Both sides head into this game with a real need to get their Premier League form back on track. West Brom have lost their last two league games after 2-0 losses to in-form Newcastle United and Chelsea, and the fixtures don’t get any easier with a wounded Arsenal next up for the Baggies in the early Saturday kick off.
Arsenal lost their last league match at home to a fairly weak and injury stricken Manchester United team. Olivier Giroud provided some good news with a stunning left footed goal on his comeback but the naivety in the performance was there for all to see and Arsene Wenger badly needs to install some confidence into these players – barring Alexis Sanchez of course. However, this game should not be seen as a gimme with Arsenal only four points clear of West Brom in the table and the Baggies last outing to Chelsea was a heroic, but failed, fight to keep Chelsea at 2-0 with ten men, for most of the game.
The Baggies are doing ok for injuries at the moment with just the three knocks to navigate past.
Defender Jonas Olsson is a doubt after picking up a calf strain whilst Silvestre Varela remains out with a groin injury. Sebastien Pocognoli is another long term patient with a hamstring tear.
Away from injuries but no less serious, star striker Saido Berahino is a doubt after being arrested for drink driving in midweek. Whether or not the striker is in the correct frame of mind to play remains to be seen.
Arsenal Wenger has six injuries to contend with at the moment and some of them are to key personnel. First choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is a doubt after a collision with Keiran Gibbs left him with a hip knock. The injury to the Polish stopper is a major concern because of the injury to back-up ‘keeper David Ospina who is out until mid December with a thigh injury.
Keeping up with the theme of worrying injuries to important players, Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for up to three months after undergoing ankle surgery. First choice right back Mathieu Debuchy is out until Christmas with an ankle knock of his own whilst £42m man Mesut Ozil is missing until the New Year with a LCL knee ligament injury. Pacey winger Theo Walcott is still sidelined by a groin strain.
– West Brom haven’t beaten Arsenal in any of their last seven league meetings (D2, L5).
– Arsenal have won three of their last five matches away at the Hawthorns.
– Arsenal have dropped 9 points from leading positions this season. The same number they dropped throughout the whole of 13/14.
– Arsenal have won just four league games this season – with each victory coming against teams in the bottom seven positions of the table.
– West Brom have won just three of their last 15 Premier League games.
– West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans has received three bookings in his 12 league appearances this season – and he’s due another and can be backed at 4.51/1 to see yellow again, you make the bets with TailorBet, don’t miss out!
Ben Foster has been one of West Brom’s most consistent performers over the last four years and this season has proved to be no exception. The experienced 31 year old has enjoyed a decent start to the season in between the sticks and call ups to the England squad as a reserve ‘keeper have been personal highlights for the former Manchester United man.
So far this season, Ben Foster has kept four clean sheets which is just over a third of all the games he has played thus far. Foster has also made himself as hard to beat as possible with the England stopper making 1.93 saves per goal on average. Foster has been a busy goalkeeper this term with West Brom suffering from fits and starts. On average, Foster makes 2.64 saves per 90 minutes played and this figure was vital in last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea when the ‘keeper put in a marvelous display to keep 10 man West Brom in the game – and therefore avoiding a goal difference damaging scoreline. His distribution has been solid too, with his passing currently standing at around 49% – this figure is decent for a goalkeeper as their long balls usually result in a 50/50 between an opposing defender and fellow teammate. If Sanchez is to be kept quiet, Foster will be more than vital.
Alexis Sanchez has been in top form for Arsenal since signing for the Gunners from Barcelona during the summer. The Chilean international has taken to the Premier League with ease and his dogged and bullish play style has seen him excel in his new surroundings.
Despite Arsenal’s up and down form, Sanchez has netted an impressive eight goals in his 11 Premier League appearances. The 25 year old’s form is no fluke and the winger has now scored nine goals in his last nine games for club and country. The secret behind Sanchez’s form seems beautifully simple – he hits the target and makes the ‘keeper work. The £32 million man hits the target with 72% of his efforts at goal so the ‘keeper is always under pressure.
Sanchez will be hoping his teammates start chipping in with some goals, especially as Sanchez is creating ample chances for them. Since the start of the season, Sanchez has made 30 chances for his teammates but only two have resulted in assists for the pacey attacker. Sanchez has also excelled in his dribbling. His successful take-on percentage is now above 50% which represents good efficiency from the new signing.
My prediction for this game is a 2-1 win for Arsenal. Morale was boosted when the Gunners defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in midweek and West Brom’s star man, Saido Berahino, is having distracting off field issues. It should be tight but I fancy Arsenal here.