he knew it would be disputed.Fab will be there yet again.

    Watch Arshavin go from strength to strength,at least one goal today .

    The proposed financial report will come out on here on monday,if that’s alright.

  27. Mayank says:

    I think the reason Arsene has become more animated over the years is SAF. He sees how an over-reaction to a wrong decision can prevent further wrong decisions.

    Also, when he started out he had nothing to prove anything he did for Arsenal was a bonus. Now there are a hundred critics and thousands of expectations.

  28. Big Raddy says:

    Mayank. We will give them a game next week, have no fear.

  29. kelsey says:

    Demeanour is all down to not having dein taking a load off his back.I have to say that the boss is sometimes losing it quite unnecessarily,he is making a rod for his own back.Oh stop it kelsey, that’s another post in my head 😉

  30. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Nice line about moth & eagle.

    I agree AW looks more under pressure or more likely he has always been like that but nowadays he doesn’t mind being emotional in public.

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    You are right, AW was coolness itself, however, he came to the club and within a season it was raining trophies. The man could do no wrong, hailed as a genius on the field, off the field and in the transfer market. Recently the pressure has really mounted in terms of needing to win something, as well as the massive complexity of competing with both Chelsea and City with the efeect they have on transfers.
    On a positive side to him showing the pressure, it certainly should dispel cretinous thoughts that AW does not care about winning!

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right all,
    Must push off. There are apples to be pressed. Morning, radio and Eastlands in the orchard, followed by onlinefooty.com (thanks BR) from three.
    Could be yet another great day to be a Gooner.

  33. kelsey says:

    Morning Br.

    Rasp, United and Fulham both haven’t lost a league game yet.

    I find it rather (can’t think of the right word) that chelsea announced their team last night.
    Is it aloof, condescending or just plain arrogant or stupid.

    CC draw on in a few minutes.
    Bound to be away again.hope it’s not against the Towel City.

  34. kelsey says:

    Newcastle v Arsenal.

  35. Red Arse says:

    I have mentioned on another site that there is an article in todays Daily Mail, by Des Kelly, with Arsene Wenger as the subject.

    Kelly is not an Arsenal fan but this article is one of the best I have read by an impartial journalist, which even some of our more rabid fans could learn from.

    Try and read it online, if you get a chance.

  36. Irishgunner says:

    No Jack in the starting line-up today….

    Team vs West Brom: Almunia, Clichy, Scquillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Eboue, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh

  37. Irishgunner says:

    1-0 to Shitty, good result for us

  38. kelsey says:

    Had to laugh, first thing ade did was to be offside and the swan dive in the box deserved a booking.(I am a little biased)

    I don’t like the team we are starting with,but there are some good players on the bench.It reminds me a bit of the Spurs line up.if we need to step it up,we can rotate.

  39. Irishgunner says:

    Today could be one of the days when Diaby plays like Vieira.

  40. kelsey says:

    eboue, what a waste of space and diaby needs to get going.

  41. kelsey says:

    wba are playing quite well, we look a bit jaded and diaby isn’t in the game as yet.lethargic .

    good save from our number one 🙂

  42. Irishgunner says:

    Least Nasri looks like he cared….

  43. SharkeySure says:

    Unbelievable !!!

    I’m sat here stunned

  44. kelsey says:

    Nasri apart we were dreadful.Credit to WBA but nevertheless from the start the line up looked unbalanced.I said Eboue and Diaby should go off, but Rosicky,vela and Wilshere didn’t do much.
    An off day or what.
    Almunia hero and villian all in one game.Again he concedes a soft goal.
    Arshavin also should get credit,but that’s about it.
    need time to rethink.

  45. Irishgunner says:

    Most of them today looked like they couldn’t even be bothered to try so I’m not going to even bother discussing it.

    Laters all

  46. Big Raddy says:

    I take full responsibility, I will not mention the unbeaten until next season!!

    The only good was that my stream was awful and I missed all their goals.

    Eboue was awful, as was Diaby. Perhaps they forgot we play in Red and White shirts.

    Terribly disappointing

  47. HadenBaggie says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Not so cocky now are ya! The Baggie Boys are boinging all the way home to Yam Yam dreamland. I reckon you should think twice before posting similar articles next time buddie!

  48. SharkeySure says:

    I really have to ask what it is that Vela does for this team if the game is not already won.

    I thought Song showed immense drive and desire to get us a result today…he was everywhere.

    The nig question is who the hell do we play in goal next week..? If it was me, I’d play Chezza in Belgrade, and if he handles that then I’d go with him at the Bridge.

  49. SharkeySure says:

    Fair do’s Haden…you’ll get no arguments from me.

    Smaller clubs live for days like this, and todays your day. Enjoy it, your boys played quite well.

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Fair play Haden. Gloat while you can – we do!

  51. London says:


    These three points should go a long way to help with the relegation battle.

  52. Rasp says:

    I watched the game on stream. These are just a couple of early thoughts.

    The team lacked balance from the start. Eboue out of position, all the midfielders wanting to be strikers (Nasri was excellent) and forgetting to defend.

    Where was the urgency? We had a few performances like this last season where we seemed to think it was our right to win. Self belief is one thing, complacency is another.

    Unfortunately the lethargic Diaby turned up today.

  53. Baggie Man says:

    Nothing against the gooners. I like the way you boys play but confidence is one thing and arrogance is another!
    You and your team underestimated us and got what you deserved.

  54. Rasp says:

    Baggie Man,

    No-one is arguing with you on here. There are quite a few sites that will give you some stick if you’re looking for a ruck, but this is not one of them. Congratulations to your team, they deserved to win.

  55. kelsey says:

    Now we have a dilemma.Looks like Almunia is injured, and i just heard on the radio that some sections of the crowd booed him (which I obviuosly can’t confirm) but we have two difficult games coming up and we are running out of players.
    We have denilson and possibly vermaelen and a remote possibility that cesc will be back for the chelsea game, but which ever way you look at it, we haven’t got a keeper of any standing,and for that reason alone the outlook could look bleak.
    I suggest Eboue joins harlequins, and we finally get shot of Diaby.A bit drastic but how long can you wait for him to come good.
    Vela is another one, he just isn’t ready when you really need him.

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    If Almunia is injured, we will see if AW really believes that Fabianski is the 2nd best keeper at the club. I’d play Mannone and have Sczcesny on the bench.

  57. Rasp says:

    Any masochists out there feel like writing a match report – or shall I ask Baggie Man? 😦

  58. Big Raddy says:

    I’d play Fabianski.

    Just seen their goals – what an embarassment. Not only Almunia but Clichy, Song, Sagna – all at fault.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    How about we have a post about the Labour Party elections ……?

  60. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, are you serious? you’d play Fabianski! I know AW will, but I think that’s because he judges players primarily by what he sees in training instead of in games where it really matters.

  61. 26may1989 says:

    Am on my way home after THAT, and am feeling mighty pissed off, the Chavs lose and we throw away the chance to make ground with an absolutely gormless, gutless performance (Nasri exempted).

    As others have already said, the lack of drive and energy was the killer. Not only were West Brom the better side, they did it playing our style. And whoever is picked, that is inexcusable.

    In addition to those already slated, I’d have to say that was the worst we’ve seen from Koscielny and Squillaci. There are so many others worthy of criticism, I won’t pick on others save to say that Almunia’s error for the critical second goal was truly horrendous. The reaction in the ground was pretty strong but was targeted more at Wenger than Almunia himself.

    That one well-worn issue aside, I would blame the players more than Wenger, the starting 11 should have been perfectly able to deal with the opposition. The one thing they lacked was a player to maintain the tempo of the passing bit even so, they should have done much, much better. The softness of our defensive game today was shocking.

    If Almunia is injured, I am certain Fabianski will play on Tuesday – he shouldn’t but he was on the bench today, showing that Wenger still sees him ahead of Szczesny and Mannone. Oh dear.

    One minor bright point: unlike Spurs, most Arsenal fans stuck it out and I was pleased that West Brom were applauded from the pitch by many Gooners.

  62. kelsey says:

    I blame Pat Rice 😉

  63. London says:

    I think Baggie man’s 6:08 sums it up nicely.


    I have half a post, I will send it to you by email, it needs more but I have an idea.

  64. kelsey says:

    Wenger spoke to Fab after the game and told him that he mustn’t let in more than 3 goals on tuesday and then his position as number 2 is safe.

  65. 26may1989 says:

    Am trying to remember the last time we conceded three goals at home to someone other than Chelsea or United. Was it Charlton (4-2) or Boro (3-0), both a long time ago?

  66. Rasp says:

    Thanks London,

    I’ve got it, just reading now.

  67. Red Arse says:


    This is a reality check. From “who are Squidgy and Kosser” to “they are the best thing since free love became mandatory!”

    O.K. I made the last bit up, but the meaning is clear.

    Almunia may have been crap, but he was of a piece with the rest of that appalling defensive performance, and at least he made a penalty save.

    Penny wise, pound foolish when it comes to CB’s and GK’s, perhaps? 😦

  68. Rasp says:

    Pat Rice is blaming me for bigging them up yesterday 😦

  69. London says:

    I haven’t seen any replys but I am not sure how or why Kozzer and Squidgy are taking any blame at all.

    Ist goal…..shoot Sagna

    Second goal…..hot needles under Almunia’s nails

    Third goal….castration Almunia.

  70. London says:

    Maybe that should be the other way around: castration and then hot needles. The second goal was the worst.

  71. Rasp says:

    😆 London, so would you prefer to see Fab2 between the sticks on tuesday?

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Why not Rasp. How could he do any worse?

    But it should be pointed out that there are those on here who were convinced Almunia had become a better GK. So perhaps he deserves another chance.

  73. Neamman says:

    What a display, we didnt even show up until they were 3-0 up!!! [Nasri apart]
    I joind the match after 15 mins and didnt know the line up.. I dont think Eboue was mentioned more than twice before he left. Diaby awful, Sagna, awful, defence generally..awful, Almunia.. well I give him the benefit that he was injured but the last 2 goals were… sad!!! Song had a bad game.. not effective and spending too much time in the WBA half rather than in ours doing his job.
    Spuds and Chelsea lose, Nasri, Rosicky and Wiltshire all looked excellent but apart from that ..none.

    Big Raddy, you are 100% correct..we should be running up the white flag now.. not because its WBA but because we played CRAP!!!!
    Congratulation to WBA, they played tough but fair and wer truly deserving of the win, I hope they stay up.
    I have always liked Thomas ever since I saw him in a reserve game years ago.. I am just sad he chose this game to shine.

  74. Rasp says:


    Yes, I think Fab2 is generally worse (if worse is the right word) than Almunia. Fabianski isn’t as good a shot-stopper as Almunia and he falls apart when under pressure.

  75. London – I’ve added to your post, its in drafts if you could have a look. If you had more to add and you want to take my bit out thats fine too.

    Horrible horrible day 😦

  76. No no no, if Almunia is injured I’ll go in goal, anyone but Fab2 😦

  77. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches,

    I don’t know about the player’s confidence, but mine took a blow today. Cesc is still the most important cog in this team (if it even needed saying). We lacked leaders on the pitch today. Almunia should never be captain because GK’s should never be captain. It must be an outfield player. Wasn’t Nasri was captain against the spuds? perhaps should have been captain again today – or maybe if Song had been made captain he might have paid more attention to his duties and put defending before glory hunting.

  78. Neamman says:

    I dont think Cesc is that important, we have JW an SN.. we looked a lot better when they were on the pitch

  79. Rasp says:

    I agree we looked a lot better with JW and SN on the pitch. JW may well be the one to take over from Cesc, but I don’t think he’s at Cesc’s level yet.

  80. Have to blame Raddy for his use – even if it was whispered – of the haloed ‘Invincible’ 😉

  81. I think Cesc is still important because the rest of the team know that he is but they also know that Jack is important too.

    What today showed for me is that a mid-field of Song, Diaby and Eboue doesn’t work. I love Eboue’s exuberence but he doesn’t make the difference when we need someone to do that. Diaby can make the difference but today wasn’t the day and Song probably just had too much to do so he failed a bit too.

  82. […] West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the way to Invincible Always good to play a newly promoted team at home after a busy (and triumphant) week. West Brom according to Mr Wenger […] […]

  83. Baggie Man says:

    Re the comment from Rasp. I am not looking for a ruck.
    Before the games I like to see things from an oppostion viewpoint and was somewhat surprised with the authors over confidence to put it mildly and I suggest your team did the same.
    I do however wish you well for the rest of the season and for the good of football, I hope you win the league.

  84. Morning all

    NEW POST ………….

  85. […] West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the Way to Invincible […]

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