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Cigarettes, Rotation and Away win records – WBA Away Preview

 Before we go into our match preview for West Brom I’d like to express my disgust in Jack Wilshere. How can he as a role model, a leader of the team and the brightest midfielder in England (in my opinion) do something as despicable as he has? I don’t want him in my team anymore. I want him out of the club and I want him out now. Oh, what’s that? He got pictured having a cigarette?

just expected from the outcry of the media that he was caught either lining up or injecting something into his veins. Who cares if he has a few cigarettes now and again? I certainly don’t. As long as he is in our midfield for years to come I will love the man. And as for his picture of Zidane smoking on Twitter, genius. 

Anyway on to West Brom. After playing the best first half of football I’ve seen us play in the Champions League in a long time we will surely be confident of taking the three points back to London and setting a new club record of nine straight away victories after equaling our best while beating Swansea last Saturday. We’ve been in sensational form in the league since our defeat on the first day and confidence will be sky high. Olivier Giroud is playing outstandingly and coupled with Aaron Ramsey who in my opinion is the most in form midfielder in Europe at the moment we’re in good shape. We still have Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, The Ox & Lukas Podolski to come back from injury and the squad will be in even better shape come that time. What a great selection headache for Arsene to have. Tomas Rosicky is fit again as is Mikel Arteta so there could be some rotation over the coming weeks to the midfield. After our defensive frailties over the last few seasons we seem to have two rocks in the centre of our defence in Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. This season has a distinct feeling of 07/08 about it, I just hope it ends in a rather different scenario than our captain staying sat on the floor at the end of a game shaking his head in disbelief.  

That said, West Brom will be riding high on confidence after their shock victory away at Manchester United. Both goalscorers, Amalfitano & Berahnio are set to start for the Boing Boing Baggies, while Ben Foster, Matej Vydra, Zoltan Gera and George Throne will all be on the sidelines.  West Brom may be confident after beating Sunderland 3-0 at home on Paolo Di Canio’s last game in charge of Sunderland. Stéphane Sessénong is an unbelievable signing for West Brom and will provide them with a great outlet for attack. 

Stats (OPTA)

The Gunners have scored a league-high four goals in the opening 15 minutes of Barclays Premier League games this season.

No side has seen their opponents booked (15) or sent off (1) more often than Arsenal in the PL this season.

Five of West Brom’s six goals this season have arrived in the second half of matches, with three of these coming in the final 15 minutes.

Head to Head

Arsenal have not lost any of their last six visits to The Hawthorns in all competitions (W4, D2).

The two sides drew in the Capital One Cup less than a fortnight ago, with Arsenal winning the penalty shoot-out.

West Brom 

West Brom have lost two of their first three home matches in this season’s Premier League – their only win came against bottom club Sunderland.

The Baggies have scored fewer than half as many goals as Arsenal (6:13) in the Premier League this season.

Saido Berahino, who scored his first Premier League goal in last week’s famous win at Manchester United, has already scored against Arsenal this season in the Capital One Cup.

Morgan Amalfitano has scored in his last two Premier League appearances for West Brom.

Team News

West Brom will be without on-loan winger Scott Sinclair after he picked up a hamstring injury in last weekend’s game at Manchester United.

Saido Berahino, who replaced Sinclair at Old Trafford, is set to get the nod to start after scoring the winner in West Brom’s famous win.

Chris Brunt and Nicolas Anelka are both back in training after groin and foot injuries respectively, but West Brom boss Steve Clarke is expected to keep faith with the side that won at United.

Ben Foster, Matej Vydra, Zoltan Gera and George Thorne all remain on the sidelines for the Baggies.

Arsenal

Arsenal have won five league games in a row, something they didn’t achieve last season. They are the only team to score in all six of their Premier League games this season.

The Gunners have won their last eight away league games in a row, equalling their best run in the Premier League. The all-time record for consecutive away wins in the Premier League is 11 by Chelsea in 2008. 

Aaron Ramsey has scored eight goals in his last eight appearances for Arsenal.

Team News

Arsenal will be without full-back Bacary Sagna after he was ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Sagna picked up the injury in the midweek UEFA Champions League defeat by Napoli meaning Carl Jenkinson is expected to deputise at right-back.

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski are all still sidelined for Arsene Wenger’s men.

The game has come too soon for Santi Cazorla (ankle) and Yaya Sanogo (back) with the pair expected to be available after the international break.

Betting Tips

Arsenal to win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 ; 9-2 SKYBET

Aaron Ramsey to score in 90 mins; 5/2 SKYBET

Olivier Giroud to score and Arsenal to win; 6/4 SKYBET.

Ryan Barker 


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