Arsenal looks to build on an impressive road victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as they travel to the Hawthorns this weekend.
West Brom are without a win in 18 Premier League games and will attempt to turn a new corner going into the new year. The Baggies have struggled to find their form under new manager Alan Pardew since his arrival at the end of November, scoring a mere two goals in five games.
Arsene Wenger’s men have now moved within a point of the top four and could give their bid for Champions League football next season a huge boost if they can grind out a result on the road. In the run-up to the clash, here’s everything you need to know.
Back in September the two clubs put on a spectacle in their first meeting of the season and will look to do the same on Sunday – even if it wasn’t, strictly speaking, a classic. The game started off fairly even with chances created from both sides, as West Brom were denied appeals for a penalty early on.
However, pressure from Arsenal resulted in a goal from summer signing Alexandre Lacazette following a free kick from Alexis Sanchez. West Brom continued to pile on the pressure despite one goal down and could have found themselves level, if not for poor finishing from Jay Rodriguez.
As the game went on, Arsenal looked increasingly vulnerable on the counter, especially down the flanks. However, a 67th-minute penalty conversion from Lacazette put the game out of reach for West Brom while also completing the Frenchman’s brace.
Alexandre Lacazette vs Jonny Evans
In response to his great play during their last clash, West Brom will have to ensure that they keep Lacazette quiet at the Hawthorns. This responsibility will fall on the shoulders of captain Jonny Evans who will be chasing the Frenchman around the pitch on Sunday.
The diverse French international not only register a goal threat but his link-up play with forwards like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez mean that he can also set up a goal too, which is something that the Baggies defence will have to be wary of.
Lacazette has already registered eight goals in the Premier League this season to go along with three assists and will look to continue his fine form as the New Year approaches.
Arsenal are set to be without Olivier Giroud and Nacho Monreal until mid-January as they are currently suffering from hamstring and ankle injuries, while Aaron Ramsay is also currently suffering with his own hamstring problems.
West Brom’s Nacer Chadli has been ruled out for up to two months after a recurrence of his hip problem after the forward limped off against Stoke City last week as Pardew’s men suffered a 3-1 defeat. James Morrison also remains out with an Achilles injury.
Predicted West Brom Lineup:
Predicted Arsenal Lineup: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Wilshere, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette.
With both sides desperate for a win, Premier League fans will be in for a treat this weekend.
The game is a must-win for both teams and Pardew will need his side to be more clinical if they are to walk away with any points as West Brom have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, despite creating a lot more shots on goal since his arrival.
On the other hand, Arsenal have a wide array of attacking talent and could punish West Brom from all angles, especially with Alexis Sanchez coming off an impressive brace against Crystal Palace.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 3-1 West Brom