The talking points to come out of the game at the Emirates will have been the two penalties awarded to Arsenal. The Gunners got a much needed win but West Bromwich Albion were on the end of a harsh defeat.
Two controversial decisions meant the Baggies left the Emirates empty handed. It just wasn’t Albion’s day and they found themselves on the wrong end of two key decisions. Three straight defeats for West Brom and they will want to get back to winning ways pretty quick.
The Baggies have made a great start to the season and they were always going to have a blip at some point. Every team have a period where they will struggle to get results. Despite three straight defeats, West Brom will bounce back and they will start winning games again.
Up until Arsenal were awarded their first penalty, Albion were defending well and the Gunners weren’t causing any real problems. It is fair to say Arsenal were handed an early Christmas present when Steven Reid was alleged to have brought down Santi Cazorla.
Replays clearly showed us that the Spaniard took a dive and referee Mike Jones fell for it. Cazorla is a quality footballer but what he did on Saturday was an absolute disgrace and the Spaniard went down way too easily.
Something needs to be done to punish players who dive. Perhaps an immediate five match ban.
Arsenal’s first penalty without question changed the game. But that wasn’t the only controversial moment.
Arsene Wenger’s side were given another penalty this time in the second half. Chris Brunt was penalised for a foul on England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and it was a penalty. However in the build-up that led to the second penalty, Goran Popov was pushed by the former Southampton player and Albion should have been awarded a free-kick.
But it wasn’t to be and Mikel Arteta dispatched the second penalty. There was no coming back for West Brom.
Steve Clarke and the players have every right to be aggrieved with the way Mike Jones officiated the game. Jones if he hasn’t already looked back at the game will realise he made two big mistakes. And those mistakes proved costly for the Baggies.
Being a referee is a tough job don’t get me wrong and I wouldn’t like to officiate a game. Referees will make mistakes but these mistakes are occurring too often and we need to see consistency. Although goal-line technology will be coming, why can’t football embrace technology?
If cricket, rugby and tennis have been able to benefit from using technology, why can’t football use it? Why can’t the referee ask the fourth official to view video replays to assess major incidents? It might take time to look at a replay but by viewing replays you would end up making more correct decisions than wrong ones.
West Brom have two massive home fixtures coming up and winning those games will edge the Baggies closer to the 40 point mark. However they won’t be easy games.
West Ham have performed exceptionally well this season and for me they have exceeded expectations. Their second half display against Chelsea was terrific and Sam Allardyce deserves credit for the way his side have played this season. Allardyce always has a habit of keeping sides up and I still can’t understand why Blackburn got rid of him. Blackburn’s loss and West Ham’s gain.
In Kevin Nolan, the Hammers have an excellent leader. However losing Mohamed Diame for up to 12 weeks is a huge blow.
Albion will be in for a tough game against West Ham but the Upton Park outfit will also know they will be in for a tough encounter at The Hawthorns. It will be a close game but I can see the Baggies just about coming on top in this game.
The last time these sides met at The Hawthorns, the game ended 3-3 with West Brom having been 3-0 up at half-time. If that game is anything to go by, we are in for a cracker.
Norwich City will be up next for the Baggies after West Ham. The Canaries are on a roll with their latest victory coming against Swansea at the Liberty.
I did fear for City when they lost 5-0 against Fulham and were beaten 5-2 at home by Liverpool. However Chris Hughton has turned things round and Norwich are playing some great stuff at the moment.
Grant Holt seems to be getting back to his best, Sebastian Bassong is chipping in with vital goals and Norwich City will definitely provide a stern test for Albion. Norwich may not have world class players but they are a team that have plenty of spirit and have players who can cause plenty of problems. Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson and Wes Hoolahan are some names that spring to mind.
Now is not the time for Albion fans to panic. Now is the time to get behind the players and be the 12th man in these next two home games and for the remainder of the season. There are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic and things will look a lot better if Albion can win their next two fixtures. The next seven/eight games will determine where West Brom are going into the second half of the season as Steve Clarke rightly said on Saturday after the game against Arsenal.
The Baggies have winnable fixtures coming up and I am confident Albion will get back to winning ways ASAP starting against West Ham. Keep the faith and lets get behind the West Brom players.