Much to look forward to today – a possible Merinho breakdown, Klopp’s second defeat in a row, the Classico, MU downed by the rampant Hornets. What I am not looking forward to is the physicality of a game at the Hawthorns.
I have nothing against WBA, I admired them during the Big Ron era for their support of black footballers, also that they would routinely gift us 3 points at home and away, but things are different today; today they are managed by Tony Pulis.
Imagine how you would feel if it was announced that Mr Wenger was to be replaced by Pulis? First out of the door would be Ozil – Pulis would never have an artist in his team. Theo Walcott? No chance – the man is a wimp. Cazorla? A holding midfielder who can’t kick indiscriminately and physically oppress the opposition. Going through our team how many would get picked by Pulis? I would hazard a guess at Alexis, Coquelin, BFG and Gabriel.
Having said that, it is one of the pleasures of football that there are many ways to win 3 points and perhaps it would be boring if only fluent, attacking, exciting, skilful, intelligent football was the only style on offer. (a little BR joke for those who are too literal)
In 12 PL games WBA have scored 10 times, have collected 26 yellow and one red card (we have the lowest in the PL with 12/2). They have 4 points from 6 home games and are without question the dullest team to watch in Europe, if not the world, universe, galaxy, etc.
I wonder what Pulis makes of Mr. Wenger. What must he think when reading of AW wanting to bring out the beauty in his footballers? Of his eloquence following a match and his humour at press conferences?
This is not to say that Pulis is thick – he clearly isn’t but I hate his football philosophy. I hated his violent Stoke team. I hated his defence of Shawcross. I hate his idea that if you cannot win by playing with the ball then play the man. It is offensive.
We celebrate the return of Bellerin. I understand Debuchy’s frustration regarding his relegation to the bench which may affect his Euro place but Bellerin is fantastic – perhaps the best AFC debut season since that bloke who is on the bench at Stamford Bridge.
Unfortunately Ramsey is not available until mid-week and IMO he is the lynchpin of the side. We have struggled in his absence especially in the Spurs game.
Santi is fit again and played well for Spain, scoring a fantastic goal which may initiate his Arsenal goal scoring. It is a mystery that such a talented player cannot hit the target.
Alexis played two full competitive games for Chile and will surely be rested for much of the game. Who takes his place? I guess Campbell will continue out right and Arteta or Flamini alongside Coquelin allowing Cazorla to play further forward.
The bookies have us as 8/15 favourites. I am less confident.
But beating a Pulis team makes for a happy Big Raddy household and I am sure the Arsenal squad and backroom staff are all in favour of that.
Let it be so.