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Preview: Arsenal v WBA, team news, Perez to start + prediction

By on December 25, 2016

Lucas-Perez arsenal

Arsenal will be looking to secure a much-needed win when we welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Emirates on Boxing Day.

Our title challenge has been derailed following disappointing back-to-back 2-1 defeats at Everton and Manchester City over the past 11 days and to make matters worse we took the lead in both games.

We were sitting top of the table two weeks ago after beating Stoke but we head in to the Boxing Day fixtures sitting fourth and nine points adrift of Chelsea so anything other than a win tomorrow and we can pretty much forget the title for another year.

Obviously we should be confident of beating West Brom at home but don’t kid yourself if you expect this to be an easy game. The Baggies are a difficult side to beat and currently sit eighth in the division so the boys can’t take them too lightly.

Team News

Ramsey is back in contention after returning to full training on Friday. The Welsh international had been nursing a hamstring injury but he’ll be back in the squad on Monday which will be a big boost.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is out after picking up a hamstring injury at City but the good news is that it’s not serious and he could be available to take on Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.

Mustafi is getting close to full fitness and may also be in contention for the visit of Palace but he remains on the sidelines for now along with Mertesacker – who’s still working on his fitness following a serious knee injury.

Welbeck handed us a huge boost after returning to full training on Friday but the attacker is still well short of match fitness so he’s out along with Cazorla – who won’t be available until at least February.

As for West Brom, they will hand a late fitness test to James Morrison as he’s feeling the effects of flu but Jonny Evans should be back in the squad after a calf problem.

Preferred line-up

I’d like to see Gibbs given a chance at left-back as Monreal has been suspect all season and was at fault for Sterling’s winner against City last week so it’s time for a change. If Rambo is fit them I’d love him to start alongside Xhaka as that partnership has a lot of potential.

With The Ox out Wenger will probably go with Iwobi on the left again but what has Perez got to do to get his chance? Score a hat-trick in the Champions League? Oh, he did that and has been rewarded with a grand total of 2 minutes playing time in the last three games. Give the lad a chance FFS.

This would be my line-up:

Prediction

It’s difficult to know how we’ll respond to the recent disappointments. I wouldn’t be surprised if we came flying out the blocks and blew West Brom away, but you wouldn’t put it past us to produce another laboured performance and barely get out of second gear.

You’d like to think Arsene Wenger has had enough time to pick the players up and get the boys focussed again so I’m going to back Arsenal to secure a vital 2-0 win tomorrow. Arsenal 2-0 West Brom

Everyone at Arsenal Station would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Arsenal Fanatik » Preview: Arsenal v WBA, team news, Perez to start + prediction

  2. paul35mm

    December 25, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Alexis is being given all kinds of credit for revitalizing Arsenal’s title hopes and pundits wax eloquent about his impact from a central striking role. The reality is, Arsenal have two points fewer this year than at the exact same point last season with Olivier Giroud as their central striker.

    While Mesut Ozil is scoring more, he’s providing far fewer assists. While Alexis is scoring a little more and Walcott is scoring significantly more, Giroud isn’t scoring at all as he isn’t playing. This from a player who scored 22 in all competitions last year.

    Arsenal have scored more goals against weaker opponents this year, but they have not done nearly as well against the top six as last season. Their lack of aerial threat and physical presence, as well as their ability to hold the ball up against teams that press them high up the pitch is one of the problems with playing without a player like Giroud.

    Arsenal need to win both of their next to games to do better this season than last. Their title hopes do not depend on two wins against Palace and West Brom, but if pundits are to maintain their “Arsenal are better with Alexis up top” rhetoric, Arsenal need to show that on the field. To date, they haven’t.

    Against West Brom Giroud should lead the line. The Baggies will defend deep, prevent balls in behind, and be very physical with Alexis, Ozil, Walcott, and Iwobi. They need a forward who can stand up to the battering.

    This is the wrong game to bring in Perez, though Gibbs might be a better option to defend against Chris Brunt, who’s physical play can bully the Arsenal flair players.

    The result will probably come down to the match official. If the game is called by someone who lets the boys play and slam Arsenal around, the Gunners will struggle to win. If the game is called by a referee that insists the game be played by the rules and calls a tight game, the Baggies will lose by three.

    A late penalty against Gabriel born of frustration at being manhandled all game could decide things. A soft sending off against either Xhaka or Coquelin is also something that could give West Brom a win. Barring referee intervention it is impossible to imagine a WBA win in this one, even if Arsenal show up flat.

  3. Adamu Abubakar

    December 25, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I am not happy that Ramsey is back.

  4. Adamu Abubakar

    December 25, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    MY PREFERRED11
    Cech
    Bellerin Holding Koscielny Monreal

    Elneny Xhakabooooom

    Theo Ozil Iwobi

    Alexis

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