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Preview: Arsenal v WBA, team news, line-up & prediction
Arsenal take on West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates this evening knowing anything other than a win would blow the top four race wide open.
Consecutive draws against West Ham and Crystal Palace have not only blown any slim hopes of winning the Premier League title but they’ve left us clinging on to fourth place.
Man Utd’s win last night saw them move to within just one point so we simply have to beat West Brom tonight to climb up to third and restore our four-point advantage.
The Palace draw was as predictable as it was depressing, and it sounds like fans are going to vote with their feet as there’s expected to be over 10,000 empty seats tonight.
Will the board listen and force change this summer? Nope. But unfortunately the atmosphere is likely to be subdued to say the least and that WILL transmit itself on to the pitch, so I fear we’ll be in for another lackluster display.
The good news is that West Brom arrive at the Emirates with little left to play for as they’ve hit the 40-point mark and are safe in 14th position in the table. Ordinarily this should be a routine win but we’ll have to step things up from Sunday’s debacle.
Wilshere came through his latest outing for the under-21′s unscathed and he even got on the score-sheet but Arsene says he won’t be risked just yet and will have to wait for the trip to Sunderland on Sunday to make his first team comeback.
Cazorla is back in full training but needs a couple of weeks before he’ll be in contention so they remain unavailable along with Oxlade-Chamberlain, who continues to nurse a knee injury.
We have no fresh injury worries to contend with so it will be the same squad that faced Palace but I hope to see a few changes to the line-up. More on that below…
As for West Brom, Alex Pritchard could return but James Morrison remains out with a hamstring injury.
As I say, I’d like to see a few changes as the performance was dire on Sunday. Mertesacker should come in for Gabriel while I’d also give Gibbs a run-out at left-back. He’s been unlucky not to play more and should be keen to impress ahead of the Euro’s.
I’m not a fan of Ramsey on the right but I think Iwobi could do with a rest as the teenager has played a lot of football lately. Finally, I’d bring Giroud back in as Welbeck could also do with a breather as he’s been almost every-present since returning from 10 months on the sidelines.
This would be my team:
Whoever starts tonight, they need to play at a far higher intensity than we did on Sunday. We can’t just turn up and expect the so-called smaller teams to roll over. Hopefully Arsene has got the players fired-up as our top four ‘trophy’ is now under threat and that should see us secure a 2-0 win.
Arsenal 2-0 West Brom