Well it’s back to basics this weekend as we see the return of the Premier League action and it’s a bit of a relief to be honest. We’ve been dumped out of The FA Cup and Champions League in quick succession but now comes the real test. We have 10 games left this season and that starts at West Brom.
I’ve commented before about this side’s ability to crumble in the face of adversity and it’s been apparent in the last couple of weeks but unusually for us that hasn’t seen us hinder our title chances to a great extent. The draw against Sunderland was very disappointing but we remain within touching distance. The team has had long enough to think about their attitude and desire to win silverware this week and I expect a response from them tomorrow. The players should be raring to go and they have something to prove to themselves, Wenger and most importantly us.
One thing is for certain tomorrow, Samir Nasri needs to be in centre midfield. He has been wasted (protected?) on the wing since his return from injury and we need him on the ball as much as possible. Samir’s performances of late have dedicated our form somewhat. Games v Birmingham, Barcelona and United have seen him on the edge of the things for too long. The wingers in our 4-3-3 become very isolated and we have a massive tendency to play through the middle and if we do elect to play it wide it’s when the opposition have the entire defence back and Nasri can’t beat everyone, although he has done that before. So let’s get him on the ball and hand him the freedom Cesc is given and surely we are onto a winner? That frees up room for the much loved Nicklas Bendtner to come into the side and he can cause WBA more than enough problems and he's notched a couple at The Hawthornes too. Tomorrow will also be a good barometer of where AW sees Ramsey’s progress since returning to the club. He’s going to have to start a game sooner or later due to the fragility of Cesc’s hamstrings and Diaby’s heart. I do think Wenger will opt for Denilson though and we’ll see where that leads us but we should see Aaron at some stage tomorrow.
Although I think we’ll do quite well in this game, I think The Baggies will be quietly confident going into this match. There’s not a team in the land that fears our defence (well execpt for ourselves) and it looks like we are going to roll out the same back 5 that we did in the 3-2 loss. Odemwingie and Thomas were very dangerous at The Emirates and they will no doubt cause us problems with their pace. My concern is the likes of Morrison and Brunt who can provide quality balls. Our marking is poor and we frequently let players run off each other, only to realise we haven’t passed them onto anyone else. That mainly happens in open play, so hopefully we can concentrate for most of the game. Oh and they will also miss the goal scoring machine of late in the form of Carlos Vela. Ha.
I expect a win and an impressive one at that. We won’t get caught by surprise this time and we’ll get plenty of opportunities to put them to the sword, that is as long as the side has been prepared in the right way. So I’m going for a 3-1 win. In other games, United play Bolton at OT and we need to go blow for blow with them and after tomorrow we play after United do on each matchday until 7th May (Sky/ESPN have yet to intervene). We can't be going into games 8 points behind them. I can see Bolton possibly sneaking a point tomorrow, United have as much disruption as us when it comes to injuries and the last people you want to face are the likes of Davies and Elmander, won't get a better chance to pick up points there.
To finish on, let's not forget that after Man Utd lost to Liverpool we were all getting slightly excited about the reality of winning this league. That hasn't change and the charge for the line starts now.