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Saturday May 3, 2014 MYT 12:53:00 AM
Saturday May 3, 2014 MYT 8:39:24 AM
by hariati azizan
The boy is back. Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (right) has returned to action just in time for the club's run-in with a spot in the Champions League yet to be confirmed. - AFP
THE win over Newcastle on Monday has all but booked the Gunners a place in next season’s Champions League.
It has given them a four-point cushion over closest contenders Everton. Comfortable enough that even if the Toffees beat Manchester City on Saturday night, it will not be too much of a disaster for Arsenal should they lose their match against West Brom on Saturday night.
After seeing Arsenal spend “128 days in first place in the Premier League” before unceremoniously skidding out of the title race, there is no other club that I’d want to win the Premier League than Liverpool.
Okay, so I’m really more of an ABC (Anything but Chelsea) and ABMC (Asalkan bukan Man City) than a Reds sympathiser, but I sincerely hope Everton can pitch in and at least hold the Citizens.
After all, Arsenal had slipped up against West Brom the two times they met this season: a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns and again in a League Cup game.
And now that the Baggies are fighting to stay out of the relegation zone, who knows?
At just four points above the relegation zone, West Brom will be in trouble if the top relegation zoner Norwich City can win their last two games. Only a win on Sunday will secure the Baggies’ place in the Premier League next season.
They may have been poor on the road lately, but they will be encouraged by their recent record against the Gunners.
It will not be easy though. Arsenal have reignited their firepower with the return of Aaron Ramsey and have been scoring an average of three goals in each of their last three games. Their defence is also re-asserting itself with a tighter cohesion, no less due to the return of Laurent Kolscieny.
And looking at how the Baggies defended against City last week, it is safe to say that the Arsenal boys can have another “exhibition football” game.
There is a worry that Arsene Wenger might rest his players for the FA Cup final next week, but with his key personnel Ramsey and Mesut Ozil in need of game time, that should not make too much of a difference.
It will just be frustrating for most Gooners to see this late spark from their team. If only they had not come unstuck in March ...
One can only hope for an 11th time lucky in the EPL and 17th time lucky in the Champions League, eh? Trophies ahoy!
Hariati predicts a 3-0 win for the Gunners.
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