Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side play West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium to kick off their 2008/09 Premiership campaign. The fixture is @ 12.45 BST, making it the first game of the new Premiership season.
Arsenal have lost three important midfield players. Gilberto has gone to Greece, Hleb has left for Spain and Mathieu Flamini has moved to Italy. Cesc Fabregas has a hamstring problem, and Czech international Tomas Rosicky is not expected to make a return until next month. In this scenario, we may see summer arrival Samir Nasri and Brazilian youngster Denilson play in the centre, with Walcott, Carlos Vela, Emmanuel Eboue and Robin Van Persie competing for spots on the wings. Clichy, Gallas, Toure and Sagna will form the back four, with Philippe Senderos and Abou Diaby both sidelined with injuries. Emmanuel Adebayor will be the lone man upfront with Eduardo not having yet recovered from last season’s horrific injury.
West Brom have been tipped as a club likely to make a drop even before the season has begun. Tony Mowbray has made several signings in the summer window- Abdoulaye Meite, Scott Carson, Marek Cech, Roman Bednar, Luke Moore, Kim Do Heon and Gianni Zuiverloon. However several old timers have also left the Baggies- Martin Albrechtsen, Zoltan Gera, Curtis Davies and Kevin Phillips being the prominent ones in that list. Neil Clement’s injury in the draw against Mallorca means that the defender will miss the trip to London. Zuiverloon is on Olympic duty, while Moore and Robert Koren are also confirmed absentees. Mowbray will try to motivate his players the same way he did with Hibs when they were to play Rangers or Celtic in the SPL.
West Brom may pack the squad with defensive players to come out of the game with a point. However Arsenal can break defences down, and sometimes with ease that leaves the viewer stunned. Arsenal to win this 2-0, with goals from Adebayor and Nasri.