Today’s preview is from Vidur Sawhney, the main man among our friends over at “OOOh! To Be A Gooner!!“
So I’m sitting here staring at my laptop at the end of a very tiring day, pondering about how to proceed with the preview for the match tomorrow. And as with all exhausted my minds, my thoughts are wandering down every path imaginable. It’s got me thinking about how we’ve reached here. Boy, WHAT a season it has been thus far. For a defeatist, a naysayer, a cynic nay a moaner doomer, the summary of our journey is “we suck, we won’t win, sell everybody, buy everybody and Wenger out!”. Well, if you’re one such person, I request you to kindly give yourself a swirly. Your head truly belongs there.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy season. We started the campaign on a good steady note with a set of solid defensive performances, but slipped up in the middle as the team’s relative unfamiliarity and lack of chemistry and cohesion began to show. The best of teams have off days; you just can’t win them all and a couple of missteps along the way saw the confidence drop. Add the “encouragement” from certain sections of Arsenal “supporters” to that (rather miserable) mixing pot and you have the recipe for disaster! Ordinary teams would crumble in a similar situation. But on the contrary, we got back up in time, dusted ourselves off and have gone back right into the thick of it. We’ve shown our mental strength, heart and desire, and we’ve started to come together as a team, showing the chemistry and cohesion that was lacking earlier in the season. We’ve also started to prove why we’re a cut above many others (though quite how people earlier in the season could fathom us finishing below the likes of those like our opponents today is beyond me). Currently on a streak where we’ve gained 19 points out of the last 24 and are on a run of 3 straight wins across all contests, we’ve picked the perfect time to go on a good run of form as we get to the business end of the season.
We have eight fixtures left to secure our Champions League ambitions, and I’m prepared to bet my left nut we’ll make it there as always. While the team just needs to get its head down and do its job in every game, I would also like to beseech each and every one of you to do your job as well. How? Simple, just get behind your team wholeheartedly and vocally whether it is in the stadium, at the pub or in front of your TV or Laptop. The team has the quality but it can use all the positive vibes and support it can get to give it an extra edge to push it smoothly into the Top 4 which makes a potentially promising summer (if you take heed of all the smoke from various directions) into a certainty.
Moving onto this week’s game; we face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns this Saturday, in what promises to be an exciting encounter. For us. We’re in a rich vein of form as we travel away to the West Midlands and I can see us easily getting three points from the fixture. The team have been putting together one assured performance after the other, and I feel that the Bayern Munich game was a turnaround point for our season. We’ve only lost one game in the previous six, and have gained 20 points of the last 24 that have been up for grabs and we currently find ourselves in a very promising position; just two points adrift of fourth place in the League with a much simpler fixture list in the closing stages compared to the two immediately above us.
The Baggies on the other hand, started the season with a bang under new manager Steve Clark. But as with all middle table teams, they’ve not been able to maintain any consistency as the season wore on and find themselves in an unenviable eighth position in the league. Their current form is rather abysmal, losing 3 and drawing another game out of their last 6. Furthermore, the absence of Mulumbu, their primary midfield enforcer due to suspension will seriously hurt their chances against the quality we have in our midfield.
Last time we faced them, we beat them rather easily at the Emirates with a 2-0 scoreline that actually flattered them considering the number of chances we had. The Baggies will be undone on account of three factors today: Our defence will nullify Lukaku, their midfield will be neutralised by our central trio who will have them chasing shadows with their passing movement and possession (further limited supply to Lukaku), and we’ll play swift, attacking football that the Arsenal have always been synonymous with. We should get the three points and watch Bale FC crumble without their first team tomorrow against Everton. You heard it here first. UTA and have a great weekend everyone.