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West Brom Vs Arsenal Match Preview

Our 3-2 midweek win over Crystal Palace was only our third away win of our Premier League campaign. Now we have another away game hot on the heels of this victory, as we go to The Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion.

Our recent record at the Baggies is a poor one. We’ve lost the last two visits there, and we’re sure to find the same tactics this time around, despite the change in manager. Alan Pardew doesn’t normally rely on constricting formations to get results, but he is also aware of how to frustrate Arsenal, so we can expect two rigid banks of four standing in front of our attack for the majority.

In terms of our attack, with Olivier Giroud out until at least January, Alexandre Lacazette will most likely lead the line again. Perhaps though, rotation may come into play with another midweek game on the horizon in the shape of a crunch match against Chelsea. If that is the case, then Danny Welbeck may get the nod to play against the baggies and former teammate, Kieran Gibbs.

Midfield shouldn’t see too many changes, but again with the Chelsea game looming, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny could relieve either Jack Wilshere or Granit Xhaka so they remain fresh for the blues game.

In defence, we’ll again be missing Nacho Monreal. We have a few choices to fill the gap, and Calum Chambers did his chances no harm with his performance in the win over Crystal Palace. He may have been caught out a couple of times by the trickery of Wilfried Zaha, but on the whole he performed well facing the threat.

Alan Pardew has been experimenting in recent games with his attack and has played two up top on occasion, with Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon starting together. This game will see them play on the counter and rely on set plays to trouble us. After all, why mess with a winning formula? That would most likely mean that Rondon will get the nod. Matt Phillips gives them pace on the break, and they will employ either Claudio Yacob, Grzegorz Krychowiak or a combination of both to sit in front of the backline. Craig Dawson has also recently returned to give them an added threat in the air.

Chelsea and Liverpool both won yesterday, keeping the gap between us and them a healthy one. We need to stay primed for when they do stumble, and the only way to do that is to keep winning. The win over Palace midweek was deserved, despite the close scoreline. If we’re honest though, if we failed to pick up maximum points from Crystal Palace and West Brom, do we really deserve a higher spot in the league?

We need to show we are worthy of a top four spot. Just because it was ours for so long, doesn’t mean we automatically qualify for it or we deserve it. The league level has definitely risen this season, and we need to show we have improved with it.

We do have the return to form of Alexis to help us, although how long this particular service is available to us is unknown. I think we should sell him if an offer comes in, but only if a player of the ilk of Riyad Mahrez or Julian Draxler were to come in to fill the gap left by the departing Chilean. We need to use Alexis while we have him, so he should be playing all the games we have in the league. Let’s put him in the shop window, if he can win us some games in the meantime, then fantastic.

West Brom will be a tough cookie, and the result will most likely come down to one goal. We need to stay patient and keep playing the game we normally do. Spread the play, pass fast and our form players will do the rest.

Let’s pick up the points and then we can move onto the Chelsea game. If we lose this game, then the match against Conte’s Blues won’t matter so much anyway. We need to win them all.

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Chambers, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck.

Predicted scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

West Brom Vs Arsenal Match Preview

The last few weeks have seen protests, mounting pressure and a fog of mystery surrounding our key players and manager. This return to Premeirship action at least could offer Gooner some respite from the constant stories, rumours and furore. 

Manager Arsene Wenger can at least reflect on a victory last week rather than a loss, and last weekend’s FA Cup victory over non-league Lincoln City has given Arsenal some optimism as they can now look forward to a trip to Wembley and a real chance for silverware.

We currently sit in fifth spot  in the league, with five points separating us from Liverpool in 4th spot. Although we have two games in hand over the Reds, those two games must be won to enable us to stay with the chasing pack. 

All provided that the Gunners defeat West Brom.

This won’t be an easy. Tony Pulis has taken the Baggies to 7th place in the table. They may have lsot their last two games, but West Brom will be rigid, organised and a threat. 

Not to mention the corresponding fixture, where we eked out a scrappy 1-0 win, thanks to ill-suited tactics. Opting for Olivier Giroud against aerially adept defenders who are petrified of pace and movement was the main reason why we struggled to break the Baggies down. 

Arsenal will have few injury worries. Mohamed Elneny has returned from his ankle injury and could be involved in the squad, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs will have fitness tests before the game to judge whether they can take part.

Aside from this, Arsene Wenger can afford to rotate his team, but with their last game a week ago, every player should be fit and raring to go. This means a return to fitness for Mesut Ozil after a bout of sickness which has ruled him out or restricted to cameo rules for the last few weeks. 

Tony Pulis is sweating on the fitness of one of his brightest lights this season. Winger Matty Phillips looks to be out of the game with a hamstring injury, but striker Salomon Rondon will be ready to give our back four a rigorous examination. 

The Gunners have lost three of their last four Premiership games, and are in real danger of losing ground on those coveted spots in the top four.

West Brom could well decide much for Arsenal, and for our manager’s future. If the win is not achieved, then the already huge pressure could become obstructive. 

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud


Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 Arsenal 

​West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal preview

Arsenal will be looking to start a new winning run in the Premier League when they take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns next Saturday afternoon. For this match preview we teamed up with Dennis Scott, big fan of Arsenal and expert tipster over at https://footballpredictions.com, according to Dennis, coach Arsene Wenger feels pressure ahead of the trip to West Midlands and this has to go down as a must-win game for the hosts.

Baggies struggle against top-table sides

West Bromwich Albion finished the last Premier League campaign in 14th place in the standings and they have been producing much better performances this term. Experienced tactician Tony Pulis is doing a great job with the Hawthorns outfit and they are definitely capable of upsetting Arsenal in Saturday’s league clash. The Baggies are tough to beat at home and it has to be noted that they recorded four wins in previous five home fixtures in the English top flight. However, the fact that they struggle in matches against top-table sides is not giving fans a reason for optimism ahead of the visit of Arsenal. WBA were beaten by both Manchester United and Manchester City at their Hawthorns earlier this season and it is no surprise they are regarded as underdogs in Saturday’s game against Arsenal. Salomon Rondon has been having his ups and downs this season, but the Venezuela attacker is widely expected to lead the line for the hosts against Arsene Wenger’s troops.

Wenger out”

Arsenal were crushed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 and it is no surprise the fans were chanting for coach Arsene Wenger to leave the club. The French tactician is no longer the right man for the job and many football predictions suggest that Juventus boss Max Allegri will take over the reins at Arsenal this summer. Anyhow, the Gunners will be fully focused on domestic competitions in the remainder of the season and it remains to be seen if they are capable of booking their place in the Champions League. The capital club face a difficult task in Saturday’s match against WBA and the visitors will have to be at their sharpest if they are to pick up all three points from the game. Alexis Sanchez is undisputedly the team’s key player, but reports in England suggest that “El Nino Maravilloso” will leave the club at the end of the season. The Gunners suffered back-to-back defeats to the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool in previous two away games in the league and, no doubt, they are desperate to give fans some cheer.

Prediction

Over the years West Bromwich Albion have turned the Hawthorns into a real fortress, but seeing that they were beaten by relegation strugglers Crystal Palace in their last home game, we do not believe that there is a big value in betting on Tony Pulis’ troops. The Gunners are eager to finish the season in top four and seeing that they have already suffered elimination in the Champions League knockout stages, there is every chance coach Arsene Wenger will field the best possible side against WBA. Taking everything into account, away win appears on the cards.

About the Author
Dennis Scott provides tips and predictions for the Premier League section of FootballPredictions.com. He is a true Gooner and Fifa fanatic.

Arsenal 1-0 West Brom – 5 Key Points 

After two successive defeats and losing precious ground with the top of the league, a win – any type of win – was always going to be the order of the day from this match.

This home victory provided the opportunity to put our season back on track, and despite the close scoreline, this performance was just what the doctor ordered. 

West Brom turned up to The Emirates with the aim of stifling the Gunners, and who can blame Tony Pulis? Despite being labelled as one of the managers who is capable of being a thorn in the side of Arsenal, Pulis’s record isn’t exactly impressive against Arsenal. The only thing that has worked in the past is the stoic approach, playing with two banks of four behind the ball. 

This is exactly what the Baggies lined up to execute, but it was to no avail in the end. Arsenal huffed and puffed at times, and there is a danger of overlooking the good points of our play, but West Brom really came close to claiming an undeserved point.

If not for Olivier Giroud’s 86th minute header, it was looking increasingly likely that more dropped points was on the Gunners menu. There was only ever one team that was going to score, but a combination of an errant final ball, hordes of West Brom players behind the ball and the woodwork meant that it took until the dying embers of the game for the points to be won.

Arsene Wenger had to shuffle his team before kickoff, as Theo Walcott was declared unfit, so Alexis was named on the left flank, and Olivier Giroud was named as the sole striker. Kieran Gibbs was also given the nod after a few shaky games from Nacho Monreal, so Arsenal could pose an aerial threat against a predominantly strong team with the ball in the air.

The Gunners though, seemed intent on playing on the deck, even though Giroud gave the side an asset in the box. The first half was a myriad of passes in and around the West Brom box, and Ozil and Sanchez looking to provide either the killer blow or pass. Conversely though, Baggies keeper Ben Foster wasn’t truly tested even in the face of such endeavours – there was only one shot on target in the entire 45 minutes.

The second half was a different story, although thankfully not as contrasting as our last two games. We played with more zip on the deck, intent to utilising West Brom’s lack of mobility compared to ours. 

Ben Foster, when not time wasting, was the man who was responsible for keeping his side in the game, but even he couldn’t touch Olivier Giroud’s header, which came from an Ozil cross. 

It was enough to win the game, but there was far more to write about during the ninety minutes. Here are the key points from the match:

Alex Iwobi getting back some form

The young Nigerian had been experiencing the inevitable dip that any starlet suffers from when bursting onto the scene. This game showed that amongst Iwobi’s strengths, he also has a steel spine to boast of. In the face of such criticism, he had not let it affect his game. He still was trying all sorts of flicks and backheels in order to pierce the Baggies backline, and it was he and Alexis that looked more likely to provide the inspiration. He looked the part, and this is also vitally important with our widemen missing this game. More of the same please!

Timewasting in the first half?

Just like Stoke City a few weeks back, West Brom knew they would have to employ more than a stubborn defence to take any points away from The Emirates, and it was their gamesmanship that was more frustrating than anything else. Ben Foster and on occasion some other players on the books at West Brom, were taking more than their sweet time for set plays. It was blindingly obvious to anyone other than the referee, but it spelled out exactly what Tony Pulis had instructed – Frsutrate Arsenal, and we can nick a point.
Bellerin and Gibbs so vital

Hector and Keiran both had license to run amok as their opponent seemed unwilling to venture any further than the halfway line. They really did give our attack another arrow, which we really did need to stretch a compact West Brom. They were solid when they needed to be, and they positioned themselves exactly where they were always needed. Great stuff.

Ozil always working

He will no doubt cop some heat again, as he didn’t perform sliding tackles, beat players with a rabona and score a screamer, but his work is there for all that want to see it. Against a Pulis side who were intent on shutting out all and sundry, he flitted around every nook and cranny that he could, trying to spark anything into life. We too, were static at times, so there were not many runners to pick out, but he had ridiculous amounts of the ball and whenever he could, he attempted to manipulate the opponent in order to create gaps. It was his 100th Premier League game, and he also recorded his 36th assist, which apparently is second only to Eric Cantona for assists recorded in 100 games. 

Giroud offers much, but there are limits

This was the Frenchman’s fourth goal of the season, and the majority of his season has been spent on the bench. We all know what Ollie brings to the table, and if a decent ball is whizzed into the box, then invariably Giroud will finish it – as shown with his goal. He doesn’t offer though, the movement of Alexis, and that is why the Chilean has prospered in the same position. Giroud is definitely useful and we must keep him, but he must adapt to his shifting role – which he has done thus far, offering much value from the bench when called upon. He is perfect for some games, not all. This game, he latched onto the only real chance that was presented to him. He did exactly what we needed. Job done.

There was much more to write about. Gabriel had perhaps his best game in an Arsenal shirt, offering a calm outlet when harrying Baggies players came rushing, and he was great aerially against Salomon Rondon. Xhaka and Coquelin were safe, but relatively untroubled so could spend the majority of their time in the opposition half, and Petr Cech finally ended a run of eight games without a clean sheet.

The most important thing amongst the words above though, is that we picked up the points. We were tough, and we kept at it. With City, Chelsea and United all winning, anything else wsould have been calamitous. 

Onwards we march. Well done boys. 

Arsenal Vs West Brom – The Warm Up

It’s Christmas Eve, but despite the festivities elsewhere, there are precious few who are full of good cheer as Gooners.

Two consecutive defeats have happened before in our past, but few of our losses have been so surrendered so voluntarily as when we lost to Everton and Manchester City.

It has left many who follow our club wondering if the positive start we had made in the season was another false dawn, and that the same frailties that have blighted our seasons gone by still course throughout our team.

One of the few things to raise optimism is that with the defeats coming in the thick of the fixture congestion, we have an opportunity to remedy the losing run in quick fashion. 

Next up is West Bromwich Albion.

Our two losses have coincided with the loss to injury of Shkodran Mustafi, who will again be out of the team. Gabriel is again expected to deputise. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out with a hamstring injury, but Aaron Ramsey has recovered from a similiar ailment and is in full training. It may come too soon for the Welshman, but a spot on the bench is not beyond his hopes. 

Danny Welbeck is another who has returned to training, and what the England striker brings to the team cannot be underestimated. This game will not be within his sights, but a first team recall is nearing after not playing since April. With The Ox out and Welbeck still nearing a return, it should mean that Alex Iwobi has another chance to return to a semblance of form, and the same goes for Mesut Ozil.

The German has been firing this season, but a player of his talent was strangely anonymous in our last two games – both of them we lost. A player such as he has been through critical moments before and will return to his best, but it is not unfair to expect a little more from a man who is capable of destroying a whole team with one pass or movement. He has had a great season so far, but all eyes will be in him to see if he rises above the critics as he has done before.

The opponent could have been easier, as any team managed by Tony Pulis will test the fibres of their opponents, and the Baggies are a threat at both ends of the pitch.

West Brom have a reputation of a rock solid defence, but have only one clean sheet in their last fourteen. They will be helped by the return of Jonny Evans however, although James Morrison looks to be out. Salomon Rondon will carry the weight of goal expectation for the away side, and aerially, he will run the rule over Gabriel to see if he has the mettle to survive in the Premiership. If he dominates, then Rondon could very well see the long term prospects of the Brazilian at Arsenal hampered.

Arsenal also have a problem keeping clean sheets, and Petr Cech hasn’t managed one in his last eight – his worst run in his career. If the Gunners manage to keep out the Baggies, it will be a well deserved end to that run of leakiness. 

Let us not forget last season when Cazorla missed a last minute penalty to earn a paltry point – West Brom will ensure we put in everything to win. 

West Brom in their defeat to United last week really tested Mourinho’s team, and were ridiculously well drilled. It was only down to an Ibrahimovic moment of brilliance, and a deflected shot that Pulis’s men were undone. They will rock up to The Emirates with a gameplan, and the perfect way to undo this would be an early goal.

An early goal would also dispel any negativity in the stands, so Arsene Wenger must instruct his team to go full throttle from the off. That is when we see the best of our side, so hopefully a win and an entertaining show are in store. 

Chelsea are nine points clear, and Liverpool and City have overtaken us. Not only this, tottenham are but one point behind. Three points or bust.

I will be at the game, and an in-depth review will follow the game. It would be much easier to write about a win….

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 Arsenal

Predicted Team – Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis

Serge Gnabry – Back to Germany?

Look back to a short time ago,  Serge Gnabry barely registered a raised eyebrow – now he is on his way to Werder Bremen, according to Sky Germany.

Gnabry has signed for Werder Bremen

Last season he was consigned to the Arsenal reserves after being rescued from a nightmare loan spell at West Brom which was meant to last the length of the season, but Arsenal recalled Gnabry in January as he rusted with disuse.

Gnabry valiantly played the second half of the season with the Gunners youngsters, in a bid to not only gain match fitness – but confidence. 

The young German’s standing in his home nation was still high however, and this summer saw Serge travel to Rio with Germany as part of the their Olympic football team – and remind everyone why Wenger has held onto him for so long.

Gnabry scored six goals in Germany’s run to the final, earning a silver medal and using the worlds biggest stage as a personal showcase for his talents. His rapier runs into the box, constantly looking for space and his enviable talent of taking on and beating defenders meant that he wreaked merry havoc, and saw him appear on radars at other clubs.

One of those clubs was mid-table fodder Werder Bremen. A return home may be a prospect too hard to refuse for the German native, regardless of Bundesliga standing. 

According to major news sources, including Sky Sports, Gnabry has signed for Bremen, and mystifyingly, Bayern Munich has been the fiscal force behind the transaction.

When Arsene Wenger allowed Joel Campbell to go on loan to Sporting Lisbon for the season, most – including me – thought it was to allow the Costa Rican some football – and also to make room in the squad for the return of Gnabry.

Wenger has always backed his man, and it would be strange for him to suddenly veer 180 degrees and agree to discard with him. Has Gnabry expressed his desire to leave? Wouldn’t a loan suffice? There are questions that must be answered, but Gnabry may just have had his head turned by advances from back home.

Serge has one year remaining on his contract, and the lure of Germany may just be too strong. It does leave our options out wide a little short, but with wide forwards Alexis and Lucas Perez, there are options to utilise. 

Either way, the kindly reminder Serge gave to all with his wonderful efforts in Rio ensured that most fans are not keen on dispensing with his services. Gnabry has made his choice however. With the fee being as low as is reported – some stories say it looks to be between £5-7m – the youngster looks to have forced Wengers hand somewhat as Arsenal will not have been keen to lose him for such a frivolous figure. 

One year left on his contract, with a player keen on a move? Arsenal have been forced into a corner, and it is down to Dick Law to ensure a buy-back clause is inserted, as Serge may just have a stellar future. 

Arsenal Vs West Brom – Match Preview

Sunday’s depressingly familiar draw against Crystal Palace showed similar failings which have blighted Arsenal all season.

The same failings which threaten to leave Arsene Wenger with his worst season in his long tenure at The Gunners.

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Continue reading Arsenal Vs West Brom – Match Preview

West Brom Vs Arsenal – Match Preview

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Another international football lull at least means that we get to warmly welcome Arsenal back into our lives. After the many atrocities that took place in Paris, Lebanon and other countries respectively, this weekend represents a chance for football to show the monsters responsible for such horrors that we will not let them sway our way of life nor our remembrance at the lives lost.

Continue reading West Brom Vs Arsenal – Match Preview

Football Over-Sanitized or a Need for More Safety Presence?

Originally featured on You Are My Arsenal

After Aston Villa’s progress to the F.A Cup Semi-Final and a much needed trip to Wembley for the success-starved supporters – the articles weren’t revolving around a second win for Tim Sherwood’s men over the Baggies in a week. They were concentrated on the pitch invasion which followed the final whistle.

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion - FA Cup Quarter Final

The reaction from the majority – media experts and fans alike – was a damning verdict on not only the fans from both teams, but on the distinct lack of numbers needed to stem a tide of emotionally charged supporters. 

 
Continue reading Football Over-Sanitized or a Need for More Safety Presence?