A Fan's View: Albion 2 Arsenal 3
By Site Editor
Updated Tuesday, 15th May 2012
Boinger219 gives his verdict on Albion's defeat
We had nothing to lose coming into this game and playing a side third in the table meant it wouldn’t be easy but we had faith. We donned the England gear for Roy and were ready to say goodbye to him and possibly other players; a sad day for many a baggie had come about. I don’t normally buy a programme for a home game but I felt the need to just to read Roy’s final notes. What a success he has been.
We started with Morrison and Cox in the middle with Fortune and Long up front but the big change was at the back. Foster had a groin injury and Fulop was in. Not too much of a problem we thought, just upsetting we couldn’t say bye to Ben if the worst happens. Arsenal’s Van Persie was aiming for 31 goals: a record for Arsenal; while we were chasing an 11th clean sheet in a season, a record for us.
The game started and it was pretty even. Our fans were in loud voice and then the debutant Fulop made himself known to us. With his contract up at the end of the season, he certainly made an impression on us when Jones shielded a ball back to the former Man City loanee. He was just outside his box, instead of back tracking or putting his foot through it he turned his back to the ball, let it run through his legs and tried to jump on it. Slight issue, Benayoun decided that he would get there first and tap into an empty net.
We still had faith and showed desire and creativity. We looked good with Shane Long making nice little runs in behind the back line, although nothing of note really came, and was good seeing Cox and Jones show good attacking outlet during the game.
We found the leveler through, Shane Long who found too much space and stayed composed when he was 1 on 1 with the ‘keeper. I’ve seen those hit into the ‘Keeper’s mid rift or into row Z – remember Odemwingie vs Fulham? Not Long though, 18 yards out and he slots home showing his Euro 2012 pedigree.
We pushed on, had a good amount of the ball, passed it around, won corners and showed ability, but we just couldn’t find that killer pass. Their back four looked very weak and venerable, ours wasn’t too good mind. Jones’ and Ridgewell’s positioning left a lot to be desired.
We took the lead through Graham Dorrans: a great first touch with his head into space and a volley into the bottom corner. What a great hit it was and we looked a creative side, Arsenal looked frustrated and rattled, Wenger getting animated along with players who were under performing.
Arsenal’s second shot of the game came when Mulumbu lost the ball and Andre Santos had a powerful drive from range go to Fulop’ near post. He got a hand to it but it only helped the ball find the inside of the post and nestle in the back of the net. I blame Mulumbu more for losing the ball, I think Fulop got a good hand to it, it was just too powerful but I could be seen as being charitable.
Walcott came on after the break. I think Wenger realised that Gervinho was a trouble maker with his pace in the first half so bought him on. Arsenal went for it more, they had to get third place with Spurs winning and were committing men forward.
Arsenal won a dubious corner, Fulop came to meet it despite Olsson seemingly the one to get it. Fulop went to punch it back where it came from, it failed arrowing back towards goal and fell to Laurent Koscelny to tap home. A death stare from Olsson and a livid looking Dorrans won’t make for happy viewing.
We then tried to push, attack, got the ball a little more, put corners in the box Olsson did well but clearances off the line denied us the equaliser.
Andrews had a great shot on the turn saved, in all honesty it was a good height and not away from the ‘keeper, but it was decent and showed intent.
Jones also had a late attempt stopped by a last ditch diving challenge by Keiron Gibbs, very good block tackle after a nice move, shame he couldn’t pull the trigger first time.
Odemwingie was then ruled off for a debatable offside call, I thought Jones was but he wasn’t, play on and he is clear through on goal, annoying to see calls like that go against you.
The full time whistle went and the baggies were still proud and boinging as we took a look back at Roy and his time here. From drawing with Wolves and Stoke to beating them both, the progression we have made in just 15 months is fantastic. His lap of honour was a great sight and to see Foster pick up player of the season sums up his effort this season.
We finished 10th, rather happy, I honestly can only see positives. We have shown anyone out there we have a creative spark that Morssion, Cox and Dorrans really worked, not to mention Fortune’s strength and Long’s movement and ability.
It’s always sad to see someone like Roy leave: a top man who has done a lot with a little. He has laid the foundations for us to improve and move on now, we can build. Players like Scharner are leaving us due to lack of game time, shame as we love the bloke, but it shows how far we have come. Also, a quick mention to Dave Mathews, thank you for all your work at the club.
The summer will be interesting for us, development, progression and direction will be shown, where do the board see us? The appointment of a new manager should tell us a lot.
I wish you all a happy and healthy summer, and will see you in three months back down The Hawthorns to watch Premier League football once again. Thanks baggie boys you have done me proud. Very proud.
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