Arsenal ended a string of five straight defeats at Stamford Bridge when they drew 0-0 with Chelsea on Sunday and fans can afford to be a little more optimistic about their defensive solidity. The fixture list is now gentler for the Gunners going forwards and they will hope to take maximum points from a run that sees them face West Brom, Brighton, Everton, and Swansea. First up is WBA and their boss Tony Pulis, who has a made a habit of proving a thorn in Arsenal’s side during his long Premiership career. But this is a game Arsenal have to win and if they can be patient and focused they will eventually breach this defence.
Arsenal nearly signed West Brom captain Jonny Evans in the summer. The Northern Irishman was also interesting Man City, but neither club could get a deal over the line and he remains WBA’s defensive lynchpin. He will have his work cut out in the Monday night game against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil. Having the game on a Monday night will give the Gunners plenty of time to recover from their Stamford Bridge battle. West Brom enjoyed a great start to the season, beating Bournemouth and Burnley, but they have just two points from their last three games. A strong draw against Stoke was followed by a 3-1 reverse at Brighton, and last time out they could only draw 0-0 with West Ham. Still, West Brom are very difficult to beat as defend with great discipline and organization and they are so tough to break down.
Tony Pulis’ side have a great recent home record against Arsenal: they beat them 2-1 at The Hawthorns last season and 3-1 in the previous campaign. However, at The Emirates Arsenal have had it all their own way in recent years. It is now four wins in a row for Arsene Wenger’s men and they will be hoping to make it five on Monday as they enjoy home advantage and seem to be finding form.
As such the Gunners are heavy favourites here. Most bookmakers are offering 1.33 and the best price available is 1.37 at Marathon Bet. Still, the bulk of the action is going on Arsenal, and that looks a decent addition to any weekend accumulators. But to get more value out of the game you have to look at other markets. West Brom have scored just four goals in five games and did not threaten much at home to West Ham last time out, while they only scored once against a leaky Brighton defence. Arsenal’s new-found defensive solidity might help them limit the Baggies to few chances. Salomon Rondon are decent players but not elite, and if the Gunners concede more than once they will be very disappointed.
An injury to Danny Welbeck should pave the way for Sanchez to return to the starting 11 and he will relish the chance to run at this West Brom defence. The prospect of him operating in tandem with Lacazette, with Ozil pulling the strings, is a frightening prospect. If Brighton can put three past West Brom then so can Arsenal, and the 1.82 that Bet Victor is offering on Arsenal -1.25 Asian handicap looks really good. An alternative would be Arsenal to win to nil, which is 2.45 with green listed bookmaker Bet Victor, but that is risky as Arsenal do not have the tightest defence. Or you could go for Arsenal and over 2.5 goals at 1.95 with Bet Stars. A lot will depend on whether the Gunners can get an early goal. If they do it will force West Brom to show some ambition and commit men forward, thus allowing Arsenal to hit them on the break in a more open game. Sanchez is 2.05 to score at any time and that looks a great option as the Chilean has the spark and individual brilliance to unlock a tight defence.