IN-FORM Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) is off to The Hawthorns in search of a winner in the early Saturday Premier League kick-off.
West Brom v Arsenal | Saturday 12:30 | Sky Sports 1
Crisis? What crisis? Arsenal provided the perfect calm after the storm last weekend as they dispelled any notion of a humiliating FA Cup defeat by firing five past Lincoln City in north London.
There might have been a few nerves jangling for Arsene Wenger when his side were still level with Lincoln, with half-time looming large…
But Theo Walcott’s goal in first-half stoppage time went a long way to settling down the hosts and there was a glut of second-half goals for the Londoners – an irony not lost on Arsenal fans after their Champions League calamity against Bayern Munich.
This weekend, Arsenal’s attention turns back to the Premier League and the Gunners face a ferocious fight to secure a top-four finish – something that the capital club have managed in every season since a relatively fresh-faced Wenger arrived in English football back in 1996.
Wenger certainly knows Saturday’s opposite number well, for Tony Pulis will be in charge of his 301st Premier League match this weekend.
Baggies impressive home record
Match 300 did not go well for Pulis and his side, for the Baggies were battered at Goodison Park last Saturday afternoon, with Ronald Koeman’s Toffees strolling to a 3-0 win on Merseyside.
The Baggies beat Arsenal in the Premier League the last time that the Gunners were at The Hawthorns and the hosts will be determined to pile the pressure on Wenger’s men and their home form is good; West Brom have won all but two of their last nine league games on their own patch.
Goals on the agenda?
Arsenal, though, pack a mean punch and, despite having taken maximum points from just one of their last six league games on the road, their firepower could hold the key to victory on Saturday afternoon, for the Londoners have scored in 20 consecutive away matches in all competitions.
The Baggies have been breached in all but two of their last nine home games and there is plenty of potential for the goals to flow in this game; the 7/10 quote, however, for more than two goals to be scored is skinny enough, while backing Both Teams To Score is available at no better than 4/5.
The betting angle
Better value could lie in backing the Gunners to win a game which features at least three goals; the selection would have banked in seven of Arsenal’s last eight wins away (the 2-0 win against Sutton in the FA Cup for the Gunners’ second string is the exception to the rule).
At 13/8 (BetStars), backing the Gunners to pick up three points from another goal-laden away game looks like a solid selection ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash.
West Brom v Arsenal – Arsenal to win and Over 2.5 Goals (13/8 BetStars)