Arsenal will welcome West Brom to the Emirates stadium looking to maintain their momentum after last weekend’s encouraging draw against Chelsea.
After beginning the season on a dismal note, Arsene Wenger’s side have managed to improve in September. Against West Brom, they will need to continue their new-found form if they are to catapult themselves into the top half of the Premier League.
Since a drastic 4-0 loss to Liverpool back in August, the Gunners have not lost in four games, and went on to win three of them. A draw at Stamford Bridge was certainly a big step in the right direction. Although they are currently 12th in the table, Wenger’s side will hope for positive results in their upcoming games.
With Tony Pulis’ Baggies coming to the Emirates, the North London side have quite an opportunity to jump five places in the table, but they will need to secure three points in order to do so. West Brom might have taken a point more than the Gunners from their opening five fixtures but they have not won at the Emirates in seven years.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal will have to do without the services of Danny Welbeck as he recovers from a groin problem picked up against Chelsea. Mesut Ozil is expected to be available after getting forced out of the clash at Stamford Bridge, and Wenger could provide him a start alongside Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette.
Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott have also been deemed fit, but Wenger will have to contend without Calum Chambers after the player endured a hip injury against Doncaster. Regardless, the Gunners are expected to start with a strong squad since their matches with West Brom have always been intense.
The Baggies are likely to defend hard to frustrate Arsenal, so that is something the home side will have to be aware of. However, the combined power of Lacazette, Sanchez and Ozil should be able to trouble the visiting defence, even more so since they will be backed by the thunderous support of the crowd.
Predicted lineup (3-4-3): Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac;Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette.
West Bromwhich Albion
Jake Livermore will return to the West Brom side after being given time off last weekend. Oliver Burke could feature since he is believed to have recovered from a hamstring problem. More than anything else, it will be interesting to watch left-back Kieran Gibbs face his former club for the first time.
Moreover, it will be a special occasion for Gareth Barry since the midfielder is set to become the Premier League’s all-time leading appearance maker with 632 under his belt. Salomon Rondon is also pushing for a spot in the starting eleven, which could see Jay Rodriguez switch to a wide position.
Based on past encounters, Pulis will deploy his men with the sole directive of defending deeply. Given their current form, registering a win at the Emirates might seem like quite an uphill task. Thus, the club will push for a draw and aim at defending strongly to resist Arsenal’s front forces.
Predicted lineup (4-1-4-1): Foster; Gibbs, Evans, Hegazy, Dawson; Krychowiak; McClean, Barry, Morrison, Philips; Rodriguez.
- West Brom won the last league clash between these two clubs; 3-1 at The Hawthorns in March. They haven’t won successive league matches against the Gunners since March 1977.
- The Baggies have suffered nine defeats away to Arsenal in the Premier League, a joint-high for them in the competition alongside away defeats to Chelsea.
- West Bromwich Albion have won just five of their last 35 Premier League away matches.
- Alexandre Lacazette has scored in both of his Premier League appearances at the Emirates Stadium so far – no Arsenal player has scored in their opening three appearances at home in the competition.
- The last Arsenal player to score in their first three home league appearances for the club was Brian Marwood in September 1988.
Player To Watch
Alexandre Lacazette will be put to the test against a battle-hardened West Brom defence. This will be an important game for the French international as he continues to adapt to the Premier League. West Brom will definitely mark him and try their best to contain him.
Having said that, Lacazette has the pace and intelligence to find space in the final third. It will be a good opportunity for him to add to his tally and hone his skills in what seems like a fairly easy win for the Gunners on paper. Moreover, he will also look to beat Brian Marwood’s record, as mentioned above.
1. West Brom Asian Handicap +1.5 @1.910
2. Alexandre Lacazette to score anytime @2.10
1. Allan Nyom to be booked @3.25
Arsenal 2 – 1 West Brom
This should be an easy fixture for Arsenal and anything other than a victory will only increase the dormant frustration among the supporters. They have managed to navigate their way through a busy month unbeaten, despite losing the likes of Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil to injury, and will hope to continue that form against the Baggies.
Tony Pulis will attempt to make it difficult for Arsenal, but the Gunners have considerably improved over the last couple of weeks. Although West Brom are defensively sound, this should end in a home victory for Arsenal.