Since their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion have been very predictable in their results. While they have won against weaker teams like Watford, Burnley and Swansea City quite convincingly, they have lost against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United quite expectantly.
Their next opponents could be counted as one of the stronger teams although their displays have taken a nose-five in the past two league games. Albion visit Emirates on Boxing Day to face Arsenal.
The Baggies, however, don’t have the best of records against the Gunners, as their only away win against Arsenal came six years back in 2010 and Arsenal have lost just once against them in their last 11 fixtures.
Given the tactics deployed by Tony Pulis, which almost stopped high-flying Chelsea at Hawthorns, Albion could be a tough nut to crack for Arsenal.
Unlike Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion have little to no injury concerns and Tony Pulis will be having a strong first team to choose from for the Emirates fixture. Barring Jonny Evans, who is fast recovering from his calf injury, Pulis should be having his regular back four in front of the goal.
Ben Foster has been one of the best goalies in the league and there was nothing he could have really done against United last week. He’ll start under the bar.
Allan Nyom and Craig Dawson are expected to start on the defensive flanks. Dawson was really unfortunate for the wicked deflection for the second goal by Zlatan. He will be hoping nothing such happens this time. After his nervy game last week, he is expected to stand up strong against Walcott.
Olsson and McAuley had a decent game at the central defence last time as they stood strong to Zlatan. If not for the early second half goal, Albion could have made a comeback. They are expected to start this time too.
Pulis should start two in the anchor position against an attacking side like Arsenal. And Yacob and Darren Fletcher are expected to take their positions there. They were quite successful in frustrating United players and given Arsenal’s current form, they might just do a similar job against the Gunners.
The number 10 role should be taken by Nacer Chadli. Although he had little or no impact against United, his presence behind Rondon could be lethal against an Arsenal side, whose defence is shambolic at the moment.
The right wing is expected to be taken by Matt Phillips and his duel with Hector Bellerin will be a treat to watch. Against an under confident Nacho Monreal, Chris Brunt could pose threats from his beautiful crosses. Rondon will start up front and will be a menace of an Arsenal backline minus Mustafi.
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