Amid all the Christmas joy and festivities, Arsenal fans are set for a sharp return to reality when they go to support their side on Boxing Day. The Gunners welcome West Brom to the Emirates on Monday after back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Everton. The Arsenal fans will be forgiven for wanting Christmas to last a little longer as their team enters the busy festive period with more than a little trepidation.
The Baggies are the first side to visit North London with Arsene Wenger’s men in desperate need of a response. After a mightily impressive unbeaten run of 14 Premier League matches, the consecutive defeats have seriously affected Arsenal’s betting odds. Arsenal are still the massive favourites, but 7/19 for a win against a side which has won just two of its last 14 away league matches is a little high.
Arsenal are now nine points behind leaders Chelsea and will need to win to keep with the supporting pack of Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs. There will, however, be a chance for the Gunners to gain ground on their rivals in the coming weeks. Manchester City face Liverpool on New Year’s Eve while Chelsea travel to Spurs on the 4th of January. Arsenal will still need to win their games but there is certainly a chance.
Back to Monday’s match and there will certainly be some trepidation from Arsenal fans. The Gunners have won just three of their last seven matches at the Emirates with the home crowd proving more of a curse than a gift. West Brom are best priced 10/1 to snatch a win.
However, a win for the Baggies would seriously go against history. West Brom’s record during matches played on Boxing Day is nothing short of terrible. Just one win in 11 years for a side which seems to have struggled with a Christmas hangover.
One thing which should be certain in this match is goals. The Gunners will be concerned with the fact that they haven’t kept a clean sheet in twelve matches but their opponents haven’t fared much better, just one in 14 for the Baggies which will infuriate manager Tony Pulis. Both teams to score is best-priced evens.
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Predicting a scoreline is a little more difficult. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both sides on the score sheet but who will come away with the three points is really down to how Arsenal respond. The Gunners will be disappointed with how things have gone in the last two weeks but Monday affords a good chance to set that right. A 2-1 win and a 4-1 win are best priced 17/2 and 20/1 for the Gunners. Fancy an upset? West Brom to sneak a 1-0 is a generous 28/1.