A disastrous week for the Gunners marked by two defeats in a row in away games to Everton and Manchester City have set them back by a couple of places to the 4th spot on the Premier League table at the end of Week 17. The 1-2 loss to the Citizens leaves Arsenal a clear 9 points behind table toppers Chelsea and hopes of a title fading fast. Arsene Wenger’s team now await West Bromwich at the Emirates Stadium for their 18th EPL encounter of the 2016-17 season.
The Gunners strategy to counter attack on the break against City came a cropper with their midfield combo of Coquelin, Xhaka, Ozil and Walcott under-performing big time. Wenger would probably not adopt a similar strategy of trying to close the opponents down against a West Brom side that doesn’t have a attack as incisive as City’s. But of some concern to him will be the spate of injuries starting with Oxlade-Chambberlain who had to limp out of the Manchester City clash with muscle problem. Shkodran Mustafi and Santi Cazorla, two key players in the midfield have been out for some time and along with Oxlade-Chamberlain look doubtful starters for the Boxing day clash. But the good news is that Aaron Ramsey could be back from from his hamstring injury.
Tony Pulis’s West Brom would like to put a disappointing home loss to Manchester United behind them and it will be up to men like Salomon Rondon and Matt Phillips to find scoring opportunities at the Emirates. The Baggies fired just one shot on target in the entire clash against United. Despite the loss to the Red Devils, West Brom still find themselves in the top half of the Table and in the 8th spot. The Baggies have won just two of their 8 away games this season and that too against bottom half sides, Crystal Palace and an an off-colour Leicester City and have scored just seven of their 23 goals on the road, rendering a possibility of success at the Emirates very remote.
For Tony Pulis, injuries aren’t as big a concern as it is for his opponents. Defender Jonny Evans will be back for the Arsenal clash having missed out on the game against United last week owing to a calf injury.
The Baggies have lost four of their last 5 games with Arsenal and the last time they had won a game at the Emirates was way back in September 2010. Hence, odds point overwhelming to a Arsenal win on December 26. For the Gunners, collecting three points from Monday’s clash would be of paramount importance as all the other three teams of the Top four have easy weekend outings where they are expected to score easy wins.
Sanchez to Score Anytime, Best Odds 4/5 @ William Hill
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