Striker sets sights on Gunners as he looks forward to baby joy and African Nations Cup
PETER Odemwingie heads to Arsenal today (ko 3pm) hoping to add another game to remember in 2012 before a New Year that promises him baby joy - and a trip to the African Nations Cup.
The 31-year-old striker, who has scored on his last two starts against the Gunners, is looking forward to the birth of his first child – a son – in January.
And he also has his sights set on making Nigeria champions of Africa at the finals in South Africa between January 19 and February 10.
He said: “We haven't got too long left until the baby is here - under two months.
“It’s very exciting for me. All my friends say 'enjoy it, it's a great experience'.
“This is something money cannot buy.
“It's something you put your soul into, they are your genes.
“It's not changed me much but now we're expecting a child you're more at home, less time for friends.
“I hope it won't affect my involvement in the African Cup of Nations.
“You can't predict what will happen but I hope for a scenario where it will be easy.
“The due date is about ten days before the African Cup of Nations.
“Sometimes babies can be late...or early.
“In this case I will pray it's maybe earlier so everything will be smooth, obviously without any problems.
“I've not seen the programme but the preparation is usually about ten to 14 days before the tournament.
“I will be playing - there is no problem with the coach.
“I couldn't make the last game for personal reasons but I am in his plans, we spoke well and, as far as I'm concerned, I will be called up.
“It's bad I will miss games for West Brom.
“I am full of desire, we've had a good start and I want that to continue.”
Odemwingie missed last season’s trip to the Emirates Stadium through injury – but fondly remembers scoring the opener in Albion’s famous 3-2 win there the season before – the Baggies’ first victory on Gunners soil in almost 27 years.
“I have good memories,” he added.
“To me it was big and a new experience.
“I'd only just arrived in England, playing against a big club is always good, and it was very exciting.
“We played very well, we went 3-0 up which was hard to believe.”
Arsene Wenger’s side currently sit in tenth spot in the Barclays Premier League table - five places and as many points behind the Baggies, with Odemwingie eager to stretch that gap
“We think we have a chance,” he said.
“We're in good form now and, even if they weren't in their best form, we would go there, not only with hope, but confidence.
“We’ve been strong this season so we think we can go anywhere and beat any team.
“We've done a good job before the recent games we lost.
“We created that for ourselves, which now gives us breathing space.
“Hopefully we can make that gap bigger.
"We need to get points again and increase the gap between us and teams behind us.
“It would be less of a surprise if we were to get a result there this time.
“Arsenal haven't started so well, they lost to Swansea - if they can do it, why can't we?
“But they are still a quality team who pass the ball around well.
It depends how much desire we have now to win the game.”