West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal: Premier League Match Preview
West Bromwich Albion host Arsenal in the Premier League at the Hawthorns this afternoon (12.30pm kick-off UK time).
The Baggies’ go into this round of Premier League fixture in 8th place in the table, with 40 points from 28 matches.
West Brom are yet to beat a top-seven team this season. The have lost seven in a row since a home draw with Spurs in October.
West Brom were beaten 3-0 by Everton at Goodison Park last Saturday.
The Baggies have not kept a Premier League clean sheet on the road since the first game of the season at Crystal Palace, conceding in each of their last 13.
The Baggies could lose three Premier League games in a row for the first time this season. They have never suffered three straight league defeats without scoring since Tony Pulis took charge in January 2015.
They require 10 more points from 10 games to beat their Premier League points tally record – set in 2012/13 when they reached 49.
West Brom’s lofty position in the table owes much to their home. In 14 matches they have won 8, drawn 2 and lost 4.
West Brom have won seven of their last nine league matches at The Hawthorns. However, they are vying to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since last April.
Arsenal are in 5th place in the Premier League table, with 50 points from 26 matches.
They are 5 points behind 4th placed Liverpool, with two games in hand.
The Gunners have lost three of their last four league fixtures, as well as suffering two 5-1 defeats against Bayern Munich during that period. Reaching the FA Cup semi-finals has been the only positive.
Arsenal have been beaten in five of their last 11 league matches. Their previous five losses were spread over 40 games.
They are in danger of losing three successive Premier League away games for the first time since October 2011.
The Gunners’ have won only one of their last six away matches in the league and kept one clean sheet in the last nine.
The Gunners won the reverse fixture 1-0 on Boxing Day thanks to Olivier Giroud’s late header.
A win today would earn consecutive top-flight home victories for West Brom against Arsenal for the first time since a run of six in a row from 1951 to 1956.
Salomón Rondón is the Baggies’ leading scorer in the Premier League this season with 7 goals. His last league goal though was against Swansea City on the 14th December 2016.
Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in 35 goals this season (21 goals, 14 assists), more than any other Premier League player in all competitions. In his last 20 games in all competitions, Sanchez has either scored or assisted 22 goals (13 goals, nine assists).
Theo Walcott has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season; only in 2012/13 has he scored more for the Gunners (21).
This is what Pulis had to say at his pre-match press conference yesterday morning.
“We will need a bit of luck tomorrow. They’re a top team.
Alexis Sanchez is a great player and the Premier League is better with him in. I won’t be saying that if he sticks two in, mind.”
My aim is to get a team that can stay in the top 12 every year and get to cup finals. You’ve got to have that strong mentality and desire to do that.”
The most important thing is that we get that mentality into the players and into everyone around the football club that we want to get more points, that we want to push on.”
This is what Wenger had to say about West Brom at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“They have experienced, organised and efficient from set pieces.
This season they have done very well in midfield and up front. It is a balanced team with good size, very equipped to deal with the Premier League.
On how he would judge whether the season had been a success for Arsenal, Wenger added.
“It is not down to me to judge that I leave that to you. We want to play in the Champions League next season we have a tough job with six, seven teams fighting for the places.
We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup and have an opportunity to do that. Success is to take the maximum out of the potential of the team. Nothing is good enough anymore so you try to do the best you can.
For us it is vital (to win at the Hawthorns). It is a strange championship because there is no continuity.
You don’t really know where you stand you haven’t played the same number of games but what is for sure is we are in a position where we cannot waste points.
You can never afford to lose.
West Brom is traditionally a tough game but it is also a chance for us to come back to a position that is much closer.”
James Morrison is out because of an ankle injury.
Kieran Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain are doubts.
Mohamed Elneny has resumed training after picking up an ankle injury in the FA Cup 5th round win over Sutton United at Gander Green Lane.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: S Ledger, C Hatzidakis
Fourth official: K Friend
Arsenal to get a 2-0 win.