The Hawthornes, 3:00 GMT
21st December 2015
With 26 points and four goals shy of the top spot, Arsenal travel north to a pay a visit to the Baggies, Can Arsenal bag a win claim top spot even if temporarily?
Arsenal although were in fine form, struggled last week against Tottenham Hotspur for majority of the game after which a lucky goal from Gibbs and a few minutes of intense football in the final third of the game saw them salvaging the match. However with some of the injured returning, the Gooners look set to get back to their winning ways in the Premier League.
West Bromwich Albion on the other hand come on the back of two back to back losses. One against Manchester United and another against Leicester City. A win at home would send them up two places and on level with Liverpool and Everton.
Team tactics and Line-ups
West Bromwich Albion
Ben Foster is yet injured which makes West Brom a slightly easy target for opponents. However, this does not mean we can discount the presence of Myhill who will be the chosen shot-stopper for Tony Pulisa side. Returning Chris Brunt will find himself on the left side of the defense whilst Craig Dawson will be the chosen right wing back. McAuley will serve a band for his red card in the previous game as Olsson and Evans will team up at central defence.
Pulis will look to use pace against the likes of Mertsacker and most likely field four midfielders and two strikers in a 4-4-2 formation. Stephane Sessegnon will be the chosen right winger whilst James Morrison will be on the left. Sessegnon who has been a stand out performer for West Brom will give a torrid time to Monreal as he will look to cut infield and charge into the Spaniard on his weaker foot. Yacob and Darren Fletcher who will occupy the central midfield positions will look to keep a check on the likes of Ozil and Cazorla.
Pulisa chosen goal weapons will be Berahino and Rondon. The two strikers have been in excellent form off late and will be a tough pair to mark. With similar abilities of falling deep and possessing immense pace. The two will look to compliment the counter attacking game that Pulis would look to play against a team that concentrates on possession and intricate passing.
Predicted Line-up: (4-4-2): Myhll, Dawson, Evans, Olsson, Brunt; Morrison, Yacob, Fletcher, Sessegnon; Berahino, Rondon.
Arsene Wenger will finally be relieved that one of his players returns from injury. With the international break coming to an end along with some traumatic experiences. Wenger will be forced assess the involvement of some of his players, mainly Koscielny who seems to have been affected by the Paris bombings. However, assuming he will agree to play, Arsenal will put out a defensive line up of Cech on goal, Bellerin and Monreal as full backs, whilst Mertsacker and Koscielny will be the chosen central defensive pairing. With Rondon in fine form at the Hawthorns, the defense line will have their hands full.
Coquelin and Cazorla have forged a fine partnership in the deep midfield role. The former playing as an enforcer and the latter a deep lying playmaker. Cazorla especially has shone in this position as he has ensured his link up play with Sanchez and Ozil who both await directly ahead of him are benefited by his vision. Flamini and Arteta are also available as options for either of the two, if Cazorla were to be pushed further up the field.
The three advanced midfielders have been cruicial in almost all of Arsenala s goals this season. With Ozil and Sanchez operating with exceptional efficiency. Although Ozila s portrays a lethargic demeanour in his game play, he has created an exceptional number of chances and has raked up 10 assists, the highest so far in the season. Sanchez on the other hand has been a hard worker as always and will run riot down the left flank. Campbell who has been usually in the shadows finds himself in the starting eleven as injurya s plague the North London side. Giroud will be played the lone striker and will look to add to his tally of 6 goals this season.
Predicted Line-up: (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla, Campbell, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud.
- West Brom have won only twice in their last 18 Premier League games against Arsenal
- Arsenal share the top spot for the lowest goals conceded
- Arsenal have scored in all the 18 games they have played against West Brom
Player to Watch
The Frenchman scored an exquisite goal against PSG and looked sharp for France during the international break. With Walcott injured, Wenger is left with only Giroud to use upfront. However with his recent good form, Giroud will be looking to convince the manager why he is the one that should be on the field week in and week out. Against a side not yet up to the standards of Arsenal, Giroud will look to be on his toes and increase his tally for the season.
West Brom 0 a 3 Arsenal
With Arsenal looking to recover from their previous games, they will come to the Hawthorns all guns blazing. Olivier Giroud the only remaining striker and will prove fruitful scoring one and knocking two down for the likes of Sanchez and Ozil.