West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Five players under the spotlight

West Brom - The Hawthorns

League leaders Arsenal travel to the Hawthorns this weekend for their Super Sunday game against West Bromwich Albion.

The Gunners squad will be full of confidence coming into the game after putting together an excellent run of form since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.

Steve Clarke’s side will also be on a high after their brilliant win at Old Trafford last weekend, their first there since the 1970s.

This will make for an exciting game with both teams pushing on to try and extend their good run of form.

Despite West Brom’s good win last weekend I can’t look past a win for Arsene Wenger’s men on Sunday. At the moment they look to have too much quality for anybody. I expect Arsenal to retain the top spot in the Premier League and come away from the midlands with all three points.

Odds: West Brom 15/4, Draw 3/1, Arsenal 4/5

Last meeting:

West Brom 1 – 1 Arsenal (AFC win 4-3 on pens) – September 25th 2013, The Hawthorns

A closely fought Capital One Cup third round tie which saw Arsenal triumph in a penalty shoot out after West Brom had leveled the scores near the end of the 90 minutes.

Both sides fielded weakened sides but it was Arsenal’s youngsters that came through in the end to book their place in the next round. Thomas Eisfeld put the Gunners ahead before Saido Berahino equalised for the Baggies.

Five players to watch on Sunday:

Morgan Amalfitano

After his goal at Old Trafford last weekend Amalfitano will be full of confidence along with the rest of his teams. He will be part of a key midfield battle with Arsenal that may very well decide how this game pans. If he can stop Arsenal playing their usual game then he can cause the defence problems. He will have to work hard because the Gunners will have most of the ball during the game.

Mathieu Flamini

After he was signed on free in August there seemed to be a rumble of discontent from supporters about bringing a player back who seemingly walked out on the club five years. But he has proved the doubters wrong and put in a string of impressive performance for the Gunners at a time when injuries thrust him into the first team. He will expected to take up his role of breaking up play and protecting the back four, enabling the likes of Özil and Ramsey to attack freely. His performances are a lot to do with the run Arsenal are currently on.

Nicolas Anelka

The former Arsenal striker will face his old team once again and Arsenal will be aware that he has a habit of scoring against them. He may not have the pace anymore but he can still hurt teams, it will be interesting to see how he plays on Sunday afternoon.

Olivier Giroud

Giroud seems to have improved his game ten fold this season. Last season was his first in the division and he looks to have finally settled in properly and hit a good run of form. He will be happy to be fed assists from Özil, Ramsey and Rosicky and Arsenal fans will hope he can keep scoring and stay injury free as they can’t afford to lose their only established senior striker at this point in the season.

Kieran Gibbs

The young English left back seems to have come of age in the last couple of seasons and is now a solid full back going forward and in defence. There were times when he couldn’t stay fit and get an extended run in the team but now he is one of the first names on the team sheet. He will have to be on top of his game against West Brom because you would expect the home side to have some spells of pressure.

image: © Tony Hisgett

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