Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Nigel Winterburn and Goodplaya.
NIGEL WINTERBURN, CO-COMMENTATOR
I thought Arsenal deserved to win the game, particularly in the first half. Arsenal were really the only team looking to go forward. I thought at times it was still too slow, you could see that Arsenal were lacking a little bit of confidence. People will look back to the penalty incident with Cazorla - it wasn't a penalty in my opinion - but the referee gave it. Even for the second goal, West Brom fans think that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fouled their player in the build-up. It doesn't matter because the referee is there to make the decisions and overall I thought that Arsenal deserved it. At 2-0 it was comfortable because they had three or four other chances that they could have scored as well.
West Brom were going really well. They’ve had a couple of losses recently themselves though. I think for Arsenal, it’s a crucial game. They need to get back to winning ways, particularly at home. They need to make the Emirates a place where teams are going to come and be fearful that an Arsenal team in full flow is really going to put them to the sword. It’s been a really difficult period but you find out a lot about the players when things aren’t going well. It will be a good test for them.
When you’re at home, you want to get a good rhythm to your play and score that early goal if you can, but also disrupt the rhythm of the opposition and try and push them back. When you’ve not been in good form, it becomes crucial to get the crowd with you straight away. The only way to do that is by taking the game to the opposition.
You can lose confidence very quickly as a player. You always hear managers talking about teams needing to bounce back quickly when they lose a game. They don’t want to get in a rut of losing two or three on the trot. When your confidence is affected, I think you’re not as switched on mentally as when things are going well. You start to over-think and football is a natural game. The thought process slows down when you’re not confident. A couple of good results can change that very quickly..
I thought we'd win and we did. We couldn't be as bad as we were against Swansea and West Brom are dipping after a great run of form. The game's major talking point was Cazorla's tumble for the penalty but even without it, we were clearly the better team. Our finishing was wayward, which was concerning, but Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's contributions made for a far better midfield performance than a week earlier. That we're in the hardly disastrous position of being two points off fourth is less a testament to what we have achieved than the failings of our opponents. Everton (who are currently fourth) will knock up just 62 points come the end of the season at the current rate - something like six to eight points below the normal points tally for fourth.
You'd be hard pressed to put any kind of positive spin on last week's defeat to Swansea. We lost and deservedly so. On paper West Brom appears a similar game - at home to a side promoted in the not-too-distant past who are enjoying a great season. However I think we will win. West Brom are doing brilliantly but have actually lost their last two games, while it is hard to believe we will be as poor as we were last week. The absence of Podolski and Walcott is interesting. Presumably Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain will start, all of which poses a few interesting questions as to who will be on the bench. What chance Arshavin or Chamakh end up making a significant contribution?
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd
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