Arsenal edge West Brom in opener
The Emirates Stadium
Saturday 16th August
The Baggies fourth season in the Premiership since 2002 started in a very similar vein to our first season back in the top-flight, with a one-nil defeat against one of the `big four`. The Albion looked star-struck for the first section of the match, and were duly punished by a very early goal from big-money summer import Samir Nasri. The Baggies rode their luck after conceding the early goal, but managed to keep the Londoners from adding to their tally, and as the match progressed we got stronger & stronger and managed to create a couple of chances, in the end being only a second half goal-line clearance away from an equalizer.
Mowbray handed debuts to summer recruits Carson, Meite and Cech and played Miller as a lone frontman with the effervescent Kim playing in the hole behind him. From the first whistle, the Arsenal team shorn of several first-team regulars cut the West Brom defense open at will and on 4 minutes Samir Nasri finished off a slick passing move, coolly slotting past Carson unmarked from 6 yards out. Five minutes later and Arsenal were having all of it, and it looked like we may have been on the end of a cricket score - however after surviving the opening barrage we visibly grew in confidence, and perhaps more importantly, we stuck to our guns and our own passing game that made us such a treat to watch last season.
Emmanuel Adebayor was particularly profligate in the early exchanges, but Leon Barnett rose to the challenge and begun to stamp out the sniffs that the Togolese front man was getting. Bendtner, Sagna and even a thumped William Gallas 30-yarder put a lot of pressure on the Baggies, but Scott Carson impressed with his shot-stopping and reading of the match, and could not be faulted for the early goal.
In the second half we even enjoyed several spells on top, and came out all guns blazing, Miller forcing a good save from Almunia and Paul Robison followed up with a crisp drive that was somewhat fortuitously scrambled away by Johan Djorou. Adebayor could, and should, have put the match beyond us when he sent his shot wide when clean through late on, however the scoreline in no way flattered us and on a different day we could have easily left North London with a point.
Scott Carson 7/10
Carl Hoefkens 5/10
Leon Barnett 8/10
Abdoulaye Meite 6/10
Paul Robinson 7/10
Chris Brunt 5/10
James Morrison 6/10
Jonathan Greening 7/10
Kim Do-Heon 8/10
Marek Cech 5/10
Ishmael Miller 6/10
Sherjill MacDonald 5/10
Roman Bednar 7/10
Craig Beattie N/A
Kim impressed in the support role but we looked more threatening with a second striker playing a more traditional 4-4-2. In his first ever match as a Premier League manager, defeat by the solitary goal away at Arsenal is not bad at all.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere, Randall
West Brom (4-4-1-1)
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Dorrans, Pele, Martis
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