Arsenal will be without four key first-team players when they host West Brom tomorrow afternoon. Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny have all been ruled out for Saturday’s game.
Back-up left-back Andre Santos, French midfielder Abou Diaby and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi also remain out with injuries that have kept them out for a while now.
Ben Foster is the biggest absentee for West Brom who have no fresh injury concerns. Peter Odemwingie, who has a history of scoring against Arsenal, may return to the starting line-up, along with James Morrison and Chris Brunt.
Both sides suffered disappointing defeats at home last weekend. The Gunners lost 2-0 to Swansea after conceding twice late on and West Brom lost 1-0 at home to Stoke. Both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways, especially Arsenal, who you could argue must win this game, otherwise they will be in a very similar situation to last season, playing catch-up from a long way behind in the race for Champions League football. The difference between this year and last year is that last year we had a player that you could rely on to score you pretty well a goal a game, which was of course Robin Van Persie who is now in Manchester.
There’s no arguing that Arsenal need to strengthen in January, whether they will or not remains to be seen. However, this is December. Arsenal rested players in midweek against Olympiakos in favour of this game. They have six games in all competitions until Wenger can dip into his pockets if he wants to. West Brom at home (Premier League), Bradford away (League Cup), Reading away (Premier League), Wigan away (Premier League), West Ham at home (Premier League) and Newcastle at home (Premier League). You can even include Southampton away on New Year’s Day because the chances of Wenger signing a player between midnight and 5:30pm when Arsenal kick-off that day are slim to none. Wenger probably doesn’t even stay up to welcome in the new year, he will probably be sleeping!.
At the moment we need to find a way of ending the current bad form. Arsenal haven’t won since November 21st at home to Montpellier in the Champions League. When you look at the calendar that may not seem too long ago, but they drew away to Aston Villa in a poor game, drew away to Everton which wasn’t a terrible result, lost at home to Swansea which was a nightmare and a mixed team lost 2-1 to Olympiakos the other night after being 1-0 up. It’s been a disappointing 4 games and Arsenal have been inconsistent all year. They need to start stringing some wins together, whether they’re 1-0 wins or 4-3, it really doesn’t matter at this stage. They just need some confidence back and to get a few wins together. That has been a major problem all year round, not managing to win a few games in a row, it’s always been 1 really good win and then a draw, followed by a very disappointing defeat. It’s been that kind of a season so far.
I’m not confident in the current side the way they are playing. What frustrates me is that I know how talented they are. They’re talented enough to win a trophy this year and they’re talented enough to get 3rd or 4th in the league. But you can be as good as you like on paper or a few games a season. It’s the consistent sides that can grind out results week in, week out, whether they play well or not that win the trophies. United have been doing it for years and City are doing the same nowadays too. Arsenal cannot do that. And they haven’t been able to do it since 2005, when they last won a trophy. It’s no coincidence.
Fingers crossed for a positive result this weekend. Fearing another Swansea to be honest as West Brom aren’t a bad side, even if they have lost two in a row.