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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Greater discipline can help Gunners deal with pressure

Wenger's boys should run tight ship against Albion

Alexis Sanchez provides an X-factor for Arsenal
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Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 8pm Monday

Five of the Premier League's big six registered victories on Saturday and Arsenal can make it a clean sweep by defeating West Brom at the Emirates.

The pressure is on the Gunners, who know that anything less than three points would leave them well adrift of the title chasers.

But they played well under intense scrutiny at Chelsea last time out, carving out the better opportunities in a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal played with much more discipline and intensity than in their previous away game – a dismal 4-0 defeat at Liverpool – and should quickly climb the table if they continue to play in a similar manner.

They will always create plenty of chances because Arsene Wenger has an array of quality attacking players to choose from.

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud were left on the bench at Stamford Bridge and Mesut Ozil was injured.

All are pushing for a start against Albion but the most likely to get the nod is Sanchez, as a direct replacement for injured forward Danny Welbeck.

Sanchez might not do as much chasing back as Welbeck but he offers Arsenal an offensive X-factor which will come in handy against a West Brom side likely to be camped on the edge of their 18-yard-box for much of the game.

Albion have scored just once in their last six visits to the Emirates and would regard a 0-0 draw as an excellent result.

In last season's corresponding fixture they held out until the 86th minute when Giroud popped up with the only goal of the game.

Patience may be required by the Gunners once again as they seek to prize open a well-drilled Albion defence.

But the breakthrough should eventually arrive for an Arsenal side, who have scored in their last 18 home fixtures.

And, if West Brom find themselves chasing the game, they may struggle to recover.

Tony Pulis has added to his attacking resources this summer with moves for striker Jay Rodriguez and winger Oliver Burke.

Rodriguez has made a bright start – scoring twice in seven appearances – but his acquisition has meant fewer opportunities for Salomon Rondon, Albion's top scorer last season with eight Premier League goals.

The midfield has been upgraded with summer signings Gareth Barry and Grzegorz Krychowiak becoming first-team regulars but there has been no discernible change to the direct style of football favoured by Albion boss Pulis.

The Baggies had 37 per cent of possession in a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham nine days ago and are likely to see even less of the ball against Arsenal.

Albion will pose a threat from any free-kicks and corners that come their way but they are unlikely to get many sights of the Gunners' goal and may struggle to get on the scoresheet.

Arsenal win to nil
1pt 6-5 general

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Team news
Danny Welbeck (groin) faces a month on the sidelines but Mesut Ozil (knee) is available and Theo Walcott has recovered from a knock sustained in last Wednesday's 1-0 success at home to Doncaster.

West Brom
Jake Livermore is back in the squad, having been rested in recent weeks. Chris Brunt, Nacer Chadli and Oliver Burke are injury doubts.

Key stat
West Brom have failed to score on five of their last six visits to Arsenal.

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They will always create plenty of chances because Arsene Wenger has an array of quality attacking players to choose from
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