Has this moment of madness given Arsenal the edge in Champions League hunt?

How much did West Brom miss Youssouf Mulumbu against The Gunners this weekend?

Last weekend we all laughed at the misfortune of a certain Youssouf Mulumbu after he completely lost his rag at Upton Park. The Congo international found himself highly irritated by the close attention of Hammers midfielder Gary O’Neill and decided the best course of action was to kick the football at the former Middlesbrough player.

He was given his marching orders.

Now while we all found it amusing to watch West Brom obviously didn’t and either did the footballing authorities. Mulumbu received no leniency for comedy value and was subsequently banned for three games.

He immediately apologised on Twitter …

But did his actions cost a lot more than first realised.

Mulumbu has formed a truly magnificent midfield dynamic with new signing Claudio Yacob this season. Such form as a duet led me to dub them the ‘best value for money midfield partnership’ in the Premier League earlier in the season.

Recently The Baggies have had to do without the pair for various reasons. Yacob has had some injury woes while Mulumbu was at the African Cup of Nations and without the pair the team struggle; as was evident against Arsenal this weekend.

Which brings me to my point; did Mulumbu’s moment of madness inadvertently help The Gunners on their way to Champions League football?

Normally the duo of Yacob and Mulumbu work so well together due to their dichotomous relationship. Yacob the cultured passer of the ball who stands his ground and makes his tackles; Mulumbu the more dynamic box-to-box player who tracks his runners defensively.

Runners like Tomas Rosicky at The Hawthorns on Saturday. The Czech Republic international waltzed into goalscoring positions at will on Saturday and bagged a brace that in the end won all three points for a patchy Arsenal performance.

If Mulumbu was on the pitch you can almost guarantee that Rosicky would not have been unattended for either goal he nudged home in the Midlands that took Arsenal back into the top four.

So has this moment of madness given Arsenal more hope of Champions League football …

image: © Ben Sutherland

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