Arsenal will host Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates on Boxing Day, as the Gunners look to break their run of two consecutive defeats.
Arsenal lost their games against Everton and Manchester City in a hugely disappointing fashion, after taking the lead against both sides only to collapse in the second half of those games. Arsene Wenger will hope that his team turns up and injects some much needed festive cheer into the Emirates faithful.
Arsenal are 9 points off league leaders Chelsea and cannot afford to drop any more points against West Brom, who are currently in 8th place after some impressive performances this season. Arsenal will have a tough job on their hands as Tony Pulis will be happy to leave the Emirates with a point.
Aaron Ramsey faces a late fitness test for Arsenal’s Boxing Day Premier League clash with West Brom at the Emirates Stadium. The Wales midfielder has only made 10 appearances in an injury-hit campaign, and is struggling to shake off his latest hamstring problem.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed to beat his own hamstring issue in time to face West Brom, while Danny Welbeck is back in training after knee trouble but still a long way from a return. Shkodran Mustafi is still out with a hamstring injury and is only expected back in January.
Arsene Wenger – who earlier this week said that he was prepared to wait until the end of the season before deciding if he would renew his contract – delivered his team news on the club’s official website ahead of the game.
“I think for Monday we lose Chamberlain from the last game against City. I don’t know if Ramsey will be involved or not but he will be back in full training today. The good news is that Welbeck will join in today for the first time – he has been out for a very long time. Mustafi is still out until the beginning of January. Chamberlain is days, not weeks away.”
This means that it is highly likely that Wenger will stick with the side that started against Manchester City, with Alex Iwobi slotting in on the left wing and Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott playing at centre forward and right wing respectively. Mesut Ozil will retain his place while Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin will complete the midfield.
At the back, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal will fill the full back positions while Gabriel Paulista – who has been criticised for his performances as a centre back – will slot in alongside Laurent Koscielny. Petr Cech will also retain his place and start against West Bromwich Albion.
Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Akpom, Giroud.