Preview: West Brom v Arsenal

West Brom face a third loss on the trot unless they can produce an upset against Arsenal at home in the Premier League this weekend.

Premier League
Date: 18 March 2017
Match Day 29
Kick-off: 14H30 (GMT+2)
Venue: The Hawthorns

Head-to-head summary:

West Brom 126 32 28 66
Arsenal 126 66 28 32

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 1-0 West Brom 26/12/16 (Premier League)

Arsenal goalscorer: O. Giroud (86′)

Players to watch:

Alexis Sanchez remains Arsenal’s main man, with 17 league goals in 26 appearances, despite his frustrations this season that has seen speculation of his imminent departure from the club. He has remained a constant threat for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners, and will no doubt be vying to add to his tally against the Baggies this weekend.

West Brom are not a squad filled with star names, but Nacer Chadli stands out as someone capable of winning matches on his own, but he will need the full support of his teammates this weekend if he is to be truly effective against the Gunners. The Belgian has netted five goals in his 23 league appearances and also has four assists to his name.

Team form and manager quotes:

While Tony Pulis’ side come into this tie on the back of two losses, a 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 3-0 away loss to Everton that has left them in eighth place with 40 points from their 28 games, Wenger’s charges, thrashed Lincoln City in an FA Cup tie in their last game, that followed two losses – a 3-1 reverse to Liverpool and a 5-1 hammering in the Champions League to Bayern Munich. They are in fifth place on the standings with 50 points.

Ahead of this tie, Pulis said: “They’ve got some fantastic players and they are a team in and around that elite group.

“I wrote down their second team and it’s outstanding at this level, never mind their first team.

“We’ve got some really tough games coming up now. We’ve got five out of the top six teams to play and they will be real tough challenges for us.”

“I’m delighted to be on 40 points. No-one should take away what the players have achieved and what they’ve done.

“But we’ve got to try and get as many points as we possibly can and work as hard as we can to do that.”

Wenger added: “They have a big experience, they are well organised, physically very strong and very efficient on set-pieces.

“I think they’re the team who have scored more goals than anybody else on set-pieces.

“This season they’ve done very well in midfield. They have played very well, and up front they have Hal Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon who have done very well for them as well.

“It’s a very balanced team with a good size who are equipped to deal with the Premier League.

“It’s true that it is tough because West Brom is traditionally always a very difficult game, but as well it’s an opportunity for us to come back to the position that is much closer to Chelsea.”

Team news:

James Morrison faces a late fitness test for the Baggies as he is struggling with an ankle injury but Matt Phillips is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

Arsenal will give late fitness tests to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) and Kieran Gibbs (knock) as Santi Cazorla remains sidelined with a Plantaris injury.