Already struggling to find a spark in the final third of the pitch, Arsenal’s attacking options will be depleted for the visit of West Brom on Saturday with injuries to Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott. The duo, sidelined with hamstring and calf problems, respectively, are set to be out until the match with Reading on December 17.
The news comes as a blow to boss Arsene Wenger, with the Gunners having scored just two goals in their last four matches. Arsenal have failed to win in that period and as a result have dropped to a hugely disappointing 10th in the Premier League.
The Gunners have been particularly disappointing at home this season, where they have won just three times in seven league games. Things appeared to have reached something of a nadir last Saturday when fans voiced their disapproval as Arsenal conceded two late goals to succumb to a 2-0 home defeat to Swansea.
"We haven’t started well [at home]," Wenger admitted, according to Arsenal’s official website. "Against Sunderland, we played a 0-0. We started with a draw.
"Therefore [the] only thing now is to get the fans behind the team. To get the fans behind the team, the attitude has to come from us and [we have to] be united and turn that around. Away from home, we have been quite positive and consistent. At home, it’s true we haven’t found our flow yet.”
While Arsenal lie just five points off a Champions League place, Wenger knows that a corner must soon be turned.
"It is a very important game for us on Saturday and a very important period as well,” he added. “But the best way to deal with that is what you do usually, to focus on defending well, attacking well, and focus on your game. “
Like Arsenal, West Brom have also lost two league games in a row, however that has been a rare blip in what has been a fine beginning to the season under new boss Steve Clarke. The Baggies currently sit an impressive fifth in the Premier League and will be looking to take another scalp following their victory over Chelsea last month.
Clarke has no new injury worries, but could recall James Morrison and Peter Odemwingie after the pair started on the bench for last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke.
D: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
M: Arteta, Wilshere
Gervinho, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain
West Brom (probable)
D: Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell
M: Yacob, Mulumbu
Odemwingie, Morrison, Gera
Prediction: The match will be of significant importance for both sides, with West Brom wanting to avoid sliding to a third straight defeat and Arsenal badly needing a win and a convincing performance in front of a disgruntled home crowd.
The Gunners could well struggle to pose the West Brom defense a concerted threat, while Shane Long is likely to be an irritating presence for the Arsenal back line throughout the afternoon. A draw could well be on the cards.
Arsenal 1-1 West Brom
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League clash will kick-off from the Emirates at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a delayed online stream available later in the day via Fox Soccer 2Go.