Arsenal-West Brom Preview

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·3 min read
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Mikel Arteta has made trimming Arsenal's squad his priority for the January transfer window, admitting the club "cannot sustain" the number of players currently on their books.

The Gunners brought in five new first-team players during the close season but only made one sale, with back-up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez heading to Aston Villa.

A number of big names, such as Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Sead Kolasinac have subsequently struggled for minutes this term or been frozen out.

On Thursday, the latter secured a loan move back to his former club Schalke.

And while Arsenal continue to be linked with the likes of Isco and Joan Jordan, Arteta is keen to offload more players before bringing in any more new faces.

"We have a large squad. We knew that and a lot of things we wanted to do in the summer we couldn't accomplish for different reasons," Arteta said.

"There are some players that are going to go on loan, they are going to leave, and that's the priority at the moment. We cannot sustain the numbers that we have in terms of substitutions.

"We are looking to do that and then we will see if we have the right opportunities in the positions that we need some more help. We are working with the club to find that."

Arsenal face West Brom on Saturday, in their first game of 2021. The Baggies were thrashed 5-0 by Leeds United in Sam Allardyce's second home match in charge.

"For me it's assessing the squad and getting a team out against Arsenal to try and get a result," said Allardyce. "It seems that it's difficult for us to get a result here, but it's alright getting a result at Manchester City and Liverpool - we've got to change that."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Brom - Branislav Ivanovic

Veteran campaigner Ivanovic was brought on as a sub to try and limit the damage against Leeds. His experience will likely be called on again by Allardcye as the Baggies aim to claim another big result on the road.

Arsenal - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang has been involved in 17 goals in 15 Premier League games against promoted sides (13 goals, four assists). However, four of the five games in which he has failed to score against a promoted side have come away from home.

KEY OPTA FACTS

•Arsenal have scored in all 24 of their Premier League meetings with West Brom, the best 100 per cent scoring record by one side against an opponent in the competition's history.

•The Gunners have won just one of their last six Premier League away games against promoted sides (D2 L3), with that victory coming at Fulham on the opening day this season.

•Arsenal have lost their opening league game in just two of the last 19 calendar years (W11 D6), losing 0-2 at Southampton in 2015 and 1-2 at Fulham in 2012.

•West Brom have lost their last three home Premier League games by an aggregate score of 1-13, conceding three or more goals in each defeat. The Baggies have never lost four consecutive home top-flight games while also shipping three or more goals in each defeat.

•West Brom have won just eight points in the Premier League so far this season - only in 1985-86 have they amassed fewer points after 16 games of a top-flight campaign.