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Going to need two, to stop this man

Tonight will be the second meeting for The Arsenal against West Brom this season, and unlike 2 weeks ago, the personnel involved are likely to be very different. That was the Capital One Cup and this is the Premier League. A league in which we could return to the top if we win tonight’s match. With next week being an international break, there’s no reason to suggest anything but the best available first XI being fielded by both sides.

WBA Arsenal
Table position 12 2
Form Unbeaten in last 3 matches. Beat United last week. Already lost twice this season Unbeaten in 8 matches in all competitions. Won 7 of it. Won on penalties in the other
Injured Late test : Sessegnon, Anichebe, Morrison, Long, Anelka, Brunt
Out : Sinclair, Gera, Vydra, Foster, Thorne
Out : Sagna, Walcott, Cazorla, Sanogo, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby

Effectively, I think we’re going to field almost exactly the same players as the last match against Napoli. The only uncertainty is whether Jack Wilshere gets back into the starting line-up ahead of Tomas Rosicky. Which I think could happen, given that the Czech only just returned from injury and 2 games in a few days might not be the best for his recovery. The other change would be an enforced one  with Carl Jenkinson coming in for the injured Bacary Sagna.

The Wilshere smoking thing has been blown out of proportion. Lots of players smoke and it doesn’t necessarily affects their game. That said, it was stupid of Wilshere to do it in public and stupid of him to respond in that manner on Twitter. I wish all players are disciplined like Dennis Bergkamp and finds no trouble outside of the pitch but I can understand that no two players are ever the same. Some people live their lives in a certain manner and as long as their contribute on the pitch, I have little complains.

The team is riding on a crest of confidence from the good run that we’re having and it’s a shame that the international matches are on next week. Without doubt that the first 45 minutes against Napoli was the best half we’ve produced this season. It’s Wengerball, no other description will give it justice. To be able to mix that up with the second half showing of absolute control, goes to show how far the team has matured.

Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Flamini and Olivier Giroud are all on good form and the same players will be expected to perform. If usually, we only have 1 player being in excellent form at one time, it gives great pleasure to see a few players being a great run together. Makes it just that little harder for the opponent to pin down a target to control.

As their result last week at Old Trafford proved, WBA won’t be a pushover. While the current Manchester United side is not the best they have in Premier League history, they are still a formidable side. For Steve Clarke to be able to take his men there and take the game to United, deserved a lot of praise. Stephane Sessegnon is slowly but surely becoming a very important player for WBA, in the roaming role behind the lone striker.

Key battles

Saido Berahino v Carl Jenkinson The 20 year old forward scored at Old Trafford and had a good run in the League Cup. Jenkinson will have to keep up with his pace and trickery, perhaps for one match, entirely disregarding his attacking duties.
Claudio Yacob v Aaron Ramsey The Argentine can be a tough tackler when he needs to be and that’s something Ramsey needs to be wary off. That said, physically Ramsey is at a different level and Yacob may have a hard time trying to follow him around. May switch between sometimes with Mulumbu.
Liam Ridgewell s v Mesut Ozil Ridgewell gave Walcott the rough treatment the last few times both teams met and might give Ozil the same. Only one winner here, only if Ozil accepts the possible physical nature of the battle and not shy out of it.

This is no easy but it’s hard not to be confident that we could take all 3 points. It’s another away game and the team can draw confidence from our magnificent away run since that match at the Allianz Arena. We can’t let our hopes go to smoke this soon. Up The Arsenal.