On November 21st, West Bromwich Albion will welcome Arsenal to the Hawthorns in a test of the Gunners’ title credentials. After they missed a chance to go top with their 1-1 draw against Tottenham, Arsenal will look to get back on the winning track against the Baggies. Tony Pulis’ side will be looking to rebound from back to back defeats going into the international break. After recording consecutive 1-0 wins against Norwich and Sunderland, the Baggies struggled conceding five goals in their loss to Manchester United and high flying Leicester City.
The Baggies don’t have too many injury concerns going into this one. Number one goalkeeper Ben Foster will miss out as he continues to recover from his torn ACL. Vice captain Chris Brunt is battling a groin injury, but is expected to be fit.
Arsenal are dealing with a boatload of injuries, as they always seem to be. While they were hoping to be fit, both Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey have been ruled out and will return to training on Monday. Theo Walcott is still ruled out until the first week of December, while Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, and Jack Wilshere are all out with long term injuries. The one piece of good news for Arsenal is that Hector Bellerin will be fit to return to the starting XI.
- West Brom have not beaten Arsenal in their last 10 meetings and have lost nine of the last 10.
- All four of the Baggies wins this season have been 1-0 victories and they are yet to get a point this season when conceding a goal.
- They have not kept a clean sheet against Arsenal since November 1985.
- No one has claimed more points away from home this season than the Gunners.
- The first goal will be crucial. Arsenal have won 17 Premier League games in a row when scoring first, but have only come back from behind to win in the league once since they did it against Crystal Palace in August 2014.
West Bromwich Albion: Chris Brunt
If he does pass fit to play, Chris Brunt will be a vital part of the game plan for Tony Pulis. One of Arsenal’s main weaknesses has been defending set pieces. Two of their nine league goals conceded (22.2%) have been from set pieces and seven of their 23 goals conceded in all competitions (30.4%) have been from set pieces. It will be up to Chris Brunt to make the most of their set piece opportunities. If the Baggies are going to win, they’ll need to be dangerous on the counter attack and from set pieces. Chris Brunt’s deliveries could make a big difference in this contest.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has been phenomenal for Arsenal this season, and they will be depending on him to be at his creative best against what will likely be a very compact West Brom defense. The German superstar has been superb this year for Arsenal. He set a new Premier League record in his last game by recording an assist in his sixth consecutive game. If he keeps playing near the level he is at right now it’ll only be a matter of time before he breaks the single season assist record. He is creating a chance every 17 minutes this season, which is a league best. His ability to create chances has been on full display this season, and if he keeps it up, he’ll likely be the difference maker in this match.
It’s tough seeing West Brom get anything out of this one. Of their four wins this season, none have come against a team in the top half and three of them have come against teams in the bottom six. Arsenal have been very good away from home this season, and have an excellent recent record against the Baggies. It’s tough to see anything other than an Arsenal win in this one.
Prediction: 2-0 Arsenal