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Arsenal vs. West Brom

Emirates Stadium

16 August 2008


Arsenal vs. West Brom

After a long, tedious summer for Arsenal fans, Premier League football is finally back. Arsenal kick off the new Barclays Premier League season with the early fixture at home to West Bromwich Albion. Last season in the first fixture of the new campaign, Sunderland faced T*ttenham Hotspur and the newly promoted team won the game with a late goal. Arsenal will be looking to avoid a similar upset by this seasons Championship winner.

Last season Arsenal started the season in blistering form which saw them race to the top of the table within weeks, but none of this would have happened if we didn`t complete the opening day comeback against Fulham. A proper start to each season is a facet of the game which is often under appreciated. After going behind in the opening seconds against the Cottagers thanks to a mistake by Jens Lehmann, Arsenal bombarded the Fulham goal with continuous pressure, but with only ten minutes left to go myself, along with all other Arsenal fans, were thinking 'here we go again`. But thanks to an inspired run by Kolo Toure from the centre of defence, Arsenal earned themselves a penalty and the rest is history.

Vital Quotes:

This offseason Arsene has been searching for a solution that we see his team take that final step to winning the title. "A four-point gap after 38 games is down to one or two decisions in your favour, one or two injuries that you don`t have, one ball going in, instead of hitting the bar."

'We feel we were a fraction short. Now we want to show we can make up the four points that made the difference last year. This season I feel it will be more down to starting well and being more relaxed when it comes to the crunch point."

'Last year we were leading the Premier League due to a good start. So let's focus on the short-term goals and show later on that we've learned from when we dropped off last season."

Wenger is wary of the threat a newly promoted team can posses in the first game back in top flight of English football. 'Usually the teams that come up give you a good game,' said Wenger.

'We know West Brom will be up for it. Out of the three teams who just came up from the Championship, they have the most experience in the Premier League. But it is always our target to win the first match."

Le Boss was also full of praise for Arsenal`s only marquee signing this summer before the first match. "He is doing very well," said Wenger. "He is an intelligent boy and that is always a very good ingredient. When you are intelligent in life and with talent, you always have a chance."

"For me he is a player who has a good engine, good technique and vision. He can play the final ball which we like here. He has the technical level to go into any combination and is very mobile. We believe he has the ingredients to fit into our game."

Even though Cesc Fabregas is out, West Brom boss, Tony Mowbray, does not think the task for his side will be any easier. 'There is no hiding Cesc Fabregas is very important to what they do,' he said.'

'But the strength of Arsenal is their team ethos and, whoever comes in for him, the ball will still be passed well.'

'Fabregas does give them that bit of extra quality and vision but they will play exactly the same way and still have Adebayor and van Persie up front, and great players all over the pitch.'

He also praised the Gunners for the way Arsenal runs the club. 'There's always this debate in football about whether it's about winning or whether it's about entertaining and I think, generally, Arsenal have got that balance right. Arsenal don't spend hundreds of millions, continue to play fantastic football and continue to be in the top four.'

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal still have many players on the injury table for this game, but some good news is that Kolo Toure is probable and Samir Nasri will play. After getting his Champions League debut on Wednesday, Aaron Ramsey will get his full league debut in this game.

Fabregas, Diaby, Senderos, Eduardo, Rosicky, and Bischoff are all out injured, while Song is still representing Cameroon in Beijing.

Almunia will start in goal, with Djourou the most likely partner to Gallas at centre back, while Sagna and Clichy complete the back four. The midfield will probably consist of Walcott, Ramsey, Denilson, and Nasri, though I wouldn`t be surprised if Eboue featured in the starting lineup. Robin van Persie and Adebayor will lead the front line.

Player to watch: William Gallas

Gallas was captain fantastic midweek versus Twente, netting a much needed opener. He always seemed to pop up last year with important goals and he looks to be continuing that trend this year. He has been a great captain in my opinion, and he will only improve this season.

West Brom Team News:

The Baggies won the Championship last year with flowing football which was attractive to watch. Whether they are able to continue this style of play in the Premier League remains to be seen. WBA made some splashes in the transfer market this offseason, but not nearly as many as last season`s Championship winners, Sunderland, made in their preparations for the top flight. Most notably, Albion signed talented young striker Luke Moore from Aston Villa, goalkeeper Scott Carson from Liverpool, and Marek Cech, a left back from FC Porto.

West Brom also has some injuries that will affect their starting lineup. Luke Moore has a thigh problem; Robert Koren and Neil Clement both have knee problems. Gianni Zuiverloon will be missing because he is representing Holland in Beijing for the Olympic Games. On a brighter side for the vistors, new signing from Bolton Abdoulaye Meite is likely to feature.

Player to watch: Roman Bednar

Czech Republic international, who signed from Hearts this summer, will be looking to make an immediate impact in his first league game for the Baggies. He has had success scoring goals in every team he has played for, but the BPL will be a whole new world for the 25 year old.

Ref Watch:

Howard Webb will be the head official for this match. Personally I will never respect Coward Webb after how poorly he handled the extra time brawl between Arsenal and Chelsea. He is a sub-par referee who somehow has emerged as English`s best, which says a lot about the quality of English refs. Last season he officiated 27 games giving out 1 red and 101 yellows, which is about 3.78 per game.

Match Prediction:

Even with our inexperienced midfield, I just can`t see West Brom causing us many problems, though I didn`t see Fulham being a big test either. 3-0 to Arsenal with Adebayor netting a brace and van Persie to round off the scoring.

The Journalist

Writer: gunnerkid107 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 16 2008

Time: 9:05AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I suggest switching the titles "Arsenal Team News" and "West Brom Team News".
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16/08/2008 09:37:00

Just scoffed mi breakfast, off to get mi big game booze in a minute and gunna settle down with mi son to watch the seaon opener!!! Yeeeehhhhaaaa!!!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 11:09:00

no van persie today - they say a niggling injury - oh what a surprise!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:22:00

D4NNYT, RVP is available but he is on the bench to start with because of some minor injury. I think he might play a part in this game.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:27:00

Wth happened to RvP? We're starting with Ade-Bendtner?
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:27:00

If this amount of injury doesn't push Arsene to buy quickly, I don't know what to say...
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:29:00

Song's doing well for Cameroon as we speak btw, holding (a rather lacklustre) Brazil at bay at 0-0 after 76 mins... We miss him..
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:34:00

anybody plz got an online link stuck at wrk :(
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:39:00

We can't post those links here. But there's always google. ;)
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:49:00

YEAAAAA!!!! Goal for the Debut. NASRI!!!!!!!!!!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:52:00

Samir!!!! :D :D :D
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:53:00

What are they singing GK? We should have a new song for Samir!!!!
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 12:54:00

Im not sure what their singing but im so excited for Nasri! He will be a great goalscoring midfielder for us!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:55:00

Damn Friday night, I just woke up, turned it on and saw samir celebrating
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 12:56:00

Don't know why I'm so excited about him already. The way he plays, Samir looks very much an Arsenal player right from the start!
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 13:00:00

Great half of football for Arsenal. So proud of Nasri. Maybe we should of scored another one, but you can't really complain. Everybody is playing good.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:39:00

And by the way Song got eliminated from the Olympics this morning so he will be on his way back to London soon,
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:41:00

Richard Keyes: So Jamie, how do Arsenal strengthen their lead in the second half?

Jamie Redknapp: Well a second goal is crucial!!

What a pair of f***in' genius's. And they get paid for this!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:44:00

Haha it is pretty bad. I should apply for a pundit job. Surely I can do better than this lol
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:49:00

does anyone know what that little ritual from Samir was?
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:51:00

Robin van Persie is coming on. For who I wonder....
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 13:51:00

Does anyone else think Eboue is drifting into DM when we're forward to stop counter attacks? Or is it just my imagination?
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:05:00

stating the extremely obvious I know but, even when we seem comfortable, given our luck in recent years, we really need to put these kind of games to bed earlier
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:29:00

It's those moments of genius from Van Persie, shame it didn't go in and LOL Rocky, football pundits annoys me. I have never once seen them give liverpool flack on what they need to do to compete but with Arsenal they constantly write them off.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:33:00

Rob, Eboue IS the DM isn't he? He and Denilson are in the middle and Eboue's lying deeper and like you said trying to stop their attacks. To be fair he's not bad in the 2 games I've seen him in that position.
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 14:36:00

Rocky believe me I've heard a lot of worse commentary on the Asian channels. e.g. "It's a penalty. You only have 2 possibilities now: It's either in, or out." "You know what Gary Neville's 3 problems are? 1. He lacks pace, 2. he's not fast enough, 3. he's just slow." "Every team needs a set-piece specialist." Aren't these worse than "Well a second goal is crucial"?!
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 14:40:00

Yea Eboue was the DM for today. Did good in my opinion. Overall decent win. Good performance but the final product was a bit off today. But nevertheless 3 points is 3 points.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:41:00

ye i just realised, it's just that Nasri drifts in so much I got confused
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:42:00

yeah the commentry here in asia is sooooo FU#K ALL !!! rob that ritual was nasri praying( hes muslim..)
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:43:00

Hoyte has joined Boro. Its official now.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:54:00

I don't think they are worse Lou - Keyes asked how Arsenal should score more goals and Redknapp answer with to score more goals they need to score more goals!!! Eboue played really well today, really pleased with him and his onfield antics!! Well done Manu!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 14:56:00

And am I the only one fearing the possibility of Eboue = our new DM...?
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 15:37:00

eboue did well 2de but as usual his shooting was dreadful.....
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 15:46:00

our Henry replacement didn't score today. hope he is returning part of his weekly salary to the club.
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16/08/2008 16:29:00

"Is a trophy to finish 12th and win the Carling Cup? Not for me," "You see the quality of a team after 38 games". Heh.. Arsene still knows. Today was a good start. We may not have played particularly well but we still left with the 3 points. Hopefully we will see a few more results go this way when we are not playing well this season.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 17:27:00

Solid start, great to see Nas open his account instantly what a shot of confidence for him, looked an awesome prospect today like he's been with us forever, we did have to hang on a bit today and that massive Miller bloke gave me the fear!. Business as usual too with the losers from the lane, they got consumately outplayed and Modric, Bentley, Bent were invisible in the 2nd half. Perfect start to the season for us Gooners. COME ON THE ARSENAL!!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 17:34:00

Oh really Niko? I watched the 1st half of the Boro-Spurs game and fell asleep.. just got up and saw Torres's late goal... Hehe Bolton are at the top of the table now, who would have thought?! :D
Lou the Gunneress
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16/08/2008 19:24:00

Just thought I'd mention that Ade was audibly booed by a large section of the crowd after he didn't pass to Nasri when he should have in the 2nd half. I'm worried about Walcott..i had high hopes for him this season but he looked truly woeful today.
cesc la vie
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16/08/2008 19:31:00

Good result, and a few positives - Nasri's start being one of them. Denilson looked good again, and Eboue was pretty good in mid field (apart from his shooting). The back 4 dealt ok with the aerial threat, but better teams will make us pay with long ball tactics.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 19:54:00

Not at our best but a good start and it would've been terrible to have dropped points against Brom. The Clichy/Nasri combination down the left looks promising. Djourou did well too but wondering how he'd fare against top-class opposition. I know its been said before but I feel a fit van Persie is imperative for us this season.
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 20:43:00

ahh, business as usual, Spuds losing and us getting off to a good start, happy days!
Report Abuse
16/08/2008 21:33:00

Walcott was possibly tired, anyway I had no complaints for his performance it depends on how things are mid season. One thing though he has increased his physical strength as he doesn't get pushed off the ball so easily now.
Report Abuse
17/08/2008 00:19:00


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