Well it certainly wasn’t pretty, the game ended in a hard thought draw that could have swung either way. Teams will not always allow Arsenal to play their beautiful football such as was exhibited on Tuesday night against Napoli. I am sure West Brom did their homework based on that display and set out to disrupt all the good points of the Gunners game.
You have to say their game plan worked as the fluency we have witnessed recently was substituted for a more laborious ground out performance. Many Arsenal fans will have felt disappointment when the final whistle was blown though when you put things into perspective this is exactly the kind of game the team would have lost in previous season’s after going a goal down.
For all the pretty football played there is still a resilience in the team to not give up, they kept plugging away at the West Brom defence and were eventually rewarded with an equaliser. On paper a draw at the Hawthorns isn’t ideal however the West Brom team are a team with sky high confidence at present. Their victory over Manchester United last weekend was no fluke; it was a fully deserved victory over last season’s champion’s which ultimately made for a difficult afternoon for the Gunners.
The Capital One cup tie two weeks ago held little relevance in predicting the outcome of the yesterdays game, the squads were different but for a few names. Usually when the Arsenal are at the Hawthorns there is usually the added focus of catching and passing Tottenham in the final stages of the season. Not so this time around however the prospect of returning to the top of the table was enough to motivate the players.The game itself centred on the two sides of jack Wilshere; in the first half he just could not get his game together. He seemed to spend more time on the deck than on his feet as the referee Lee Mason decided to leave his whistle in his pocket for the more physical challenges in the game. More often than not Jack was muscled off the ball and at the times when he did have the ball his passes were not finding the man or his studs were letting him down as he slipped several times.
It would be deemed quite generous to describe his first half performance as well…. rubbish; he even managed to cap it off with a booking. Clearly he is still adjusting to his role attacking on the left hand side despite being lauded for that position earlier in the week by Arsene Wenger. Add to that his reputation for being wound up the West Brom players focused on distracting him enough to put him off his game. The attention on the young England midfielder had already intensified due to the smoking story revealed at the weekend ensuring his name would be part of the headlines in some capacity.
Fortunately for Jack his performance in the second half was drastically improved, drifting into the middle at times he was able to contribute more to his team rather than being the weak link. Although far from perfect his equalising goal helped erase some of the negative demons from the previous sixty or so minutes of the game.
After the game Arsene said of Jack’s goal scoring:
“At least that is done now but he had a difficult first half where he was fouled a lot but he has shown that he has character and kept going until the end. It’s good that he was rewarded.”
A fair enough comment, it seems Wilshere has fallen out of favour slightly with some fans, not to say that they want him out of the club but more in assessment of his right of a place in the starting eleven when all players are fit. Given the acquisition of Mesut Ozil and the goal scoring exploits of Aaron Ramsey the attributes that Wilshere brings to the side have been overshadowed lately. He has the backing and the patience of his manager to get his game back on track and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is firing on all cylinders; the second half yesterday could just be the start of the return to form.
The international break looms and Arsenal sit proudly at the top of the table for the duration of it. If Liverpool fans are unhappy with that then they should consider renaming their club.
Enjoy your day people.
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