WBA 0-2 Arsenal
Odd sort of game, that. We were below our best, and yet I still got the feeling that we could have misplaced passes all night and still not conceded a goal.
I do feel some sympathy for the approach Robson took to the game, even if it made the spectacle a slogging match. For long periods, we were trying to ping passes through the eye of a needle. Not easy.
The trouble is, playing one man up front was never going to trouble us, and holding on for a 0-0 is a risky strategy – as it proved. A glorious strike from Percy broke the deadlock, and the game was effectively over then. For some reason – I think it goes back to me having a completed WBA side in the Football ’80 Panini sticker book – I’ve always had a soft spot for the Baggies, but I think it’s all over for them now. Against all the odds, and everyone’s better judgement, Robson has turned them round. Sadly for them, I think it’s too late now.
They’re welcome to prove me wrong of course, starting on Saturday at OT. If they could somehow grab three points there (you at the back, stop sniggering), we’d only need two points from nine to claim second.
For us, man of the match Phil Senderos’s remarkable record carries on – ten straight games, no goals conceded – and it speaks volumes for his progress that nobody’s anxious about whether Sol Campbell will play again soon. If Wenger intends to pick Campbell for the cup final, the man’s going to need a game soon – but can you upset the applecart by dropping Toure or Senderos? Tricky one.
Mathematically speaking, we could now probably afford two draws from our last three games (assuming the third is a win), or two wins and a defeat. As we have a superior goal difference to Man U (ten), ending up on equal points might well be sufficient.
None of the three remaining games are easy ones, it must be said, especially our two home games. With both Everton and Liverpool scrapping for their lives to make fourth, there’s every motivation for them to get maximum points from the game.
Keeps it interesting though!