Preview: West Brom v Arsenal

West Brom host Arsenal in their final Premier League match of 2017 desperate to pull themselves out of the relegation places.

Premier League
Date: 31 December 2017
Match Day 21
Kick-off: 18H30 local time
Venue: The Hawthorns
Referee: M. Dean
Assistants: S. Long, I. Hussin
Fourth official: C. Kavanagh

Head-to-head summary: 


West Brom        128       33     28     67
Arsenal              128       67     28     33  

Previous encounter: 

Arsenal 2-0 West Brom 25/09/17 (Premier League)

Arsenal goalscorers: A. Lacazette (20', PG 67')

Players to watch: 

There have been few bright sparks in an otherwise miserable season for the Baggies, with strikers Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez with just two goals apiece for the season while Salomon Rondon has three.

Arsenal have match-winners all over the park, much like Alexandre Lacazette, who scored twice in the last game these two sides played.

Alexis Sanchez, meanwhile, scored a brace in the 3-2 defeat of Crystal Palace, where Shkodran Mustafi was also on target.

Team form and manager quotes: 

While West Brom come into this game, second from bottom on the Premier League standings, with just two wins all season, Arsenal are well placed in six at this half-way stage in the season.

The Baggies have not won in 19 matches in all competitions, with Alan Pardew struggling to turn the side around after taking over in in December – and overseeing three losses and two draws – although that did included holding Everton to a goalless Boxing Day draw.

Arsene Wenger's side have not lost in their last seven games, and last beat Palace, after being held to a 3-3 draw with Liverpool.

Ahead of the game, Pardew said: "We need to deliver with a risk-taking agenda. You can't win games if you don't take risks and this team was definitely on low-risk football.

"I'm trying to change that and we're definitely taking more risks now. I think that will reward us in the goalscoring column and hopefully not hurt us where we've been really tight. We've had three clean sheets since I've been here. We're really sound at the back."

After edging Palace, Wenger said: "At 3-2 of course we were a bit nervy because we have had some bad experiences here, and Crystal Palace have made some results in the final minutes of games, recently they won a game 2-1 when they were 1-0 down in the 90th minute. 

"So overall I feel it was a bit nervy, but I'm happy with the performance we had. We controlled the game well and played in a very convincing way."

Team news: 

West Brom forward Salomon Rondon (hamstring) is a doubt while Nacer Chadli is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after a recurrence of a hip injury, alongside James Morrison (Achilles).

Arsenal will be without Nacho Monreal (ankle), Olivier Giroud (hamstring) and Aaron Ramsey (hamstring).