What a difference a week makes in the life and times of Arsenal Football Club. There are no promises of new dawns, but the midweek win over (an admittedly poor) Borussia Dortmund team in the Champions League has given the Gunners a foundation to build off, starting with the early Saturday kick-off against West Brom away from home.
Arsenal needs to build some league momentum with the busy Christmas period just around the corner, and Arsene Wenger will be counting on his players to grab three points. Certainly, West Brom provide arguably the perfect opponent as the Baggies are struggling for form and could possibly be an easy target.
Of course, things do not always work out like that for Arsenal, but nevertheless wins need to be collected and the Midlands on Saturday is a good place to start. Question makers will remain over Arsene Wenger’s future for the rest of the season, no matter what happens here or in other games. The manager will want his players to do the talking on the pitch in a hope of reaching the top four at the end of the season. Whether that minimum requirement remains enough for either the board or the fans anymore is uncertain, but it is probably the most this Arsenal team can achieve.
However, there are plenty of positives, while this would not be Arsenal without a few negatives too. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is becoming a potent attacking force and will be important to the Gunners this season, especially with the news that Jack Wilshere is set to miss another three months through injury.
On Saturday Wenger will take a depleted squad to the Hawthorns, with Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott (groin), Mesut Ozil (knee), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), goalkeeper David Ospina (thigh) and Abou Diaby (calf) all out injured. Mikel Arteta will also sit out the game, while Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and striker Yaya Sanogo will have their respective hip and hamstring injuries checked before the game.
Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny are set to make their returns, but either way this will be a test of the squad Wenger has assembled. Despite that, Arsenal should be taking all three points from this game.