West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal Preview: Pardew desperate for victory as Gunners come to town

West Brom have won two of their last 29 league games. Next up, Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal Preview: Pardew desperate for victory as Gunners come to town
Mustafi and Rodriguez battle at the Emirates earlier this season (photo: Getty Images / Michael Steele)

Alan Pardew is still craving a first win as West Bromwich Albion boss, with his side ready to take on Arsenal on New Year's Eve. 

Having taken on the role at the start of December, Pardew has seen a month of improvement from the Baggies, but no wins.

They've only been beaten in three of six matches under Pardew so far and have taken credible points from Everton and Liverpool in that period, yet remain without that elusive victory.

Their task isn't made any easier by an Arsenal side unbeaten in seven, recovering well from an early December defeat to Manchester United.

However, three draws in five has frustrated Gunners supporters, leaving them in need of a win to close the gap on fourth placed Liverpool to a point.

Quite the contrast

This fixture last season was one of the Baggies' finest of the season, Tony Pulis' side swatting away the Gunners in a 3-1 victory.

Their pace, guile, decision making and defending was all too much for Arsenal to cope with, Arsene Wenger's men unable to compete with a side they were expected to beat.

However, that was probably the final highlight of Pulis' tenure. He'd win only two more league games in an eight month period before being sacked in late November.

With Pardew winless thus far, West Brom have won two of their last 29 league games. Thankfully for fans of the Midlands side, spreading that abhorrent run across two seasons has allowed them to stay safe from relegation so far.

Team news

The hosts will be without the creative talents of Nacer Chadli, expected to be out for two months after a hip problem flared up once more.

Another issue for West Brom is Salomon Rondon's hamstring issue, sustained against Everton on Boxing Day. He's a doubt for the game.

Arsene Wenger could rest any of his key attacking triumvirate, after all of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil started against Crystal Palace on Thursday.

Given the Gunners face Chelsea on January 3, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Wenger leave out a few of his stars.

Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey are all confirmed absentees.

Where can they go?

A win for Arsenal would move them temporarily above rivals Tottenham Hotspur and into fifth, closing the gap on Liverpool. 

Sitting at the bottom of the table,  a win would spring the Baggies out of the relegation zone and into 17th, whilst a point would place them second bottom.