West Brom vs Arsenal preview, betting tips and prediction: Wenger to get one over on old foe Pardew

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Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew have not always seen eye to eye during their careers. It would probably be too much to suggest they are bitter rivals, but there is certainly an edge that goes beyond competitiveness between them. They reignite that on Sunday in the very last Premier League game of 2017 at the Hawthorns where Pardew’s West Brom host Wenger’s Arsenal.

The Baggies are on their a club record winless run having not tasted victory since August. Pardew has not yet had the big impact he had in either of his two previous jobs at Crystal Palace or Newcastle, and it is tough to see him getting his first win in this one. West Brom have shown some quality under his stewardship, holding Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield and drawing at home to Sam Allardyce’s Everton on Boxing Day. Arsenal are still to play their festive fixture away at Crystal Palace on Thursday, but they should have enough quality to take the points from the Midlands.

West Brom have shown they can battle but we think Alexandre Lacazette could be the difference, despite getting six of his eight Premier League goals at the Emirates Stadium so far this season.

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Form

West Brom need to win soon because it is getting desperate. They lost at Swansea, the Premier League’s bottom club, before Paul Clement was sacked a few weeks ago. Defeat at Stoke also killed the chance of any momentum building from the good results against the two Merseyside teams. Pardew has a decent record against Wenger, and he will hope to improve that and his side’s standing in the league table; they are currently 19th, three points from West Ham in the last spot above the dotted line. Victory here, though, would take them out of the bottom three and above the Hammers on goal difference.

As for Arsenal, as mentioned above they are yet to face Crystal Palace at the time of writing in what will be a tough test at Selhurst Park. Goals were an issue for the Gunners until they scored three in a thrilling draw at home to Liverpool last week; they will be keen to keep up that form in front of goal but will need to be better defensively, too. But Wenger will need both Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez firing at the Hawthorns, which was the scene of one of the darkest moments last season; a 3-1 loss in March.

Team News

 

Arsenal do not have any new concerns other than the known long-term absentees. Aaron Ramsey may be back in contention but if not it will provide Jack Wilshere with another opportunity to continue his fine form in central midfield.

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For West Brom, there are no new issues but both Jonny Evans and Allan Nyom are in danger of picking up a suspension as they both have four yellow cards to their name.

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