West Bromwich Albion
The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
25th September, 20:00 BST
West Brom host Arsenal at the Hawthorns tonight in their League Cup fixture, in what promises to be an exciting match. Arsenal have had the better of the Baggies historically. The Gunners have won four of the last five matches between these two sides. In fact West Brom’s last victory came way back in 2010.
Interestingly these two sides have faced each other quite a lot in the League Cup. The last meeting between Arsenal and West Brom in this competition came back in 2009 at the Emirates, a match which Arsenal won comfortably. They are faced each other in the League Cup back in 2006 at the Hawthorns, which the Gunners won courtesy of a brace from Jeremie Aliadiere.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have had a poor start to their league campaign and are currently lying in 14th place in the points table. But they did turn things around against Sunderland in their last game. West Brom won that game 3-0 with goals from Sessegnon, Ridgewell and Amalfitano. The result and the performance would have pleased Steve Clarke, who was looking for a response from his team after finding themselves near to the bottom of the table.
Clarke has some fitness concerns ahead of this fixture. Zoltan Gera and Ben Foster are still out with injuries, while there are doubts about the fitness of Matej Vydra, Steven Reid, Shane Long and Chris Brunt. But there is a possibility of Brunt and Long featuring in this game after missing out with injuries in recent weeks.
Clarke is expected to make 10 changes to the side that started in the win against Sunderland. Luke Daniels will replace Myhill in the goal, while Popov, Lugano and Dawson will form the back four along with Billy Jones, who will retain his place in the side. There is expected to be a change in formation with Clarke switching back to 4-4-2 in this game, from the 4-2-3-1 he fielded in the last match. Brunt and Yacobs will start in the center of the park with Sinclair and Dorrans providing the width out wide. Berahino and Anichebe will start upfront, while Long is expected to make an appearance from the bench.
West Brom will look to sit deep and form two banks of four in front of the goal. They would mostly look to hit Arsenal on the break with Dorrans and Sinclair looking to use their pace to exploit the space in behind the Arsenal full back.
Expected starting line-up (4-4-2): Daniels (GK); Popov, Lugano, Dawson, Jones; Sinclair, Brunt, Yacob, Dorrans; Berahino, Anichebe
Arsenal have made a dream start to their league campaign and are currently the league leaders having won four out of their five league fixtures. Few would have predicted such a turn around after their opening day loss against Aston Villa. The Gunners are on a seven match winning streak and will be looking to making it eight against the Baggies tonight.
Arsene Wenger’s men are coming into this fixture on the back of a 3-1 victory over Stoke City at the Emirates. Though it was not one of their most memorable performances this season, but they got the job done.
Arsene Wenger is expected to make a lot of changes to the starting eleven that was fielded in their last game, as Arsenal have historically used this tournament to provide their youngsters an opportunity to play with the first team. Wenger is also limited in options as he faces a long injury list at the moment. Tomas Rosicky, Yaya Sanogo, Abou Diaby, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are all out of contention for this fixture with injuries. Latest reports suggest that there are also concerns about the fitness of Fabianski and Aaron Ramsey.
With doubts about the availability of Fabianski, new signing Emiliano Viviano is expected to make his debut for the club tonight. Jenkinson will replace Sagna at the right back, while Vermaelen will replace Koscienly in the center of defence. Mertesacker is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up, while Monreal is drafted into the team at left back.
Arteta, who returned from injury in the last match, will start tonight in the pivot alongside Flamini. Gnabry will replace the injured Walcott on the right, while Eisfeld and Miyaichi will replace Ozil and Wilshere. Upfront it will be return of Nicklas Bendtner, who will make his first appearance for the club since 2011.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Viviano (GK); Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal; Flamini, Arteta; Gnabry, Eisfeld, Miyaichi; Bendtner
Players to watch out for: Saido Berahino (West Brom); Thomas Eisfeld (Arsenal)
Prediction: West Brom 0-3 Arsenal