Arsenal host West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates tonight, in what has swiftly become a must-win game. Manchester United closed the gap between themselves and us to only one point last night, and a failure to secure all three points tonight would put serious doubt on our chances to finish within the Champions League places.
Despite our highly important fixture, attendance is expected to be down this evening, which could have an adverse affect on the players, and West Brom will be hoping to cement their place in the top division for next season. The Baggies sit nine points ahead of Norwich City, who have four matches remaining (and a much worse goal difference), and a three points will almost officially confirm their stay in the PL.
We go into the match with a near-full squad to choose from, with only Flamini and Oxlade unavailable, although Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere will not feature tonight, despite the trio having returned to training in recent weeks.
Arsene Wenger has named an unchanged outfield line-up since beating Everton on March 13, with only Cech coming in for Ospina in goal. We have had at least a week between fixtures in that time however, and I expect the Frenchman to make some changes for tonight’s fixture in order to keep the side fresh.
Aaron Ramsey is likely to start one of our two upcoming fixtures, while Danny Welbeck has had his fitness questioned in recent months, and I believe he will be rested for tonight’s match. On paper, the weekend’s trip to survival-hunting Sunderland looks the tougher tie, so I expect changes to a number of positions.
Predicted starting XI:
Bellerin Gabriel Koscielny Gibbs
Ramsey Ozil Sanchez
This team should be more than competent enough to beat West Brom, but our recent form has been lacklustre, and I predict us to settle for a one-goal victory at 2-1 tonight.