WBA (A) Preview

We’ve had varying success at the Hawthorns in past years.

Last time we played there, we won 3-1, courtesy of two from Nicklas Bendtner and a header from Kolo Toure. The previous game, however, we went down 2-1. If my memory serves me correctly, Philippe Senderos scored for us, but Darren Carter came off the bench to score a wondergoal to win it for the Baggies. I’m sure we all know and still shake our heads at what happened last time we played them though – it was a shocking collapse, and 3-2 genuinely flattered us. We could have even snatched a draw; Nasri hit the bar, and Rosicky flicked a late chance well wide.

It was Almunia’s last performance in the league for us, and he’s expected to return between the sticks tomorrow. He saved a penalty having conceded it, and to be fair had been having a decent season; and then it happened. Three goals in the space of 15 or so minutes flew in, at least two of them could be blamed on Almunia too. I’m not sure what he could have done about the first one, but the second was straight at him and he helped it into the net – the third was just idiocy. He raced off his line to try and tackle a player who wasn’t going anywhere, and made it easy for him to square for Thomas, who couldn’t believe his luck.

We really do not want anymore of that from Almunia tomorrow, it’s a huge game in our season and we need good performances from everyone. In his previous two games against United and Barca, he did play very well to be fair to the guy, so more of that from him please. Lehmann should be on the bench for his return to the side after his move was finally confirmed by arsenal.com. These days it seems like the last place to have the news though, and often gets things wrong, even passing off fake Twitter accounts as real.

Diaby has been ruled out as I said yesterday, which for me is good news – not that a human being is physically damaged obviously, but that he can’t negatively affect our chances of victory, which let’s face it, he does often. Most if not all of us are probably hoping to see Ramsey back starting in the league, but realistically I can’t see Wenger throwing him in the deep end in such an important game. We’ll probably have to settle for Diaby’s partner in crime; the other Chuckle brother, Denilson. I expect he’ll line up alongside Wilshere in the deep-lying midfield positions. The defence will surely be Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci and Clichy – I’m a little worried about the centre backs, as I said yesterday they’re a troublesome pairing, and Odemwingie can be a handful on his day. Hopefully he’ll be off his game again tomorrow.

I’d expect Arshavin to play on the left, with van Persie in the lone role, and Nasri and Rosicky to take the remaining central and wide right roles – who in which, I’m not quite sure. The bench will then probably be made up of Lehmann, Eboue, Miquel (not Miguel!), Gibbs, Ramsey, Chamakh and Bendtner. With the injuries we have, that’s still a good team. Definitely capable of turning West Brom over, but they’re in a decent run of form.

They’re unbeaten in four since they were beaten 3-0 by City, but even then they put a good show on. Under Hodgson they’ve been improving, and our loanee Carlos Vela has been in excellent form. The good news is, he won’t be playing, so that’s one player we won’t have to worry about. They still have other dangerous players – Brunt, Morrison, the afore-mentioned Odemwingie too. Then there’s Fortune… every time I’ve seen him he’s been useless, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up scoring against us! Hopefully I’ve not jinxed it. They have the likes of Scharner at the back, and he’s great at getting on the end of set pieces; attacking and defending, while Brunt has a wicked delivery, so we’ll have to be watchful.

Well, that’s about it for today. Enjoy, follow me on Twitter @15yearoldgooner and hopefully we’ll get the three points! Cheers.

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