Thursday, June 24, 2021

Prediction: Arsenal vs West Brom

Verdict: Arsenal win

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: Unibet

Turning their attention back to Premier League duties this weekend, Arsenal will welcome West Brom to an empty Emirates on Sunday night.

Arsenal

Starting with the hosts, putting in another toothless display earlier in the week, Arsenal find themselves in the midst of what has been a woeful campaign in North London. Eventually having to settle for a sluggish 0-0 stalemate against Spanish outfit Villarreal on Thursday night, The Gunners came crashing out of the Europa League thanks to a 2-1 aggregate defeat. With their European semi-final exit regarded by many to be one of the worst nights in the club’s history, the pressure is really starting to mount on Head Coach Mikel Arteta. With some around the Emirates feeling that his position is quickly becoming untenable, all signs currently point to Arsenal missing out on any form of European football for the first time in over two decades. Finding themselves sat down in ninth after breaking a string of unwanted records this season, The Gunners’ 2-0 win against Newcastle last weekend is their only victory in their previous five matchups across all formats. More concerning for Arteta, his struggling squad have landed just a pair of Premier League wins in their last six attempts.

Team News

Granit Xhaka is a doubt after pulling out just before kick-off on Thursday with muscle tightness, but Arteta will hope he is fit.

Coming in for Xhaka at left-back, the returning Kieran Tierney is in line to once again start this weekend.

West Brom

As for the visitors, while West Brom might have managed to find some much-needed resolve since returning from March’s international break, it appears it’s too little too late for Sam Allardyce’s men. Knowing that an immediate Championship return could be confirmed by the end of the weekend, The Baggies find themselves sat 10 points adrift of safety with just four Premier League contests remaining. Knowing that they’re firmly in the category of needing a miracle, Sunday’s guests should at least be boosted by a run of form that has seen them lose just one of their last five top-flight contests. However, never fully managing to build off of those shock back-to-back thumping wins against Chelsea and Southampton last month, the one-time England boss has seen his side continue to struggle on the road this season. Including a 3-0 drumming at the hands of Leicester on April 22nd, West Brom have recorded just a single Premier League away victory since the middle of January.

Team News

Branislav Ivanovic is yet to recover from his hamstring injury and is set to once again miss out on Sunday night.

Likewise, loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be ineligible to face his parent club.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off back in January, Arsenal picked up a 4-0 win on the road.
    • However, including their Europa League exit in midweek, The Gunners have failed to win any of their last six straight contests on home soil.
    • Likewise, Arsenal have collected just a single point from their last three Premier League matchups at the Emirates.
    • Including back-to-back draws against Wolves and Aston Villa, The Baggies have lost just one of their last five Premier League matchups.
    • West Brom’s last three away fixtures have produced 14 goals.

    Conclusion

    Crashing out of the Europa League on Thursday night, there is no doubt that Arsenal are a side desperately seeking a boost. Now in a real uphill battle to avoid missing out on a European finish for the first time in over two decades, Sunday’s meeting is another must-win encounter for Mikel Arteta and his job in the dugout. Knowing that they can end West Brom’s charge for safety this weekend, The Baggies appear to have left it too late. Despite enjoying a recent boost, Sam Allardyce’s side have gained a reputation for their issues on the road throughout this season. Managing to claim that 4-0 win when they faced off against this weekend’s guests back in January, we’re backing Arsenal to claim a much-needed victory at the Emirates.

    Verdict: Arsenal win

    Best Odds: 1/2

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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