Arsenal face a trip to West Bromwich Albion this Saturday in the Premier League. A disappointing previous three weeks has just ended with the news that Jens Lehmann set for a deal until the end of the season.
I wonder if Wenger will appoint Lehmann with his old job of collecting player fines, such as for mobile phones ringing and lateness. I was told he had a few heated confrontations making people pay up, once with Freddie Ljungberg. I think having a player around young players who are learning, (probably old enough to be a father figure to many of them) is a great thing. Other than this he brings his ferocious winning attitude and hunger to challenge others to compete at their highest level. In summary I believe that Lehmann will inherit a fatherly mentor figure and be encouraged to push youngsters to be at their best more consistently.
Another player coming back into the fold, along with Lehmann, is the ever popular Welshman Aaron Ramsey. A keen, talented, junior cross country runner that has lost a year of his career; Ramsey could forge Arsenal’s version of Xavi-Iniesta with Jack Wilshere. He looks stronger but not quite match-fit. I suspect he will put great pressure on some of his under-performing midfield colleagues to raise their game.
I hope Ramsey and Wilshere play in front of Diaby. The dodgy Denilson, although competitive at stages against Manchester United, appears to lack the engine for games that hit you quickly on counter attack. James Morrison will need to be shut down rapidly on the edge of the box from shooting.
The Albion game will be an opportunity for Arsenal to go into the international break with a win under their belts if we can see of Albion. I’ve no doubt the players must be looking forward to a few days away from London Colney after our recent poor form. This is in fact a well timed break as the likes of Fabregas and Walcott should return in time for Blackburn at home on April 2nd.
As the league is Arsenal’s sole focus from now to the end of the season I would expect, perhaps after a nervous start, for us to see a strong win.
The key player for Albion is Arsenal academy product Jerome Thomas a tricky skillful left winger. If I were manager of Albion, I’d play him on the right wing since a rested Clichy in a counter-attacking Arsenal could do very well against the slower Chris Brunt. Thomas would be able to pin back Clichy, though he’ll instead try to do the same against Sagna.
Albion’s early season form has diminished and they do not like the side that shocked Arsenal at home, incredibly going 3-0 up. Furthermore, Arsenal have usually been strong under Wenger when he’s had a week with players before a game and they should be too good.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Arsenal.
By ‘Red Detective’, follow me on Twitter @Detective82
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