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WBA-MAD Preview: Arsenal vs Albion
Joseph Chapman looks forward to Albion's trip to the capital
It had to be Jerome Thomas. After being sent off in the Carling Cup encounter between Arsenal and West Brom the season before, the former Gunners winger came back to haunt his old club and ultimately fire the winning goal in a shock result with a frantic finale.
If Thomas was a hero for Albion, Martin Fulop a season later was very much the contrasting zero. The Hungarian goalkeeper gift wrapped the three points for the Londoners in his only Baggies appearance on the final day of the last campaign, as they prepared themselves for the departure of Roy Hodgson. This an example of the gulf in emotions between a 3-2 victory and a 2-3 loss.
In recent years Albion have failed to competed with the top sides of English football, at least with much regularity. However, one win from the past that stands out is a certain 2-1 win over the Gunners at the Hawthorns in 2005. A Darren Carter cracker grabbing all three points late on in that meeting.
This particular fixture places these two footballing sides at either end of the spectrum. The Baggies are currently enjoying their best ever Premier League campaign, totalling 26 points (and eight victories) from their opening 15 games, despite losing their last two. Arsenal, on the other hand, have suffered their worst ever beginning to a Premier League season, currently placed 5 points and 5 places beloew their upcoming opponents. This game follows successive defeats to Swansea and Olympiacos.
Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf), Bacary Sagna (foot) and Laurent Koscielny (thigh) won't be available for Emirates clash, Arsene Wenger has confirmed. The Gunners chief has also mentioned that Andre Santos won't make the forthcoming match, neither will Lukasz Fabianski or Abou Diaby. Don't worry Albion fans, only Giroud, Cazorla, Wilshere, Gervinho etc. to deal with!
Steve Clarke has cleared the whole squad of any injury or illness, bar Ben Foster, for the trip to north London. Foster is making good progress following his recent groin surgery, but the West Ham game on Sunday week is more realistic. Billy Jones is well again following a sickness bug and will contest the right back position with fit again Steven Reid.
Match StatsArsenal haven't won in four, their 5-2 victory over rivals Tottenham on 17 November their last Premier League victory. Notable players that played for both sides: Nwankwo Kanu, Carlos Vela The last time Albion lost two in a row in the PL, they were victorious in their next four matches This fixture historically has provided goals, the last five league games producing 21 goals (Arsenal 13, WBA 8)
With two teams that like to play football this may be an intriguing prospect for the neutral. A number of injuries to notable players may affect the Gunners, but the weakened squad that travelled to Greece midweek allowed the fit regulars to enjoy some much needed rest.
Albion duo Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob will have their work cut out against the trio of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla. The crucial pair are both a booking away from suspensions so there is a requirement of discipline.
This may be deemed biased, but the build up to this game has offered a negative outlook from Arsenal yet a positive one for the Baggies. For this reason, I think Albion will nick a result. There should be goals as well!
Match score: 2-2
How do you think Albion will get fare at The Emirates? Have your say at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD
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