After the win against Lincoln in the FA Cup the previous weekend, it was time for Premier League football once again and the battle for a top four place is very much a reality for us now!
It is probably the toughest test for us yet to finish in the Champions League places with all the top teams performing and we are really struggling for form. This isn’t helped by the constant pressure on the manager, a lot of media speculation and fan protests. It’s just a bit of a mess at the moment.
West Brom would be tough opponents as they have done very well in the league this season (currently 8th) and manager Tony Pulis has a good record against Arsenal and Wenger.
The game was another chance for the Wenger out fans to show their anger as a plane flew over the stadium before the game saying ‘No contract #WengerOut’. Once again I disagree with this as it is disrespectful but you can’t stop fans from expressing their opinions (no matter how wrong they are).
Before I start talking about the game, in the words of Wenger, ‘I did not see it’ as I was at an anti Trump March in London but I kept up to date on my phone and saw MOTD. So the game kicked off and I was glad I wasn’t watching it as West Brom got an early goal. It was just after 10 minutes and it came from a corner as Dawson headed it in.
Before the game we surely must have known that West Brom’s main strength is from set pieces but we couldn’t cope with it and it was poor defending from us.
It was after this goal when a second banner flew over the ground saying ‘In Arsene We Trust #RespectAW’, which I thought was very funny. It’s nice to see he still has some support but it is clear that there is a massive divide in the fans as well.
The banner might have helped us though as soon after Xhaka found Alexis Sanchez who brilliantly smashed in the equaliser. Where would we actually be without Sanchez? Will he stay if we don’t finish in the top four?
West Brom then had a few chances to take the lead again but we managed to hold on. Ramsey also had a shot well saved from Foster and then Cech made a good save before having to come off injured and be replaced by Ospina. Typical Arsenal!
The first half ended 1-1 and we needed to come out much stronger in the second against a solid West Brom side. Meanwhile I was writing Wenger Out and Wenger In on a sign whilst protesting!
The second half proved to be much harder as West Brom came out fighting. Striker Rondon missed a good chance before being replaced by Robson-Kanu due to injury. The later however made an instant impact (75 seconds) as he poked home their second goal after bad defending from us once again. It’s simply not good enough and we desperately need to improve.
We struggled to create anything for a while before Welbeck, (making only his second start of the season) hit the bar from Xhaka’s corner. How we needed that to go in!
It was then all West Brom as Ospina had to keep us in the game before they eventually got their third goal which meant it was game over. It came from a corner once again and it was headed in by Dawson once again. Nice to see we learn from our mistakes.
But seriously the defending was awful and I have seen better marking at lower levels. The players should be ashamed of themselves after watching it again! It was Ramsey and Chamberlain that should have picked him up but everyone should take the blame really.
Wenger then substituted Sanchez off as he looked injured and apparently he was injured at half time but typically wanted to carry on. Would he have done any better had he not been injured?
So we lost our best player and managed only 2 shots on target for the whole game which just isn’t good enough. The fans only got more angry and vented their frustration on Wenger even more.
So a 3-1 defeat to a side we are better than and should really be beating but our confidence and form are poor at the moment. We are now in 6th position and 6 points off the top four with 2 games in hand. We have to win those games though and hope other teams drop points as well.
We are in trouble but hopefully we can pick up some points and maybe salvage something from this long frustrating season which has seen Wenger at his most vulnerable. It is embarrassing now and we have lost too many games without performing. Many fans have had enough and the players and results aren’t making it any better! The question is has Wenger had enough?
Since the result Wenger has come out and said he is really thinking about his future and a decision will be made soon. It is definitely the worst it has ever been under Wenger and something needs to change. Who knows what will happen as some rumours are saying he will sign a new one or two year contact and others are saying he will end at the end of the season. What will happen and what will the response be?
Fortunately we have some time to recover as it is International week but after that we face Man City at home which will be huge. I will hopefully be there as we will be on our Easter break at university.
Can we finish in the top four? What will Wenger do? What is the future for the club?