West Brom 3.711/4 v Arsenal 1.9420/21; The Draw 3.9
Wednesday 25 August, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
West Brom have made a good start to the season and be looking to pull off a cup shock against Arsenal.
Relegated from the Premier League last season, the Baggies have made an unbeaten start to the new campaign in the Championship (P4 W3 D1). Second in the table behind the leaders Fulham on goal difference, the midlanders enjoyed a 2-1 win at Blackburn over the weekend.
When Sam Allardyce left the club following relegation, they replaced him with Valerien Ismael. The French coach was a surprise appointment by Barnsley last season and took them into the play-offs.
Matt Clarke injured his hamstring in the win over Blackburn and will miss this game. Semi Ajayi, who had a spell at Arsenal between 2013 and 2015, will take his place.
Pressure already on Arteta
It’s a bit early in the season to talk about must-win games, but in the case of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal it might not be too much of an exaggeration to describe this match as one.
The Gunners, who have lost their first two Premier League games, are in 19th position and Arteta has been backed into even money to be next manager to leave. They’ve played teams that are likely to be at opposite ends of the table, losing 2-0 to both newly promoted Brentford and the Champions League holders Chelsea.
Next weekend they are away at Manchester City and for a club as big as Arsenal, starting a season with a string of losses is bound to put pressure on the manager, especially when they failed to take the team into Europe last season. Arsenal are spending lots of money, but not on the type of players that are going to immediately improve the team.
It’s the sort of game where Arteta really needs to pick a stronger side than would normally be the case in the EFL Cup. Unfortunately for him, that’s impossible, due to availability issues. Ben White, Willian and Alexandre Lacazette have all tested positive for Covid. Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah are injured, while Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli had to come off against Chelsea and are doubts. Martin Odegaard could play if the club receive a visa clearance.
No value in understrength Arsenal
Arsenal are the 1.9420/21 favourites, with West Brom at 3.711/4 and the draw at 3.9.
It’s a relatively big price for a club of Arsenal’s stature away at a Championship side, but not a tempting one. There will be a lot of pressure, on what is likely to be a young Arsenal team and West Brom are playing well and have nothing to lose.
Both goals to score looks a banker
Arsenal have yet to score this season, but with West Brom having conceded in three of their four games, they should break their duck.
WBA have scored eleven goals from those four matches, of which seven came in two home games. The way that Arsenal have been defending this season, it’s hard to see them keeping a clean sheet and both teams to score is 1.738/11.
All four of West Brom’s games have seen at least three goals scored. Over 2.5 goals is 1.8910/11.