Assistant coach Steve Bould has said that Arsenal’s victory at Bayern Munich last month has given the side the confidence to push on and achieve a top-four spot this season.
Arsenal face West Brom on Saturday at the Hawthorns -- the ground where they clinched a spot in the Champions League on the final day of last season.
And, although, they ultimately lost the tie, Bould believes that the 2-0 win in Munich has provided the players with a lift that could lead to them going on to secure a 16th consecutive appearance in Europe’s premier competition next season.
“The big thing for us was getting that result at Bayern,” he said, according to Arsenal’s website. “I think we're more or less the only team that's won there this season so it just gives everybody a belief that we're doing alright. It was an important game for us.”
Arsenal are currently in fifth place in the Premier League, two points behind Chelsea and four points adrift of Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand on their north London rivals. An injury suffered by Spurs’ star man Gareth Bale is likely to further fuel belief in the Arsenal ranks that they can once again finish ahead of their neighbors.
Since the victory over Bayern, Arsenal have recorded two impressive wins in the league, at Swansea and then at home to Reading last week. Nacho Monreal has recovered from a knee problem that forced him off last time out, but Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott are still at least a week away from making their return.
West Brom have enjoyed a good first season under Steve Clarke, but, safe from relegation and with almost no prospect of European qualification, the Albion boss will have to guard against their season petering out.
Clarke has put last week’s defeat at West Ham down to another poor performance following an international break, but is confident his players will bounce back on Saturday.
“We now need to be motivated by the fact we put in a poor performance last week,” he said, according to West Brom’s official website.
"On Saturday, we want to put on a strong performance at home which, by and large, we have done well this season.”
West Brom will be without Youssouf Mulumbu after the midfielder’s late sending off last week, but James Morrison is fit to return after a hamstring injury.
West Brom (probable)
D: Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell
M: Morrison, Yacob
Odemwingie, Dorrans, Brunt
D: Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
M: Ramsey, Arteta
Gervinho, Rosicky, Cazorla
Prediction: Arsenal were impressive against Reading, with Gervinho in particular looking confident, but the match again fell into the pattern of the Gunners looking good when the opposition allows them space to play. It is when put under real pressure, particularly against the top sides, where Arsenal have struggled this season.
Arsenal have generally been good of late at doing enough to see off weaker opposition and they should do something similar against a West Brom side that may already have one eye on the beach.
West Brom 1-2 Arsenal
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick-off at 10 a.m. ET. A live stream will be available on Fox Soccer 2Go.