The 2011-2012 Premier League season will be over in four days.
For FC Manchester United and FC Manchester City, the last round is still important. The Red Devils could, technically, score nine goals against Sunderland and win the title on goal difference.
For other teams, like Bolton, it’s a survival round. They have to beat Stoke City and hope Arsenal beat West Brom in order to secure their place in the Premier League next season.
But for West Brom, this last game is of little importance. They are in solid 10th place. (I am assuming Man United will beat Sunderland, who are 11th trailing by two points.)
This game is more important for Arsenal as the fight for the fourth spot in the Premier League is still fierce. The Gunners are third right now but only two points ahead of fifth-place Newcastle United.
A lot must happen for Arsenal to lose this comfortable advantage, but in football anything is possible. Tottenham, who play at home, must beat Fulham; Newcastle must win the match against Everton and Arsenal must lose to West Brom.
Naturally, Arsenal will do their best to avoid such a turnout of events.
Where: The Hawthorns Stadium, West Bromwich, Sandwell, England
When: Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
Watch: MSG Plus, Fox Sports Net
Arsenal’s last win was a month ago against Wolverhampton. The Gunners won away 3-0. They have won two of their last five games, losing at home to only Wigan.
Arsenal had their ups and downs during this season with varying results but have managed to stay afloat, drawing against remodeled Chelsea on April 21.
West Brom have been pretty inconsistent winning three of their last five games, occasionally beating teams from the upper half of the table.
The last time West Brom and Arsenal met was on Nov. 5, 2011—an unimpressive game for the Baggies as they did practically nothing to stop Arsenal from walking away with the three points. The Gunners won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium with Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta scoring.
The last time Arsenal played West Brom at the Hawthorns was a little more interesting. The Baggies had a comfortable 2-0 lead only to lose it in the second half. In a window of eight minutes, they let Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie score to finish the match at 2-2. That game was not representative of the level of play, though. Arsenal had 63-percent possession of the ball and 11 shots on goal compared to three for West Brom.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, West Bromwich Albion 0
Arsenal have a more important reason to have to win. I don’t really expect a shutout victory because West Brom won’t go down in the last game without a fight.
They have Peter Odemwingie, but Arsenal have Robin van Persie, who has been a prolific goalscorer this season.