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PREVIEW: Arsenal v West Brom: Team News, Line-Up + Prediction
The ‘fourth place trophy’ was secured last night as Arsenal ensured a top four finish without even kicking a ball.
Everton slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City at Goodison Park which was enough to make sure we finish at least fourth for the 17th consecutive season.
Obviously fourth isn’t what we all hoped for in February when we were top of the league and there are certainly a lot of regrets from this season, particularly the hammering’s we suffered against the big boys away from home, but I still maintain we’d be right up there challenging had key men stayed fit at the vital stage of the season.
However, there’s no point talking about ‘ifs’ and ‘but’s’ now and with fourth in the bag you’d be forgiven for thinking ahead to the FA Cup final. I think we’ll see Arsene Wenger rest some key men over the next two games and protect the players ahead of the Hull game.
We still need to beat West Brom and Norwich though as we have a slim chance of beating Chelsea to third, but you also want to maintain the winning momentum heading to Wembley.
West Brom are practically safe after their win over West Ham last week and they are now four points clear of the bottom three with two games to play, so their players could have one foot on the beach already.
Bacary Sagna is likely to miss out after injuring his knee in training so Carl Jenkinson should fill-in at right-back.
Kieran Gibbs is also still missing despite returning to training after a hamstring problem, so Nacho Monreal will most likely continue on the left side of defence.
Jack Wilshere is being eased back into action after returning to training so I don’t think we’ll see him today, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still out with a groin injury.
Of course Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry all remain on the sidelines.
West Brom have no new injury worries so are likely to field the same side that beat West Ham last week.
With fourth place now secured, I think it’s safe to say we should take this opportunity to give some key men a rest. The likes of Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil could all be left out but I’d stick with Olivier Giroud up front and give him a breather on the final day of the season.
We still need to win this game and take advantage of any slip ups from Chelsea to potentially sneak third place, and with it automatic qualification to the Champions League, so there isn’t any point resting too many players. We still need to maintain a balance.
It could be a strange game tomorrow as neither side really have too much left to play for. I can see it been played at a pretty slow pace but in the end we should have enough to get the three points. Arsenal 2-0 WBA COYG!!!!
What side would you start? Would you play the reserves?!