The Gunners have lost just one of their past eight league matches as they seek to try and climb above either Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the top four. With the Blues playing four fixtures in the space of eight days, the London club will know that this week represents a big chance to move back into the Champions League spots for next season.
West Brom certainly won't be slouches in this one, having surprised many with their strong performances throughout the 2012-13 season.
Despite the Baggies dropping off lately—winning just three times in 2013 so far—they'll still be a tough team for the Gunners to get past.
Who's going to emerge in the winners circle this week? Read on for a full preview including all the necessary details, viewing information and predictions.
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Start time: 10:00 a.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local time)
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England
Live Stream and TV Info
According to Live Soccer TV, coverage of this game is available via Fox Soccer Channel, TalkSport Radio and FOX Deportes in the United States.
A live stream can be seen through Fox Soccer 2Go in the U.S.
2012-13 EPL Season so Far
|West Bromwich Albion||Arsenal|
|Position||8th, 44 points||5th, 53 points|
W13, D5, L13
(W9, D2, L4 at home)
W15, D8, L7
(W6, D5, L4 away)
|Goals For/Against||41 for, 41 against||59 for, 33 against|
|Last 5||W2, D1, L2||W4, D0, L1|
Key Player to Watch: Romelu Lukaku, West Bromwich Albion
Currently on loan from Chelsea, Belgian international Romelu Lukaku has been in devastating form for the Baggies this year—netting 13 goals and two assists in his 28 appearances so far.
He has been the go-to man at the top of the attack all season for West Brom and will likely be their biggest goal-scoring threat against the Gunners.
Arsenal's defense has shown vulnerability this season against quick, disciplined attacking raids, and in front of their home fans, West Brom should be more than capable of throwing the ball forward.
His last two home games have seen him chalk up three goals and single-handedly win games against both Sunderland and Swansea. Thus, there is little doubt that at home, Lukaku is capable of giving the Gunners defenders some real problems throughout this one.
Arsenal will need to be physical across the back and not allow Lukaku any time in the box, for as he's shown this year, he will find the back of the net.
Three Stats to Consider
13. Arsenal have conceded just 13 goals away from home this season in their 15 games compared to 20 goals conceded at the Emirates Stadium.
3. One of every three home games this year sees West Brom keep a clean sheet, with Arsenal also averaging one in every three for the season.
2-1. West Brom have won 2-1 at home four times this year whilst Arsenal have lost by that margin in three of their away fixtures as well.
All statistics courtesy of SoccerStats.com
With the Gunners literally gunning for a top-four spot and not forced to play any European games during the week, it's hard to see them being beaten in this one—even if they are playing at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies have been strong this year, but they have very little to play for now having slipped away from a possible top-six finish and will simply be playing for pride. That's not to suggest they won't be trying, but compared to Arsenal, they don't have the same incentive here.
Arsene Wenger has already told his team that how they perform over the last few weeks will decide who stays and goes over the summer transfer window (per Sky Sports), so expect the Gunners to come out very strong and disciplined in this one.
That should be enough to see them over the line here and keep their dreams of a top-four finish alive.
Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 0, Arsenal 1
Hit me up on Twitter for more sports goodness: Follow @dantalintyre