West Brom vs Arsenal: Match preview, betting tips and predictions
|Pierre Emerick Aubameyang fires one in against Manchester United, he'll be key for Arsenal when they visit the Hawthorns. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
West Brom vs ArsenalHawthorns9:00pm
Arsenal halted the rot of seven games without a win with a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day, unprecedented, unscripted, considering how low in confidence they were before the game and followed up with a gritty win over Brighton days later, have they turned the corner?
West Brom fired Slaven Bilic and hired relegation fight specialist, Sam Allardyce and in a press conference, the one game England manager said he sees the Gunners as relegation rivals, he’ll need to look at things again and decide if that statement stands.
West Brom were destroyed by Leeds United last time out and Allardyce wasn’t nice to his players at the post-match conference, he bemoaned their lackluster attitude and well like many others would ask, what in the world was that own goal from Sawyers and Sam Johnstone?
They have an opportunity to fight right back against a team that isn’t really at the top and still have lots of frailties to deal with, if there’s any side you’d like to play when you really need a result, Arsenal can be that team but on the evidence of recent displays, it won’t be easy.
In the win over Brighton, Arsenal defended deep against a stubborn side, they took their chance when it came and stayed disciplined through it, against a team managed by a conservative block builder, they will face a different kind of opponent and will require a different approach.
The Baggies will not come out to play until later in the game, they would look to keep it clean until they get Arsenal frustrated and then have a go at them just like they did against Liverpool, they held their forte until late on when Semi Ajayi rose the highest to turn one home.
Arsenal will probably rotate, some players that were ill can return but despite seeing Thomas Partey in full training, he won’t be called on to play as the manager targets the FA Cup against Newcastle as his return date; Not the right news the fans want to hear but they might see Willian on the flank if Arteta decides to rest Bukayo Saka.
West Brom do not have injury woes at the moment and have everyone available, Arsenal will still be without loan bound Reiss Nelson and of course, there’s no place for Mesut Ozil or William Saliba with Arteta saying the club will evaluate at the end of January to confirm if things will change.
The Baggies won’t want to lose this, they will be neck deep in the drop zone if they do, and there’s an incentive of a rise on the table for the Gunners if they do manage to win here, would be the first time they’d be stringing three straight wins this season.
Arsenal won three of the last five between these two as expected but the Baggies won 3-1 sometime in 2017, they would dream that again when the whistle goes off on Saturday.
The Baggies defense will have a long night trying to watch the runs of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, they would be the key in the game.