Under Tony Mowbray Albion travelled to the Emirates with the Baggies manager more interested in drooling at the play of the opposition than watching his team pick up points. It is all different now that Roberto Di Matteo is at the helm. Robbie wants to win and he doesn’t care who the opposition is or how they play he just wants his team to be competitive and bag the points.
Albion will travel to the Emirates in good spirits after defeating local rivals Birmingham City last Saturday with the second string team following that win by defeating the Millionaires of Man City in the League Cup in mid week.
The prospect of facing Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will be a step up from either Birmingham or Man City though. Let’s hope that they are able to up their game.
Di Matteo’s thoughts
‘We are in a good moment and we would like to continue this momentum.
‘I’m very pleased with the way the team has been performing.
‘It was great to see the other players get an opportunity to play on Wednesday night.
‘They responded very well and that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
‘It’s only good for the club and the team.
‘We’ve had three home games and we’ve done considerably well in those games.
‘But we know to be able to win games away from home we will have to improve and try not to gift the opposition easy goals.’
Robbie knows Arsenal will be tough:
‘They play some fantastically, exciting football and, if you catch them on the wrong day, whatever you do might not be good enough,’ he said.
‘I love the way Arsene Wenger approaches the game – he is a great manager.
‘I like very much the way he conducts himself and his teams.
‘We will try to find a strategy to give us the best possible options to get something out of this game.
‘I wouldn’t say we can be more relaxed going into this game because of the points we’ve gained.
‘I don’t think we’ll be favourites tomorrow afternoon!
‘A lot of people will expect us not to get anything out of it.
‘But football is a beautiful game because it is so unpredictable.’
Arsenal Team News:
Arsene Wenger’s side will be without Cesc Fabregas due to a hamstring injury.
Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), Kieran Gibbs (foot), Nicklas Bendtner (groin), Aaron Ramsey (leg), Theo Walcott (ankle) and Robin van Persie (ankle) are all sidelined.
Abou Diaby (ankle) also remains a doubt and Tomas Rosicky (ankle) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) face late fitness tests.
Player to watch: Marouane Chamakh
Chamakh has made a solid if unspectacular start to his Arsenal career since his move from Bordeaux and he will surely see a game against a new promoted side as one where he can make his mark.
West Brom Team News:
James Morrison will return to the squad following his suspension but Gabriel Tamas and Jerome Thomas are doubtful with calf and groin injuries respectively.
Player to watch: Graham Dorrans
Dorrans has shown signs of getting back to top form in the last couple of games and the Emirates is the perfect stage to announce his arrival in the Premier League.
Match Facts & Stats
Albion have played Arsenal 61 times away from home and won 11 times drawn 14 times and lost 36 times, scoring 70 goals and letting in 129
Bolton at home on 2 October