West Brom preview + Sunday round-up

A very quick preview for you this morning from a London hotel in which the noisiest children of all time decided it would be fun to sing and shout and leap and scamper and squeal and, ultimately, cry, at around 6.30am.

It’s fun to hear their laughter, it lights up a room. Or, to put it another way, it makes you want to throw them out a window. Still, no point being too down on a day when we’re playing the least pressurised game of football of the season.

Everton were beaten by Man City yesterday which means that a top four finish is absolutely assured. Before this one, Arsene Wenger talked about having to continue the push to get over that line, but Man City have done the dirty work for us.

It means we can enjoy today without the added stress of having to get something from the game. I still think we’ll go out to win in what’s the final home game of the season, but it just means the final two fixtures leading up to the FA Cup final are as relaxing as we’d like them to be, and gives the boss a chance to rest players ensuring they’re as sharp as possible for Wembley.

I said this week that I thought today’s team selection would be informed by what happened at Goodison Park, and it wouldn’t surprise me today to a few unforced changes in the line-up. Not too many, but you might think that Sanogo could start, Jenkinson too perhaps, with some rotation in midfield, and maybe even Vermaelen starting at the back.

West Brom are not 100% safe yet but even if they lose today, and Norwich fail to beat Chelsea, they should be safe. I don’t think we should take anything for granted, but a win in the final home league game would help us improve our points total (if not our position) for this season.

Fingers crossed we can do that and playing with a certain amount of freedom will bring about a decent performance.

Elsewhere, there’s a good interview in the Guardian with Aaron Ramsey, well worth a read. Check it out here. He talks about the importance of Arsene Wenger’s belief in him, even when things were going badly:

Even when I was injured he gave me a new contract. Through the criticism he played me. He’s always believed in me and I can’t thank him enough for that. I owe a lot to him and hopefully I’ve delivered some of that back this season.

I think it’s fait to say he has.

Meanwhile, Fulham and Cardiff were relegated. I bet Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wishes he could just pretend to go down like he did that time at Highbury when Sol Campbell brushed off him. Enjoy the Championship, twatbasket.

Also, kudos to Emmanuel Adebayor – a man Tim Sherwood described as a ‘warrior’ – for providing one of the comedy moments of the season. His prissy little turn in the wall to allow a free kick put West Ham 2-0 up was just brilliant. Seek it out if you haven’t seen it. Watch it and laugh. Then watch it again, and laugh again.

It’s got the staying power of ‘Man being hit by football in the groin’, and that’s funny because the ball hits the man in the groin.

And that’s really about that. Unfortunately, we won’t have any live blog coverage of today’s game as I’m here in London, Tom is away and all other candidates were unable to help out, so apologies for that.

Here’s to three points all the same, normal service will resume tomorrow.

Now, time for a bacon sandwich, and I suspect I might need a beer to help take away some of the pain.

 

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