Arsenal could be in for another frustrating evening against a resilient Baggies' outfit.
Just when Arsenal looked to have sorted themselves out they stumble again, throwing away leads in their last two games to see their advantage to Man Utd in fifth cut from eight points to four. Seven games ago the Gunners were 10 points clear of fifth and only two off the top of the table having just beaten Leicester. However, since then they’ve won only twice while also being knocked out of both the Champions League and FA Cups. This was supposed to be the season they ended their title drought but with a trip to the Etihad still to come it could yet be the year where they lose their top-four status.
West Brom all but ensured their safety when they beat Man Utd four games ago but they’ve since scored only once and picked up just one point so it looks like they have one eye on the beach already. However, their best performance in that recent slump did come in the defeat at Man City, where they took a surprise early lead before eventually losing 2-1, so the SKY TV cameras could be just the motivation they need. Furthermore, they beat Arsenal earlier this season and have been beaten by more than one goal in just one of their last six meetings. In fact they’ve lost by a margin of more than one just once in their last 21 Premier League games and have conceded fewer goals than the Gunners in that time.
After seeing Andy Carroll’s success against this Arsenal defence the other week Tony Pulis is sure to target a direct and physical approach. The Welshman has had joy against Arsene Wenger in the past as well, winning three of their 13 league meetings but while he has a W3-D2-L1 record at home it’s seven defeats from seven on the road. Of course Arsenal’s home form is usually more impressive than it’s been of late; the Gunners have won just two of their last six here.
It should be noted though that Arsenal deserved far more from Sunday’s game with Palace, as they were the dominant side throughout, but that lack of killer instinct is likely to be tested again here by an opponent prioritising defence first. The Baggies have already drawn at Leicester, West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea – only one of which the Gunners managed to beat at home – and they are worth a punt to cover their handicap with a +1.5 goal head start.
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