On the final day of last season, Arsenal travelled to the Hawthorns in need of a victory to secure their place in the Champions League for this campaign. After a nerve-wracked 90 minutes, Laurent Koscielny’s second-half winner gave the Gunners a 3-2 victory and secured their place in Europe’s top competition ahead of North London rivals Tottenham.
That finale came after Arsene Wenger’s men had earlier hauled back what looked like an impossible gap between them and the Lilywhites, one that ominous for Tottenham fans, looks like it may just repeat itself 12 months on. After moving seven points ahead of Arsenal after their 2-1 victory over them at White Hart Lane in early March the gap now stands at just four points with the Gunners having one game in hand.
Indeed, for all the furore surrounding Arsenal’s failure in the cup competitions this season, their league form of late has been consistent, with last week’s dismantling of Reading their sixth win in eight league matches. With confidence rapidly rising at the Emirates, Wenger will be keen not to let their recent momentum slip in the trip to a West Brom side that should have more or less have downed tools after an impressive debut campaign under the stewardship of Steve Clarke.
The Gunners will continue to be without England pair Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott but both should be fit to return for the next game at home to Norwich, while Nacho Monreal will battle it out with Kieran Gibbs for the left-back birth. Abou Diaby remains Arsenal’s only injury absentee.
Meanwhile, the Baggies will be without midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, who begins a three-match ban following his farcical sending off at West Ham last week. However, influential midfielder James Morrison does return after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.
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