Arsenal vs West Brom Preview Dec. 8

by Punter's Hero on December 8, 2012

in Football, Latest News

It’s not often that Arsenal is looking up the Premier League table at West Brom, but that’s the case this Saturday December 8 when the 10th-place Gunners host fifth-place West Brom at the Emirates Stadium in London. Arsenal has been struggling since the season began and a loss here could see them drop into the lower half of the standings. After 15 league contests Arsenal has just five wins to go along with six draws and four losses for 21 points out of a possible 45 and are 15 adrift of league-leading Manchester United. They have 24 goals for and 16 against.

Bookmaker William Hill has the latest odds of an Arsenal win at 4/7 with a West Brom victory at 5/1 and a draw at 14/5.

West Brom sits in fifth place with eight wins, two draws and five losses for 26 points and has scored 24 goals while allowing 19 against. Even if they happen to lose this match they’ll still be ahead of Arsenal. They sit 10 points behind Man United, but aren’t realistically in the title race. West Brom would be happy to finish in the top four though and grab a spot in the Champions League next season.

Arsenal blew a 1-0 lead against Olympiakos in a Champions League encounter in Athens during the week and ended up losing 2-1. They were also beaten 2-0 at home by Swansea last weekend in a league match. Manager Arsene Wenger knows his club needs to take all three points here as there’s a lot of pressure from the supporters for him to resign or be sacked. In total, they’ve won just two out of their last eight games. Wenger’s team is five points out of the last Champions League spot and he says there’s plenty of time to make up the difference and close the gap. However, he says that every week and the players don’t seem to do anything about it.

There are still 24 games to go and it’s likely that Arsenal will get better as the season progresses, but they need to start playing a lot better if they hope to climb the table. However, the game on Saturday is going to be a tough one especially since they’re missing some top players due to injury. England international winger Theo Walcott has been ruled out of the contest and so has German international forward Lukas Podolski. Walcott has a calf injury while Podolski’s got a hamstring problem.

It also looks like defenders Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny will also miss the match with injuries. There’s a possibility that midfielder Abou Diaby and defender Andre Santos could make the bench. On the positive side, midfielder Tomas Rosicky returned to the team and played his first game of the season against Olympiakos. He made an impact straight away by scoring Arsenal’s lone goal.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke has seen his team struggle lately after getting the season off to a flying start. They lost their last two matches to Stoke and Swansea and have slipped down to fifth place after being as high as third earlier on. Clarke said all teams have slumps, even the top ones, and it’s next to impossible to win every game. However, he stresses that he doesn’t want the current losing streak to be extended to three games.

Clarke has a healthy squad to select his starting 11 from as the only player missing seems to be Ben Foster, his number one goalkeeper. Foster recently had another operation on his groin and is still in rehab. Expect Boaz Myhill to get the call between the posts. Clarke made the mistake of resting forward Peter Odemwingie as well as midfielders Chris Brunt and James Morrison and paid for it with a loss. That was bad management on his part and it’s going to be tough to get a wing at the Emirates.
Look for Arsenal to bounce back with a win here while West Brom continues to struggle.

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