Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Baggies look to derail Gunners' momentum

Match preview of the Premier League clash between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Monday evening.

Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Baggies look to derail Gunners' momentum
Photo: David Price / Getty Images

Arsenal will look to pick up their second Premier League win in three games on Monday evening, as West Bromwich Albion roll up the Emirates Stadium.

Since their latest away-day humiliation versus Liverpool before the international break, the Gunners have taken four points from a possible six, and were last weekend unfortunate not to take away the spoils versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after the sort of resolute away showing the North Londoners have been criticised over for not putting in more often.

They face a West Brom side who have suffered polar-opposite form either side of the international hiatus, having taken just a point from their last two outings.

Can Gunners bring Stamford Bridge form home?

After what had seemed to have been a forgone conclusion in terms of the result last time out, Arsene Wenger's side confounded their many growing doubters of their ability to the match up to their top rivals, with a confident and drilled performance in West London.

Despite failing to notch a first win on the Kings Road since 2011, Arsenal won plaudits for their 90 minute display as their much-maligned troops frustrated the Blues and would have deserved the three points, had the goal came.

As the North Londoners return home however, there will more than a hint of anxiety amongst the Gunners' fan-base as to whether than can transfer the positivity and spirit in what has been so far, a tense Emirates atmosphere this term.

Baggies look to halt progress 

West Brom will be keen to play their own part in added to the angst in N5. Tony Pulis' men have struggled in their last two games and were held to a goalless draw versus West Ham United last Saturday.

With a trip southwards to a venue where the Baggies have not taken a single point back to the West Midlands with them in seven years, further hardship could be on the cards.

The Baggies however continue to have the tools to surprise on the road, as The Reds and Tottenham Hotspur and will attest to in recent years. Despite the Emirates being far from a happy hunting ground for West Brom, the lingering potential for a poisonous atmosphere to descend once more could yet aid the visitors.  

Barry set for milestone

Monday games is set to signify a momentus day in the English top-flight. Gareth Barry will play his 633rd Premier League game, overtaking Ryan Giggs as the player with most appearances in the top tier.

Since signing a one-year deal at the Hawthorns last month after completing a move from Everton, the 36 year-old has cemented his place in Pulis' central midfield, after Darren Fletcher moved to the Potteries this summer.

Since debuting in 1998, Barry has played for four separate Premier League clubs, scoring 52 times. The midfielder has 53 caps for England where he has found the net three times for The Three Lions.

Monday is set to be a special night for the league veteran, despite suggestions from the playing fraternity he could have another three seasons left in him.

Can visitors remedy travel-sickness?

As documented then, West Brom's record versus their opponents on Monday leaves much to be desired.

In their last six meetings, the Baggies have failed to take a single point away with them and have scored just once in that period, that being on the final day of the 2014/15 campaign in a 4-1 defeat.

If however, Baggies' boss Pulis is of the superstitious kind, when the two meet on Monday, it will signal seven years to the day when West Brom stunned Arsenal 3-2 on September 25 2010.

On that occasion, three second half goals from Peter Odemwingie and Gonzalo Jara Reyes gave West Brom a two-nil lead before former Gunner Jerome Thomas scored what turned out to be the winner, as Roberto di Matteo's men held off a late fightback courtesy of a Samir Nasri brace. 

Team News

With Mesut Özil fully fit for the hosts, Wenger must decide whether to bring the German attacker back into the starting XI, in the face of an improved showing without the former Real Madrid man.

Alexis Sánchez played 90 minutes against Doncaster Rovers last Tuesday night with the Chilean expected to start and could lead the line in the absence of the injured Danny Welbeck, who is out until after the latest international break with a groin strain.

As are midfielder Francis Coquelin and defender Calum Chambers who miss out with hip and hamstring injuries respectively. Santi Cazorla remains a long-term absentee. 

Pulis must elect whether to re-call Gareth McAuley for his for start of the season after injury, as the Baggies boss eases the veteran Northern Irishman back into action. 

West Brom are also sweating on the fitness of a their key midfield trio. Chris Brunt has a calf strain, whilst Oliver Burke and Nacer Chadli have hamstring issues. All three will be assessed late on.