Here are 12 things you should know about Arsenal and West Brom prior to kick-off this afternoon:
1. More pressure was piled on Arsene Wenger as his Arsenal side slumped to yet another Premier League defeat last Saturday, this time 0-2 at home to Swansea. The Gunners will be to regain some of their usual zip and fluidity this afternoon against West Brom.
2. Confidence breeds more confidence and with the way Santi Cazorla has started life at The Emirates, he has every reason to be having a crack at goal. He’s been backing this up with accuracy though, as he currently sits joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for attempts on target with 30.
3. It will come as no surprise to anyone that Theo Walcott was Arsenal’s fastest player last weekend. The flying winger was recorded at 19.54mph, only just beaten by Swansea’s equally pacy Nathan Dyer at 20.51mph.
4. The Gunners appear to be retreating to some of their old tendencies of creating the openings but lacking the killer finish. Despite a recent improvement in form, Olivier Giroud can still only manage a 49% accuracy rate from 39 attempts.
5. Mikel Arteta may be the Spanish timepiece that makes the Arsenal midfield tick, but he’s also displayed a lack of discipline in defence this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he’s compiled 31 fouls.
6. Arteta was unsurprisingly also the hardest runner last weekend against Swansea, clocking up 6.87 miles. The Spaniard remains The Gunner’s overall hardest worker this season, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index showing him covering 94.75 miles.
7. West Brom’s fine run of recent form lost some of its momentum last weekend as they fell to a 0-1 defeat at home to Stoke. The Baggies’ usual directness and flair with possession was stifled by a compact Stoke defensive unit, as, apart from a couple of instances, West Brom could not generate much by way of chances in either half.
8. Youssouf Mulumbu tried valiantly to conjure something for his side against Stoke, working hard for a team-high of 6.13 miles, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
9. Steve Clarke will be wanting to see more of Jonas Olsson’s intuitive reading of the game as the season continues to progress. The Swede has pulled off 73 interceptions so far this season.
10. Romelu Lukaku’s shooting statistics continue to provide impressive reading, with the young Belgian being on target with 83% of his 24 attempted shots this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
11. Goran Popov showed that he has the speed to match any of the Premier League’s quickest strikers against Stoke. No one on the pitch could match his 21.9mph.
12. Though crucial to West Brom’s midfield, Claudio Yacob could do with tightening up some of his defensive work. The midfielder has fouled the opposition 29 times this season, 18 more than any of his other team-mates.
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