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Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Arsenal will be looking to make it three Premier League victories in a row when they travel to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday night.

The Gunners have beaten Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion in their last two games to move into 13th position in the table, but West Brom remain in 19th, having collected just eight points from 16 matches.


Match preview

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce pictured on December 20, 2020© Reuters

West Brom entered Tuesday's clash with Leeds United off the back of an excellent point at Liverpool and would have been looking to record their first home victory since the end of November.

Leeds ran riot at the Hawthorns, though, scoring five times without reply, and it remains to be seen whether new head coach Sam Allardyce can get a tune out of his players against the Gunners.

A record of one win, five draws and 10 defeats has brought the Baggies eight points, leaving them in 19th position, five points from the safety of 17th place, which is currently occupied by Brighton.

There is still plenty of time for things to change, but it remains to be seen whether Allardyce is given the funds required to improve a struggling squad during the January transfer window.

West Brom are actually unbeaten in their last three Premier League home games with Arsenal, though, recording two wins in the process, and they have performed impressively against Manchester City and Liverpool over the last couple of weeks.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on December 29, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal, as mentioned, will enter their first match of 2021 off the back of successive wins, overcoming Chelsea on Boxing Day before recording a 1-0 victory at Brighton on Tuesday night.

Head coach Mikel Arteta had been under huge pressure earlier this month, but there have been signs of progress in their last two matches, with a number of youngsters taking their opportunities to impress.

Three of Arsenal's next four matches in all competitions are at home, and a win at the Hawthorns would certainly hand them confidence ahead of a run of potentially-winnable fixtures.

That said, there is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing campaign for the club thus far, having picked up just 20 points from their 16 matches to sit down in 13th position.

The Gunners are actually only nine points off the top four at this stage, but it is very difficult to imagine them being in contention for a Champions League spot come the end of the campaign.

West Bromwich Albion Premier League form: LLDLDL

Arsenal Premier League form: LLDLWW
Arsenal form (all competitions): LDLLWW


Team News

Bukayo Saka pictured celebrating after scoring for Arsenal on October 4, 2020© Reuters

West Brom will again be without the services of Conor Townsend through injury, while Jake Livermore is still absent as he serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Kieran Gibbs is also a doubt to face his former club, having picked up a thigh injury ahead of the Leeds clash, while Kyle Bartley and Hal Robson-Kanu are likely to be unavailable.

Allardyce is expected to recall Matheus Pereira to his starting XI on Saturday, while Branislav Ivanovic and Filip Krovinovic are also in contention. The experienced manager is likely to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes, though, despite the disappointing showing against Leeds.

As for Arsenal, Thomas Partey and Reiss Nelson are both still absent through injury, while Gabriel Magalhaes will again miss out, with the centre-back recently testing positive for coronavirus.

Willian and David Luiz should be available following illness, although it would not be a surprise to see both players on the bench as the team have performed impressively without them.

Bukayo Saka is expected to be fit despite picking up a slight issue against Brighton, meaning that the Gunners could be unchanged from Tuesday's clash. Alexandre Lacazette for Gabriel Martinelli is a possibility, but the former has been excellent since his return from injury and could therefore keep his spot.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O'Shea, Peltier; Robinson, Pereira, Sawyers, Gallagher, Diangana; Grant

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang


SM words green background

We say: West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Arsenal

West Brom will be determined to bounce back from their heavy defeat to Leeds, but it is difficult to back the Baggies on Saturday night. Arsenal have shown improvement in their last two matches, and we fancy the Gunners to claim all three points courtesy of a narrow success.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:428711:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: West Brom vs Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion
9.5%
Draw
15.3%
Arsenal
75.1%
189
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West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce pictured on December 20, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City26195252163662
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd25147453322149
3Leicester CityLeicester25154644271749
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham2613674031945
5Chelsea25127641251643
6Liverpool25117745341140
7Everton2412483733440
8Aston Villa24123938261239
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs24106837271036
10Leeds UnitedLeeds26112134344-135
11Arsenal25104113126534
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2697102733-634
13Crystal Palace2595112943-1432
14Southampton2586113143-1230
15Burnley2577111830-1228
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton26511102633-726
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2675142744-1726
18Fulham25410112132-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2638152055-3517
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2532201541-2611

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