Following Arsenal’s 1-0 win over West Brom on Boxing Day, Arsene Wenger explained why playing the Baggies off the back of two losses wasn’t exactly an ideal tie.
West Brom are known for their… deep… defending style, which has proven pretty effective against the Gunners. Again, this was demonstrated on Boxing Day when only one of Arsenal’s 26 shots (11 on target) compared with West Brom’s three (one on target) found the net. And even this wasn’t until the 86th minute.
Speaking after the match, the boss admitted that playing a team like West Brom when you’re trying to ‘bounce back’ isn’t the easiest task in the world but the three points were vital.
“Of course it was vital,” Wenger said.
“But you’re under pressure before the game. It’s exactly the tie you don’t want, West Brom. You’re under pressure, you know they defend deep, they are well-organised, they are resilient – we are super-favourites. And you can just have a big problem if you don’t win the game because mentally of course, if you don’t win for three games, it’s always difficult.
“Although I think we lost two games under very special circumstances.”
With 76% possession and the lion’s share of shots, Arsenal dominated the game and did deserve the win and although West Brom didn’t make it simple, at least that’s a victory after two 2-1 losses against Everton and Manchester City.
Another win against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day is exactly what the team need.