Arsenal welcome West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day in the Premier League and are desperate to bounce back after consecutive defeats to get their title hopes on track.
The Gunners have suffered a monumental dip in form of late, surrendering their top spot in the division to go fourth in the table in a matter of weeks, and an in-form West Brom side might consider Arsenal vulnerable ahead of Monday’s meeting.
However, Arsene Wenger’s men boast a one-sided record against the Midlands outfit in the league and might fancy their chances of a return to form as a result.
Hosts Arsenal are now grasping onto a Champions League spot after dropping points in recent weeks. The Londoners find themselves fourth in the Premier League table with 34 points from 17 games, having won three and lost two of their last five.
Everton and Manchester City have come from behind to beat Arsenal in the previous two league games, and the dropped points has knocked Wenger’s men out of the title race as things stand.
Leaders Chelsea are nine points clear of Arsenal ahead of the next round of games so the latter can’t entertain anything less than a win to ensure they don’t lose more ground to the title-chasers.
As for the visitors, West Bromwich Albion are currently exceeding expectations in the Premier League, sitting pretty in eighth place. The Baggies have won three and drawn one of their last six games, and have been a formidable outfit on the road too, losing only two of six away outings.
However, West Brom’s record against top-half sides in the Premier League has been so poor this season that it could play into Arsenal’s hands.
Albion could move up a place in the table with a win at the Emirates Stadium, but their head-to-head record against the Gunners suggest they might come unstuck.
West Brom have beaten Arsenal just once in the Premier League since 2010, suffering eight defeats from their last 11 meetings. Arsenal boasts five consecutive home wins against the Midlands side in the league, conceding just one goal in the games, and could go second in the table if results go their way.
Wenger’s men have been convincing at home in the division this season too, having won four and drawn two of their last six at the Emirates Stadium.
And with the risk of fierce North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur overtaking Arsenal in the table should the latter come unstuck to Tony Pulis’ men on Monday, so the Gunners should deliver on Boxing Day.
West Brom have the worst record in the division against the top-half clubs, picking up just one point from a possible 21.
Albion have come unstuck to Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League this season, and might be run ragged by the intricate football and pace of Arsenal.
The Gunners haven’t slipped up in this fixture for many years and should enough to bounce back after their recent slump to stay in the top-four with a win.