Arsenal will look to continue their fine form when they welcome Roy Hodgson’s West Brom to the Emirates on Saturday, kick off 3pm.
There is no doubt that things have changed at the Emirates in recent weeks and their superb victory over Chelsea last weekend proved their doubters wrong. One could not help notice their continued defensive problems though and any team has the capability to cause the Gunners problems at the minute it seems.
That is what West Brom will be clinging onto as they visit North London but without their star striker Shane Long. The Rep of Ireland front man has been ruled out of the play off with Estonia and is unlikely to feature for another few weeks yet. The Baggies were easily beaten by Liverpool last week and will be aiming to provide Arsenal with more of a test.
Despite their scoreless draw during the week, Arsenal have won three consecutive league games and climbed up the table. Wenger’s men will know victory would move them level on points with Chelsea, such a position Gunners fans could only dream about after the 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford.
West Brom have good memories at the Emirates having taken all three points last season at the stadium whilst picking up a draw at home, bringing their tally to four points against Arsenal last campaign. They also have an added incentive to get something from the game as a win would move them into the top half.
For once, Arsene Wenger doesn’t have any new injuries problems with Chamakh, Gibbs, Sagna and Wilshere still side lined thanks to long term injuries. Thomas Vermaelen could start in defence and provide a timely boost to a fragile Gunners back line. The Belgian put in a commanding performance against Marseille and if he can form a partnership with either Mertesacker or Koscienly and stay fit then Arsenal might climb even further up the table.
The Baggies have a few more injury headaches though as Roy Hodgson has to deal with the absence of Long plus the injury to his skipper Paul Scharner, who picked up an injury last week. Striker Peter Odemwingie will face a late fitness test and if he fails to pass it then Simon Cox could start.
Arsenal have only kept two clean sheets in the 10 Premier League meetings with West Brom while the Baggies are yet to shut the Gunners out.
Match Odds: Arsenal 2/5 Draw 7/2 West Brom 7/1