If you watched the Arsenal against West Bromwich Albion game on Saturday, you would have sworn that the team playing in navy blue and white stripes was Arsenal and that the team in red and white were the Baggies.
The Albion played a beautiful passing the game and featured far more creativity than Arsenal. Chris Brunt and Jerome Thomas were central characters in many of Albion’s moves. And Peter Odemwingie again showed how clinical he is in front of goal. The Nigerian has to be one of the buys of the season thus far. To me, he reminded me a lot of another Arsenal comparison, Theo Walcott.
Arsenal were lucky not be losing 4-0 at home in this game. They were fortunate that the penalty that Brunt took wasn’t more clinical. And the final scoreline of 2-3 to West Brom really wasn’t an accurate reflection of the entire 90 minutes. A 2-4 scoreline to the Baggies would have been far more accurate.
Even Arsenal’s attempts at goal on Saturday looked scrappy. It was West Brom who were more creative in front of goal, while Arsenal (except for the Arshavin attempts that twice the hit the post) seemed to only create half chances. The only exception was Samir Nasri who seems to be a one-man Arsenal team right now. Take him out and Arsenal begin to look quite poor at times.
Last but not least, Manuel Almunia again showed how much of a liability he is for the Gunners. He saved a penalty but he was guilty of two horrible mistakes in the game that led to West Brom scoring. Without those mistakes, it would have been a much closer match. Watching Almunia, I pictured Shay Given and wondered what Given would do in those same circumstances. Not surprisingly, I pictured Given not making any of those mistakes.
Congratulations Roberto Di Matteo West Bromwich Albion on a performance that shows that newly-promoted sides can play football the right way to stay in the Premier League.