3:30 AM (AEST) Monday, January 1 at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Round 21 of the English Premier League draws to a close with last placed West Brom playing hosts to the sixth placed powerhouse, Arsenal.
West Brom: Foster; Gibbs, Evans, Hegazi, Dawson; Livermore, Krychowiak, Barry; Rodriguez, Rondon, Phillips.
Arsenal: Cech; Monreal, Koscieiny, Mustafi; Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Bellerin; Sanchez, Lacazette, Ozil.
There have been 127 League games played between these two sides, with the Gunners claiming 65 wins to West Brom’s 34, while 28 games have been drawn. Their last encounter was earlier this season, which saw Arsenal win 2-0.
West Brom made a great start to the season with successive 1-0 victories against Bournemouth and Burnley before a third round 1 all draw with Stoke. However their season has been largely woeful since, picking up just 9 draws and 9 losses. They drew with Stoke, West Ham, Watford, Leicester, Spurs, Newcastle, Palace, Liverpool and Everton, while losing to Brighton 3-1, Arsenal 2-0, Southampton 1-0, Manchester City 3-2, Huddersfield 1-0, Chelsea 4-0, Swansea 1-0, Man U 2-1 and Stoke 3-1.
Arsenal spent plenty of time last season as one of the top 3 teams on the ladder and were looking set to challenge firmly for the top spot, but an inconsistent run home saw them drop down to fifth place on the table by the end of the year. They opened this season with a tough 4-3 win over Leicester City before surprisingly dropping their second round clash with Stoke 1-0. They were then hammered 4-0 by Liverpool before hitting back with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth. After the Gunners played out a scoreless draw with Chelsea, they beat both West Brom and then Brighton 2-0 before dropping their game against the Wasps 2-1. They since beat Everton 5-2 and Swansea 2-1 before going down to Manchester City 3-1. They bounced back with a strong 2-0 win over the Spurs, 1-0 over Burnley and then flogging Huddersfield 5-0. The Gunners then lost to Man U 3-1 before scoring back to back draws with Southampton and the Hammers. After they toppled the lowly Newcastle 1-0, the Gunners drew 3 all with Liverpool and then beat Palace 3-2.
Defensively – Amazingly, these sides have conceded an almost identical number of goals, however Arsenal has scored 37 goals to Albion’s 14.
Gunners should waltz home comfortably.
West Bromwich Albion $5.00