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Team News: Arsenal vs West Brom

When the fixtures were released in June, a home tie against West Brom a couple of weeks before Christmas will have seemed like one of the more innocuous games of the season.

Yet here we are as the smell of mince pies and mulled wine fills our nostrils and that very same fixture has now become one of the most important of the season so far. Not only are we playing incredibly badly, but West Brom are exceeding all expectations.

It`s been well documented that Arsenal fans are becoming increasingly frustrated if not angry at the events of the season so far and nothing more than 3 points today will likely see a very strong reaction from attending Gooners at The Grove.

Mikel Arteta claimed this week that the players we hurting just as much as the fans, and they need to come out swinging today to prove it and put a very important 3 points on the board.

Let`s check out the line up.

Arsenal team: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Giroud.

Arsenal subs: Martinez, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Podolski.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 8 2012

Time: 2:59PM

Your Comments

Fantastic penalty from Arteta, bit lucky to get it tho but it's not like we've had the rub of the green often this season.
but at least it wasnt a dive eh... it definitely wasnt a dive cos Arse simply don't do that sorta thing.... hopefully you can go on to take some pts off our Top4 rivals..
We are due some change for refs anyway, but there was hardly contact on Santi there.
Good thing is we are playing much better today and are probably good value for the lead.
Will like to see Giroud take more chances for the crosses by taking positions at the near post. That's about the 3rd time we have been in a position to play the ball in from the flanks with no one running in for the pass.
They don't do it as much as Spurs. Bale is the only player to be booked three times for diving this year. It was a dive and I don't like it. But there's nothing we can do about it now. Playing well and hopefully three points on the way.
hopefully the ref DOESN'T see a replay of the penalty.... that Reid is an animal, straight red surely.
lol if you cant beat em cheat em. and people talk about bale wow at leat when he does his acting there is at least contact. that was actually really funny and i am guessing there may be some punishment for that dive
Arsenal fans cannot not say anything about Bale, that dive by Cazorla was worse than any Bale dive
Why should there be punishment? Will that be the first wrongly called penalty in the history of the EPL? I think Cazorla saw he had lost the ball, anticipated a touch and had gone down before he realized Reid had taken an air shot. Spurs fans shouldn't come on here all sanctimonious as the fact that you are making such a big deal of this proves a lot about the esteem in which you have come to hold the Arsenal.
We have been the better team, so far. I do hope we can sustain the pressure and the pressing in midfield; hopefully, we get a 2nd early enough and just shut Dow the hatches. Also look forward to seeing Rosicky and Poldi come in to make an impact.
not sure if Bale has dived for a penalty Rocky7, but its good to know that the only Prem wins recently may have come against 10-man teams (QPR, Spuds) and something as pathetically sleazy as this....still think you will concede in the 2nd half thru pressure of fear of losing the 3pts..
Naija ole bean.... was the clutching of the leg by Cazorla and rolling on the pitch alsso due to some delayed effect of whiplash from the air-shot of Reid ??.... you really are becoming the new Liverpool after all lol..
Viyyash get to the shrink before it's too late. This obsessive behaviour is far from healthy.
but I'm an Arse fan deep down bowie.... weally.
gervinho is awesome if you would like you can swap him for jenas and give us 2mil aswell
Another stonewall penalty (",)
on a general note.... only a matter of time before such important decisions as penalties go to a '3rd-umpire' scenario eg. in cricket.... the amount of naked cheating and ref-errors that go unpunished even thru a panel post-match is scandolous.... Football is really now becoming an even bigger cesspool
What does it matter if a player dives in the for a penalty or for a free kick? A dive is a dive. Though Bale admitting he does it to get other players sent off makes him the worst kind of cheat.
The smell of petrified spud it is.
This V-R meathead is getting tiresome. The three points were well deserved, we were all over them and I think it all happened in midfield. Wilshere was looks close to his best again and Ox had an extra spring in his step. Cazorla looked better with a bit of rest, maybe we can rest him more over the holiday programme with Rosicky back. Anyway, a lively start on the road back, just have to keep building on it and add a lethal poacher to give Giroud a hand up front.
Just shows you what a little bit of freshness can do to a good side. Wenger needs to do a lot of rotating, as much as we can get away with and still have a strong team, especially as we head into the fixture glut that characterises December. Rosicky should get more than 45 mins against Bradford same with the Ox who needs games. We must keep up a run to restore confidence.
Just shows you what a little bit of freshness can do to a good side. Wenger needs to do a lot of rotating, as much as we can get away with and still have a strong team, especially as we head into the fixture glut that characterises December. Rosicky should get more than 45 mins against Bradford same with the Ox who needs games. We must keep up a run to restore confidence.
Just shows you what a little bit of freshness can do to a good side. Wenger needs to do a lot of rotating, as much as we can get away with and still have a strong team, especially as we head into the fixture glut that characterises December. Rosicky should get more than 45 mins against Bradford same with the Ox who needs games. We must keep up a run to restore confidence.
Just got back from the game and I'm surprised to hear that there's any doubt about Cazorla's penalty. Having seen the replays the contact might appear light but in real time it looked definite enough and even a toe end against your shinpads is going to stop you. Reid didn't get anywhere near to the ball and I'm sure he was only trying to play the man. It was a foul. It was good to see some control back in our game. We were creating plenty of chances but not making as much of them as our overall play warranted. There's still this lack of certainty when we get into the box as though we're not quite sure what runs team mates will make or what ball to put in. We show signs of getting there though.
Good win, lucky with the 1st pen, but these are desperate times, so we'll take it. The team was much better today, creating some good chances, although I was puzzled by West Brom's approach - very defensive, didn't look they wanted to win, hardly created anything. Gervinho is a frustrating player, gets into good positions, but cannot finish. 3 pts, clean sheet.
Cazorla dives and get a penalty whilst Bale gets tripped twice and booked twice. Garteh may fall theatrically at times but he was still fouled twice yet gets punished. Lucky lucky Arsenal
Great game. Finishing could have been a lot better, but there was so much more creativity than against Swansea as well as much more aggression and determination. Wilshere was so exciting to watch, beating two or three players time and time again. Even since last week, his passing has improved in leaps and bounds. The whole team performance was unrecognisable from last week. We just need to go on a run of a few wins as the start of a 10-12 match unbeaten run (including the COC matches, please, please, Arsenal) and then we'll be all set. Re the penalty, I was at the game, I got back about an hour ago, and it has come as a surprise to me that there was any debate about the penalty! Regardless of what you think of the ref's decision, please don't let them start an Eduardo-style witchhunt.
And instead of complaining about a "dive", Clarke should be thanking his stars that he is not on the end of an embarrassing scoreline. We certainly had the chances to get a thumping win.
Ah now I see. VR and his flock of sheep had bought into the TV commentary for Cazorla's penalty which somehow managed to move from 'not much contact' to 'no contact'. There wasn't 'much' contact in many of the fouls awarded against Arsenal outside the area for that matter. But contact there was and a foul it was.
Definite dive for the penalty, West Brom put on the worst performance i've seen at that ground, their keeper had no saves to make from open play, 3 pts, we move on.
*at the ground this season
Myhill made a save from Gervinho late in the first half and another (though it probably came off a Brom player shortly into the 2nd) but we didn't work him enough. We created quite a few chances though which is an improvement of sorts. Cazorla says he lost balance when Reid took out his back leg and if you look at it that's not unreasonable. Reid doesn't make any attempt to play the ball. That had long gone by the time he decided to swing his foot the only intention of which was to take out Cazorla. The contact might not have been great but there was contact. The contact made on Ox wasn't great either. Whatever the degree of exaggeration in either penalty Reid intended and succeeded in fouling Cazorla.
Ive seen enough dodgy free kicks and penalties go against us not to give a rats arse about wheter it was a pen or not. The ref gave it. End of. Move on. I just find all the media hoo ha surrounding the incident totally pathetic. As if this is the first time a soft penalty has been awarded. If it was Gerrard going down like that he would be applauded for showing some match guile and 'winning' his team a spot kick. But of course Rooney and the ret of the engerland lads never cheat, do they?
Wyn Mills
Arteta: "Santi is not a player who dives. He has taken a lot this year because of the way he plays. If he has done it because he felt something and changed direction. But he is not that sort of player." lol. We're learning.
Wyn Mills
That's pretty much how I feel to Wyn. It's not as though there was no justification at all for giving the pen., and we've had our share of questionable calls given against us.
Football is a contact sport, players are allowed to touch other players without it being a free kick or penalty. This is Sky Sports at work here. "The player was touched so therefore it is a penalty". No. That contact has to be sufficient to bring a player down or for the offending player to gain an advantage. Cazorla blatantly took a dive. I understand not wanting to appear to slate your own players, because let's face, as a rule of thumb football fans are a bunch of whiney b***ches and they're going to whine about diving and whatnot we've been on the receiveing end of some shocking penalty decisons recently, enough for me not to dwell on this too much, but lets call a spade a spade. That was a dive and I don't like it in our game.
The contact doesn't have to be sufficient to bring a player down for it to be a foul. The contact has to be enough to unfairly affect the players ability to retain control of the ball. Not every foul is a two footed studs up challenge or ends up with the player on the floor. The vast majority are anything but. I'd accept that Cazorla may or may not have been able to do more to stay on his feet but in doing so he would still have been deliberately and intentionally deprived of the opportunity to retain control of the ball. Reid was trying to kick something and it wasn't the ball. How successful he was can be challenged but with no more certainty either way. This was the substance of Uefa's attempt to crucify Eduardo a few seasons back. Eduardo's looked and probably was more of a dive than Cazorla's which was the media stance backed up by Uefa who retrospectively added a 2 game ban despite the referee's insistence that he'd got it right. It was only when the incident was examined forensically that it became clear enough that there was enough cause for effect for cause and effect to be justified. But as with Eduardo the media stance has been pretty well set in stone already and now pointing out the same cause and effect is a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose.
I think maybe there's a bit of over analysis going on here? I'm not sure that intent can be good enough reason for a penalty either? If you can give give fouls for no contact, i.e. 'intent', then fair enough, but I don't think you can. It was a dive, Wenger's even said as much in his post match presser. Ask yourself if, say, Ryan Babel did something similar against us in a big European cup tie you'd be fuming.
Not over analysis - over simplification is at fault here. Reid's intention was clear enough even if he changed his mind part of the way through it. He still made contact even if its impact was lessened by a combination of his change of mind and Cazorla trying to get his leg out of harms way. We can feel fortunate to have been awarded the penalty or unfortunate if it had been denied. Yet most of the portrayal is that only one conclusion is justified. That's nonsense. No one can be certain that it wasn't a penalty any more than they can be certain that it was. Which was what Wenger said after the game. It's totally correct too.
rvp won it at the death for man u again. he used to do that for us. it really pains to say but probably his decision was right after all
For RvP it was the right decision. There's no real chance that we can win the title in the next two or three seasons which for the most part is really all that is left of his career. It's a shame but it should get progressively easier to avoid such situations over the coming years.
right but can you give penalties for intent? Sometimes simplification is a good thing, not always, but a lot of the time. Van Persie definitely made the right decision, we don't have any world class players at the moment though so don't worry about any of the current crop doing it to us next season, maybe Sagna, but that's about it.
Fwiw, I think it was a foul, but a player can go down without it being a foul or a dive. @ shewore - Arsene did not say it was a dive. He said that Cazorla had assured him that there was contact and that he lost his balance. He said sorry if it wasn't a penalty, ie if the ref got it wrong. Do you have quotes where he says Cazorla dived?
I'm not making an argument that you can give a penalty just for intent but the ref., was able to see quite clearly that he didn't intend to play the ball though he clearly intended to kick something. We can argue until the cows come home as to whether he made contact or how much contact was made or whether it was enough to knock him over or even cause him to lose balance but from the ref's position it must have looked a foul. It was certainly foul play. None of our players were world class players when they joined us. It was only two or three seasons back that RvP wasn't a proper striker and we were fools for hanging onto him. Are any of our current crop potentially world class players? Just a few weeks back you were telling us all that Cazorla was a £30mn player but presumably that's too cheap to be world class? There are those that think Wilshere might get there. I wouldn't be surprised if in time Ramsey might be seen that way too.
no sorry, that's what i was referring to, implying that it was a dive. So out of interest, when Van Nistelrooy got Vieira sent off, when all he did was kick fresh air, would that've been a penalty had it happened in the box?
If you were replying to me, shewore, how on earth can you read that as Arsene implying it was a dive? It was the opposite. If he had meant to imply that, why would he, in response to a journalist's request, say he would look at the incident and talk to Cazorla *if* he then thought it was a dive. Did you see the press conference, or are you going by headlines? You have your opinion but don't put words into AW's mouth.
'i am sorry if it was not a penalty' - seems to imply to me that he reckons it might not've been a penalty. That's right about the potential you're talking about amos, potential is exactly just that. I think Wilshere one day could get there sooner rather than later if he takes responsibility and starts scoring. But even with those teams, when all these players joined us (apart from maybe Bergkamp) we had genuine world class players in the team already, right now, we don't.
fully agree re the potential though, although i'm not sure Ramsey will reach such heights.
If the ref thought Vieira's was a foul and it happened in the box then yes it would've been a penalty. But the point with Reid's foul is that he may well have made contact. Only he or Cazorla will know for sure. So Cazorla isn't world class then? How many would've thought Mertesacker was a world class defender when we signed him? Or maybe considered Poldolski a world class player? You seem to suggest that we can consider Sagna as world class (he played well yesterday) but perhaps, in the interests of simplification, it's easier to claim we don't have any at all.
I think Sagna is the only one who can reasonably claim it as world class. Of course if the ref thought it was a foul it's given - not sure why there's any need to point that out. I don't think Cazorla is, no - or Podolski, and not Mertesacker, do you honestly believe them up there with the best in the world? The only player that'd have a sniff of getting in the invicibles is Sagna
The only reason I pointed it out was because you asked the question! So a few weeks back Cazorla was a £30m player in your eyes but now isn't world class? As for the invincibles personally I think if that's all it takes to make Lehmann world class then Szczesny must be too.
Cazorla is a 30m player, but you're shrewd enough to know value doesn't equate to a player's ability. I think Cesc Fabregas is world class, Van Persie is world class, Messi is world class, I don't think any of our players are up to that standard - i've seen flashes from Cazorla though, so i'm happy to be proven wrong.
Shewore, what exactly, makes a world class player, in your informed opinion? Sometimes, class is derived from team work and performance while in other cases, the class performer can drag his team along to glory. It looks to me like you would be changing your mind about a few of those players whom you have today, stated aren't world class, should the team win a major trophy. Sometimes, a successful season can bring out the best in players and make them look like class. Jack already looks world class; Podolski and Per are class players; Cazorla is certainly, a world class player, while barring his injury blight. Diaby is a class player.
Interesting to see that Viyyash Troll hasn't come on here today. Looks like we will be rid of him for a few hours more;-)
Was slightly disappointed to see Giroud trying to muscle Arteta out of the second penalty. Arteta's our penalty taker and has been the assigned taker for his last three clubs, he's just scored one earlier in the game too. Putting pressure on him like that was unnecessary. If Giroud was so concerned about scoring a goal, maybe he should reflect on the fact that he's playing centre forward. It was a rare show of poor team spirit from Giroud.
Little Dutch
In real-time, didn't look like a dive. In slow-mo, looks like a dive. I'm not complaining though. I'm happy we won. Not like the Baggies put up a fight tho. I'm particularly happy we showed glimpses of our old selves, especially those tricky triangles towards the end of the match. Confidence is slowly building up within em players. A few more wins and we will be in the top 4, maybe even top 3. Maybe winning the title may sound rather lofty but I don't think Man U and City have ran away. They can still be caught. Nothing runs faster than bullets. Up Gunners.
@Dutch. Was a bit nervous with the first penalty and I think Arteta was as well. So he took the safest route - knock it down the middle, there's always the probability that the keeper will dive to the side. I think Giroud just needed to get on the scoresheet, given his recent barrenness in front of goal. I agree however that he shouldn't have contested to take the second. There was enough pressure on Arteta already.
At the time i thought it was good to see he's eager to score, I suppose upon reflection it could be looked on in a more negative light. Some great strikers don't show great team spirit. Unlike someone like Henry who'd do just as much for an assist as he would a goal. Re world class, I suppose you can have different definitions to suit your mood, i'd say you'd need to be able to slot into any team in the world, Guardiola said a year or so back that they have lots of Wilshere's in the Barca B, I don't find that difficult to believe, he's not world class yet.
apologies for the rogue apostrophe, poor form.
@ shewore - First you say, "It was a dive, Wenger's even said as much in his post match presser." Then you say "'i am sorry if it was not a penalty' seems to imply to me that he reckons it might not've been a penalty." You've shifted your ground, but even what you have just said does not amount to AW "implying" Cazorla dived. You're taking his words out of context, so I recommend you log on to and watch the clip of the presser. In the phrase I quoted he is actually talking about whether it was a penalty, not whether it was a dive by Cazorla. Contact does not necessarily mean there has been a foul, no contact does not necessarily mean no foul, falling over due to evasive action or going over easily is not necessarily diving. You can even just lose your footing, can't you? It's a judgement call for the referee. In real time it looked like a clear foul so I am not surprised that the ref awarded a penalty.
Yep, you're right, I did say that in my first comment - that was stretching it a bit. I apologise. I do still think/know it was a dive though, i've seen no contact at all. At the time i thought it wasn't that bad, but on the replays it's worse. I'm not criticising the ref at all, i'm not even criticising Cazorla really, I couldn't really give a flying one, but you won't change my mind that it was a dive. If that was Gerrard doing that against us, or Bale, i'd be going mental.
It was a dive. Wenger knows that, I think, and probably will be having a word with Santi; I get the impression that respecting the rules of the game is very important to Arsene, as of course is the club's image.

Quite why ONE dive from an Arsenal player over four years leads to nationwide discussions about cheating, using video replays etc. does baffle me a little bit. There are many (mostly England internationals) who have embarrassed themselves regularly over recent seasons without being pilloried by the press (just as Eduardo was).
Now, that's just the point. Right there d_t. Cazorla is first not English and next an Arsenal player. I am not sure if to feel scandalized or just proud that our club is being held to higher standards of behaviour. Probably, the latter.
@ shewore - no worries. I know I won't change your mind and we probably have a different definition of a dive anyway. It was just about the Wenger thing.

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