Why Arsenal simply have to win against West Brom

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Manchester City at the weekend as their difficult December continued.

It has not been an ideal December for Arsene Wenger as his side continue to freeze up in the season's plummeting temperatures. The Gunners fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City; Theo Walcott's early goal counting for nothing as City battled back for a big win.

The first-half belonged more to Arsenal as they carved out the better chances and should have scored more. Their profligacy was punished by Pep Guardiola's side though, as Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling both scored in the second-half to consign Arsenal to their second defeat in two games.

The loss sees them fall nine points behind leaders Chelsea, while City moved two points above them with the win. Following their last gasp loss to Everton in midweek, the defeat was made even more of a blow.

Arsenal manager Arsene WengerArsenal manager Arsene Wenger

The fact that they are now nine points behind the leaders makes their home match against West Brom a must win game. The Baggies fell to a 2-0 loss against Manchester United at the weekend, however, they have been in good form this term as they continue to exceed expectations. They currently sit in eighth place with 23 points, one point behind Southampton, meaning the Baggies fall into the category of one of the best of the rest.

That is why it is vital that Arsenal win this game. A defeat to City, while damaging, was always on the cards as the two teams were very evenly matched. West Brom on the other hand are a team that the Gunners will feel they should beat, especially as the misfiring Manchester United defeated them in their last game.

Arsenal's Mesut OzilArsenal's Mesut Ozil

All of this is in conjunction with the fact that Chelsea go into their Boxing Day fixture without the suspended Diego Costa and N'Golo Kante, mean that if they are going to drop points over the festive period, it is most likely to be now. 

It is also vital for Mesut Ozil to step up in this game as he went missing in their heavyweight clash with City. The German has been outstanding at points throughout this campaign, but he does have a propensity to be anonymous in the big fixtures. Perhaps a clash against a more defensive orientated West Brom will be the perfect way for Ozil and Arsenal to get back to winning ways.

Arsenal manager Arsene WengerArsenal manager Arsene Wenger

A loss on the other hand could see Arsenal cede even more ground on the leaders as Chelsea could extend their lead over their London rivals to 12 points, with Tottenham also having the chance to jump above Wenger's side should they lose, leaving Arsenal in fifth place.

It is becoming clear that this hectic Christmas period will prove crucial to Arsenal's title hopes, and Wenger's future.

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