Terry Wills on a memorable win for the Albion.
What a game, what an atmosphere and, most importantly, what a result, against one of the country’s finest teams. Albion’s wins in Hawthorns clashes against Arsenal are as rare as experiencing snowfall on a midsummer day but this was one such occasion and despite being under intense late pressure the Baggies held on to notch three valuable unexpected points.
In footballing terms the Gunners were on a different level. Tremendous vision and passing skills led by Alexis Sanchez, and taking the lead via a badly defended free kick I feared the worst. James Morrison equalised and when this was followed by an own goal Arsenal fans were struck dumb while Baggies supporters could barely believe the evidence of their own eyes. I know I couldn’t.
What Arsenal did lack was the 100% commitment and application portrayed by Tony Pulis’ organised, disciplined side. They harried, chased and refused to
concede an inch of space. Organised, disciplined and for once having the rub of the green compared to debatable decisions in many early Hawthorns games, the body language spoke volumes.
Every player deserved credit.and despite his constant baiting from rival fans James McClean is becoming a valuable asset. Never stops running whether attacking or defending, it’s easy to see why he’s first choice and not Callum McManaman. Salamon Rondon held the ball up well , Stephane Sessegnon was a constant threat who was clearly disappointed when substituted. Jonny Evans and Jonas Olsson together with the rest of the side coped so well that Boaz Myhill barely had a genuine shot to save. Numerous scrambles and potential dangerous situations but that was it.
So, a win against one of the leading teams and next up a visit to confront the Hammers in a Sunday afternoon televised joust. Will the Upton Park faithful be joyfully singing “I ‘, forever blowing Bubbles” or can the Baggies cause another upset by blowing them away?
No predictions but again I’d be grateful to see Baggies supporters returning with a share of the spoils.
Ending on a sad note the victory against Arsenal was put into perspective. Just before the final whistle an East Stand devotee collapsed following a heart attack. Frantic attempts were made to help him but after being rushed intohHospital he passed away. Farewell fellow Baggie. To all of all your relatives, friends and acquaintances please accept mine and everyone’s deepest sympathy.