Arsenal welcome the visit of WBA for this evenings encounter, a fixture that is proving to be a must win for The Gunners. The revival of our season has to start quickly, or Arsenal risk dropping out the top 4 altogether and missing out on the all important Champions League football.
West Brom are hardly any pushovers, but a team like Arsenal should be dealing with the sides threats quite comfortably. As we resemble a similar situation to Barcelona in La Liga – until their most recent win of 8-0 – it would be nice if Arsenal responded in the way that the Blaugrana did in their previous game.
Manchester United and also Liverpool are currently hot on Arsenal’s heels and will be hoping Arsenal slip up yet again this evening. United sit just 1 point from Wenger’s Arsenal, however that will be extended to 4 assuming they do the job tonight. Tony Pulis did get the better of Arsene Wenger when these sides first met earlier on in the season, winning 2-1 at the Hawthorns, but Albion haven’t had a victory at the Emirates in 6 years now.
WBA are currently 10 points clear from the bottom three, so effectively the pressure if off for the Albion. However, despite hitting the 40 point mark this season, they have recorded just a single victory away from the Hawthorns since October. The Midlands side are also in a bad run of form, losing 3 from the last 4 fixtures. Arsenal have 5 games to go to secure the top 4 finish, which will be aided with a victory tonight, rising to 3rd.
The good news for the Gunners is that both Wilshere and Cazorla have returned from their injuries, although Cazorla will likely miss out tonight. Wilshere is match fit and has been stated fit by Wenger.
The last time Wilshere played in this fixture, he ended up with the BBC goal of the season, on the last game week of last season, and he’ll be hoping for more of the same. Unsure of how he will fit into the side with Özil, Iwobi and Sanchez combining so effectively, his best bet to play would be in the deeper midfield roles, presumably replacing Elneny or Coquelin at some stage. Personally, I would leave out Coquelin for Wilshere in this game.
“It could be similar [to the Palace game],” he said. “They are very committed, very physical and we are up against a very organised side.
“The pace of our game will be very important, as will the pace of our passing and maybe we can add something in the incisiveness of our play.
“We had a lot of possession [against Palace] and we want to make more of it, but continue to play the way we play and focus on the quality of what we do.”