By Giuseppe Muro
West Brom recorded a famous 3-2 victory at Emirates Stadium earlier this season but, since then, Roy Hodgson has replaced Roberto di Matteo as manager.
So what are the chances of another Baggies’ upset on Saturday? We spoke to Steve Madeley of the Express and Star to get an opposition view on the weekend’s crucial Premier League meeting.
They have become more organised under Roy Hodgson. They are not as open or expansive. They haven’t gone long ball but they don’t take as many risks. It probably doesn’t make them as good to watch but they are still far from ugly to watch. They are just more organised and more difficult to break down.
THE MAN IN CHARGE
The vast majority of fans have been pleased with Hodgson. There were mixed feelings when Roberto di Matteo was sacked and the majority probably thought it was a bit premature. The fact the club got Hodgson has soothed that a little bit and the fans are generally very pleased.
Carlos Vela can’t play on Saturday, for obvious reasons, but he has scored two vital goals already and there are signs that he might develop into a key player in the last few games. He hasn’t actually played all that much and has only made one start. There are signs that he is settling in and he seems to be popular among the players. I’m not sure he will start too many games, just because of the nature of fixtures Albion have got. It’s either big clubs at home or away games, which probably aren’t the games for him to start in. The system they play, which is a 4-5-1, means it’s hard for them to fit him in. As a substitute, he will probably figure in most games and get 25 to 30 minutes most weeks I would think.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
On their day, Arsenal will break most sides down. The previous Albion would probably turn it into an open game and there would have been chances at both ends. But I wouldn’t expect that this weekend. Arsenal will have to work to break them down.
BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL
It’s going to be tough. Their next three home games are Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. The more winnable games, in theory, are the away games they have got left. But winning away in the Premier League is always a problem for clubs of Albion’s size. The fact that so many teams are down there and so many teams are on bad runs gives them a chance.
THE STORY SO FAR
There was a sequence of games that really harmed them recently. They played three of their relegation rivals, in Wigan, West Ham and Wolves, and they didn’t manage to win any of them. Especially the West Ham game, when they were 3-0 up at half time, that really killed them.