West Bromwich Albion host Arsenal at the Hawthorns on Saturday night as Sam Allardyce, who has yet to win since taking charge of the Baggies, looks to earn three points.
Their task of avoiding relegation looks very difficult as West Brom sit in 19th and five points off safety – oh and they also have the worst defensive record in the league right now.
Mikel Arteta’s side returned to shape towards the end of 2020, having won their last two games as the Spaniard’s recent faith in youth paid off.
Those six points saw Arsenal move up the standings to 13th, and another win could take them back to the top half.
When does the kick-off take place? Saturday January 2
What time is the kick-off? 8:00 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Hawthorns
TV channel / live broadcast? BT Sport (UK)
Arbitrator? Martin atkinson
Allardyce is without defender Kyle Bartley who is still out due to a calf injury. This game is also coming too soon for defenseman Conor Townsend, who is not due back until mid-January. Kieran Gibbs is a doubt with a shot, as is Hal Robson-Kanu who sits on the sidelines with a wrist issue.
Jake Livermore will serve the third of his three match bans after receiving a red card for a bad tackle against Jack Grealish.
Arsenal have their own issues, with center-back Gabriel testing positive for the coronavirus this week. He is forced to isolate himself, excluding him from it. Arteta is hopeful that David Luiz and Willian both recovered from the illness in time to play a role here.
Thomas Partey remains in the physio room, while Bukayo Saka is expected to be fine after Arteta revealed his replacement after a strike against Brighton midweek was just a precaution.
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West Brom: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Peltier; Sawyers; Pereira, Phillips, Gallagher, Diangana, Robinson.
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang.
West Brom were on the wrong side of a midweek beating, as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds hit them for five in a show to forget. Allardyce has only managed one goal and one point out of nine available to him so far, although that point has come to Anfield.
Having conceded nine goals in his three games in charge, we have yet to see the tight defenses that usually come with a Sam Allardyce side.
Arsenal fans walk into this one with unusual confidence, given their form the rest of the season, having won two on the rebound. A 3-1 victory over London rivals Chelsea was as unexpected as it was welcomed by the red side of the capital.
Having opted for the talented Emile Smith Rowe, Saka and Gabriel Martinelli behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in these two victories, Arteta’s faith in youth was rewarded.
West Brom 0-5 Leeds (29/12)
Liverpool 1-1 West Brom (27/12)
West Brom 0-3 Aston Villa (20/12)
Manchester City 1-1 West Brom (15/12)
Newcastle 2-1 West Brom (12/12)
Brighton 0-1 Arsenal (29/12)
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea (26/12)
Arsenal 1-4 Manchester City (22/12)
Everton 2-1 Arsenal (19/12)
Arsenal 1-1 Southampton (16/12)
If Leeds and Aston Villa’s recent successes in breaking the Baggies’ backline are anything to do with Arsenal should pull off a goal or two.
Arsenal however worked hard against Brighton midweek ahead of late winner Alexandre Lacazette meaning they could do with Aubameyang to find his shooting shoes.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Arsenal