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Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League Match Preview
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller
It’s very hard to be optimistic about Arsenal these days. It is neither in fashion to have hope nor say anything remotely near positivity when speaking of the club.
There isn’t much to write about tomorrow’s match except that the club need to have a caged animal mentality when they take the pitch. A lacksidasical, laid back approach won’t cut it. These are professionals and I for one have faith they will respond.
And that is the tenor and theme I wish to carry forward into today’s match preview – which I am co-opting for a little hope and faith in this team.
These are dark times to be sure. The worst start to any league campaign in 18 years. The worst start under Wenger ever. Yet, I will not wane in my belief in the club when it comes to match day.
Being a club supporter is bit like being a masochist. Your support is there even though you get beaten an downtrodden. Your fellow supporters may ridicule you. Your board has no time for you and your players and manager seem to have pissed off without any fight. But you still support.
Being a supporter is a selective thing. The saying goes, there are two things you can’t change, your parents and your team. If you support a team it means support unconditionally even when the world is turned upside down.
I read with befuddled amusement that people can’t be arsed to watch their team. Or that they are questioning their support of the team. You know what? I’ve got no time for that. I know it’s a cliché but I bleed for my club. This is my club and it pains me to see it in such shape. But it’s my club and when it comes to the game, I will support non-stop.
When things go afoul, I will criticize but I criticize not because I hate, but because I want improvement. But even though I criticize on match day I come back and cheer my team on. I will die with each mistake and rant at the stupid things.
No, I am not a local Gooner. I know the family traditions of Gooners that have been passed down along the ages may seem like they have more invested because they’ve been there since they were born. But I will argue that the minute you decide to support a team – that’s your team and you invest your heart and soul into – regardless of where you are from.
Each week, game after game, I watch. I frantically look for feeds for the littlest match we have. My office is bedecked with Arsenal memorabilia because I made the decision to make this the team I will support above all others. I may have mistresses but Arsenal is my first love.
I get defensive when I hear or read negativity in the press. And while I will always try and remain objective in my blog, I am anything but objective.
We’ve got problems. We all know that. But tomorrow when the club takes the pitch for 90 minutes I will forget about those problems. I will watch my team play and pray with every fiber that they turn it around.
There is no reason they can’t. The distance between them and the top 4 isn’t gigantic. At one point last season it was 13 points between us and Tottenham. We all know how that turned out. Arsenal I believe are capable of going on a run and others are capable of having a down turn (just ask tomorrow’s opponent)
But to me the optimism of each match (twinged with a slight smattering of fear) is why it’s great to be a supporter. I know there are realities to face and the good thing is we are having a healthy dialogue (really loved the chatter on the Wenger piece). But it’s game time and it’s a time I put aside any of my concerns and just focus on what happens for that 90 plus minutes.
Injuries and Suspensions:
Arsenal: Walcott (calf), Podolski (hamstring), Sagna (ankle), Koscielny (hip), Santos (abdomen), Diaby (thigh), Fabianski (ankle)
WBA: Foster (groin) Jones (illness)
Arsenal: Podolski 4, Cazorla 4, Walcott 4,Giroud 4
WBA: Long 5, Lukaku 5
Arsenal: Walcott 4
WBA: Long 4
Last Meeting (EPL):
Arsenal (home): 2.3
WBA (away): 1.4
Arsenal (home): 1.4
WBA: (away): 1.9
Referee: Mike Jones (Matches 10, R1 Y37)
US: Foxsoccer.tv 1000 AM EST
UK: ????? 1500 GMT