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West Brom v Arsenal: LIVE

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By: Tyrone King Updated 06 Apr 2013 15:05:25

West Brom v Arsenal: LIVE

West Brom V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Clarke wants Baggies to look ahead

Steve Clarke has stressed the importance of West Brom not standing still and the head coach is already planning to improve the squad for next season.

The Baggies have banished their reputation of being a yo-yo club between the top two divisions by guaranteeing a fourth successive campaign of Barclays Premier League football.

But Clarke knows eighth-placed Albion have to continue to look to strengthen ahead of the encounter with Arsenal at the Hawthorns.

He said: "We have been thinking about next season's plans since September last year. It's something we're always looking and thinking about, how we can improve what we have.

"We would like to think that's going to continue, but if you stand still in the Premier League, other teams come charging past you.

"It's important we don't stand still, it's important we look to improve the squad we have and give the players we've got a bit of help for next season.

"That's something we will endeavour to do between now and the kick-off of next season.

"Whether they are resolved early in the summer transfer window or whether we have to wait until July-August time, only time will tell."

An experienced football man, Clarke knows how the game works at the top level.

And, as a result, he believes Arsenal's current run without a trophy is just part of football's cycle of different teams enjoying periods of success.

He said: "Normal cycles are where you have periods at the top and then you have periods of not being at the top.

"At the moment, Chelsea aren't at the top either. They have slipped a couple of places down.

"It's just the way it is in football that, at different times, different clubs will be up there challenging and being the main one or two.

"Normally the Premier League boils down to two teams at the end of the season.

"This year it has boiled down to one (Manchester United) which is unusual and not so good for the competition, I don't think."

Baggies midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will start a three-game ban for his sending-off at West Ham but Clarke has a ready-made replacement in James Morrison who has recovered from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Nacho Monreal has revealed manager Arsene Wenger has given him an abundance of self-confidence since signing for Arsenal.

Wenger paid around #8.5million to bring the Malaga left-back to the Emirates in January and the 27-year-old has impressed in his short time at the club.

The Spain international has praised Wenger's positivity for helping him adapt to the Barclays Premier League.

"Since I've been here the manager has given me a lot of confidence and he's been starting me," he told Arsenal Player.

"This has been very important for me because it helps a lot to feel that the manager has faith in me, especially as I've just arrived. This in turn this leads to good performances.

"Everything has been challenging in different amounts, because the league is completely different to La Liga. Coming here and not speaking the language, being unable to communicate with my team-mates, is one of many difficult situations that is making me grow as a person and as a player."

Monreal spent two years at Malaga after establishing himself at Osasuna and his move to north London represents a first venture into club football away from Spain.

"It has been tough adapting to the type of football played here in England as the players are a lot more physical," he added.

"There's also a different style of play, as I've said before there's an emphasis on reaching your opponent's goal as quickly as possible. I've been here two months now and little by little I am adapting to this style of play. I am happy to be here.

"The worst change for me is the difference between a very hot town in the south of Spain and the freezing cold weather over here."

Monreal has overcome a knee injury and is likely to retain his place in Wenger's starting line-up.

England duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott both have an outside chance of being fit for the Hawthorns clash.


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