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Arsenal vs West Brom: Predictions
Having exited the Europa League to Villarreal on Thursday, with former manager Unai Emery rubbing salt in the wounds by being the man to orchestrate the result, Arsenal are teetering on the brink of missing out on European football for the first time in over two decades unless they can salvage a late push for seventh.
It is now likely that seventh will be enough to book a ticket in next season’s inaugural Europa Conference League, and while the nascent competition certainly doesn’t carry the esteem or allure of its sibling continental cups, it does guarantee European football in some capacity.
Mikel Arteta knows this season has been a disaster and there are going to be some uncomfortable questions levelled in his direction over the coming weeks, but he must put that to one side and focus on closing the gap on Liverpool in seventh, with just five points separating the sides, though the Reds do have a game in hand.
As for Sam Allardyce, his record of never getting relegated looks to be coming to an end. Should West Brom suffer defeat here then the seemingly inevitable will be confirmed, but ‘Big Sam’ will be determined to bow out in style and fight until the last whistle, which should make for an interesting weekend concluder.
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Arsenal vs West Brom: Match Stats
Arsenal are likely to hog possession in typical Arsenal style, so the Baggies will need to assert themselves if they are to disrupt their patterns of play and generate a semblance of authority, which will illuminate the importance of Conor Gallagher. The Chelsea loanee has been tenacious and brought a bite and steel to West Brom’s midfield this term, underpinned by his nine yellow cards, a stat bettered only by Harry Maguire this season (10). It may not always been pretty but Gallagher’s industry and grit should work well to thwart Arsenal’s intricate ball-playing exploits.
As for the Gunners, this is a contest that really they must win, if not to keep pace in the pursuit of an outside seventh-placed finish, then simply to relieve some of the pressure on their shoulders. Against Arsenal, Allardyce has lost 17 Premier League games, only losing more games in the competition against Man City (18). In fact, Allardyce has never won an away game against Arsenal in the Premier League, losing on each of his last nine visits. Arteta must avoid that trend changing trajectory if he is to stay out of the firing line.
02 Jan 2021 – West Brom 0-4 Arsenal – Premier League
31 Dec 2017 – West Brom 1-1 Arsenal – League Cup
25 Sep 2017 – Arsenal 2-0 West Brom – Premier League
18 Mar 2017 – West Brom 3-1 Arsenal – Premier League
26 Dec 2016 – Arsenal 1-0 West Brom – Premier League
It was a comprehensive rout when these sides met at the Hawthorns in snowy conditions at the start of the year, with Arsenal running amok in a 4-0 thrashing, with goals from Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and an Alexandre Lacazette brace.