This weekend sees the Premier League come to a close with the title and Champions League qualification already wrapped up. The relegation fight will take centre stage as has happened numerous times on the final match day of the Premier League. Neither of these two sides have that to worry about, with Arsenal being all but guaranteed to finish third unless something major happens of the final day. Meanwhile, West Brom have little to play for as they will finish the season in the bottom half. Their performances in recent weeks have shown that they will be battling until the final whistle and they will fancy their chances of getting something in North London.
Arsenal have gone off the boil in recent weeks after a superb run of form which secured their Champions League berth. They are finishing the season in the top four once again and they have a platform to challenge for the title next season with the right additions. The Gunners also have the opportunity to retain the FA Cup next weekend which will be a welcome achievement after nine years without a trophy prior to last season. Arsenal are a top club who should be challenging for trophies every season and they have a squad which should be in contention to win the most prestigious trophies in the game. If Arsene Wenger stays at the club, he must seriously challenge in the league and in Europe next season as that is where they should be.
After a poor start under Alan Irvine, West Brom have looked a well organised outfit under Tony Pulis and that was highlighted on Monday night as they became only the third team to beat Chelsea in the league this season. They also kept a clean sheet, which is impressive considering they have also prevented Liverpool and Manchester United from scoring in recent weeks. The club’s impressive defence provides a platform for Tony Pulis to build on in the summer and with some signings to add attacking quality, West Brom could push on and become a top half club next season. They will be traveling to the Emirates Stadium on the back of some great form and they could add Arsenal to their list of scalps this season.
In the first match between these two clubs, Arsenal managed to edge a narrow 1-0 victory at the Hawthorns with Danny Welbeck grabbing the goal. Last season, the two sides met in the closing stages of the season at the Emirates and Arsenal again triumphed by a 1-0 scoreline. On this occasion Olivier Giroud netted the crucial goal to secure the points.
- After a great run of form, Arsenal have only won one in their last five matches and have thrown away the chance of finishing second behind Champions Chelsea,
- West Brom have kept four clean sheets in their last five matches, which included matches against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Alexis Sanchez has been a revelation since joining the club from Barcelona and he can be very pleased with his efforts during his debut season in the Barclays Premier League. The Chilean has contributed 16 goals and 8 assists in the league. After an excellent start, the forward has seen his form drop, but a player coming in from abroad normally takes one or two seasons to hit top form in the Premier League. Foreign players need time to adjust to the intensity of the English game and if Sanchez is still adjusting to the league, Arsenal fans have a lot to be excited about. Going forward, Sanchez is one of the few players who could match the achievements of Luis Suarez in his final season with Liverpool. If he does manage to hit those levels, then Sanchez could be the player who takes Arsenal back to winning league titles. On Sunday, he will be keen to finish his season on a high and add to his goal tally, while the Gunners attempt to put on a show to finish the campaign with a flourish.
After a very successful period with Manchester United, the midfielder has moved to the Hawthorns adding class and experience to the Baggies. His influence has added another dimension to the side which has been highlighted in the club’s recent run. West Brom have always had good players, but Fletcher has added a winning mentality which has been a huge reason for their climb away from the drop zone. Tony Pulis has organised his players well to become hard to beat, but he needs leaders on that pitch to ensure his side keeps at the task in hand. With Joleon Lescott, Fletcher and Chris Brunt all in the side, Pulis has a lot of experience in the squad. This summer, he can add some flair players to make his side more dangerous in the final third. The club have a great platform to push on and become a club who don’t need to worry about relegation every season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck could return this weekend to play a part in the final league game of the season. Mathieu Debuchy has an outside chance of making the cup final, but he will be missing this weekend.
Ben Foster is the only player missing for the visiting side, but he hasn’t been missed as number two Boaz Myhill has been in inspired form. Saido Berahino is likely to start in the final league game after another good campaign to show himself as one of the best talents in the country.
I think it will be a typical end of season affair with both sides going through the motions to an extent. I feel Arsenal will want to finish the season with a win and there could be some exciting attacking play on show. West Brom will be difficult to break down and they have shown how strong their defence is in recent weeks. Arsenal should have enough to pick up the three points, and I expect Alexis Sanchez to finish the season on a high and grab one or two goals.
Arsenal 2-0 West Brom