Arsenal will be looking to take their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven games by claiming a fourth successive win over West Bromwich Albion, who are keen to improve their home record.
The West Midlands club have won just one of their six matches on their own turf, conceding three in each of their four defeats. Their defensive record on the road is decidedly better, but that counted for little in their last match at Manchester United as a determined rearguard action was unable to hold out for any longer than 53 minutes. Although they are at home, Head Coach Tony Pulis may again decide that soaking up pressure and trying to snatch something on the break is the way to go here.
The key moment of the game at Old Trafford was Saido Berahino’s failure to level the scores with a golden opportunity, as the striker put a close range header well off target when he seemed certain to convert Craig Dawson’s fine goal. Berahino has now scored just five goals in his last 20 outings and undoubtedly seems a little low on confidence, so it is vitally important for West Brom for that to be restored soon or they could struggle in the weeks ahead.
Although they are only kept off the top of the Premier League by confidence and that their form of late has been reasonable, the international break came at a good time for Arsenal, as allowed them to recooperate somewhat after a demanding few weeks which had seen them beset by a succession of injuries. Suffering a heavy defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League inevitably hindered them for the North London derby the following weekend.
The Gunners were outplayed by Tottenham for much of the game, but found some spirit to bounce back from going a goal behind. Manager Arsene Wenger also deserves his fair share of credit after his substitutions made the difference, with Kieran Gibbs the unlikely man to net the equaliser shortly after coming off the bench. They can expect to have most of the possession here; it will just be down to Mesut Ozil to provide that vital bit of incisiveness in the final third.
Chris Brunt will feature for West Brom after recovering from a thigh problem, but they will be without defender Gareth McAuley, who serves a one-match ban.
Hector Bellerin is back for Arsenal and may replace Mathieu Debuchy at right-back. However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are among the players still out.
Last Meeting: Arsenal controlled most of the game in November 2014, but only emerged with a slender 1-0 victory against Alan Irvine’s side, who created very little in the way of scoring chances. Danny Welbeck scored the only goal on the hour mark, powerfully heading past Ben Foster, with his team narrowly escaping late on when Saido Berahino hit the crossbar.
Played for both – Nwankwo Kanu: The Nigerian striker joined Arsenal in 1999 after an unsuccessful spell at Inter. He made an impression early on and had his finest hour in 1999-00, scoring a hat-trick to earn his side a memorable victory at Chelsea, later going on to win the Premier League and FA Cup twice each. He moved to West Brom in 2004, scoring nine goals in 58 matches before leaving after their relegation in 2006.