West Brom-Arsenal Preview
LONDON (SE) - Arsenal will be looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track on Saturday, but face a tricky test in the shape of visitors West Bromwich Albion.
The Gunners are tenth in the league, and their only win in the last six league games came against a Tottenham team with just ten men for the majority of the match.
Following on from the disappointing 2-0 defeat against Swansea last weekend, Arsenal lost to Olympiakos to finish as Group B runners-up in the Champions League - giving them a tougher draw in the knockout stages. Speaking to the club's official website ahead of the visit of West Brom, midfielder Tomas Rosicky spoke of the players' desire to win back the fans after such a disappointing run of results.
"I can understand it, I'm an Arsenal fan as well," said the Czech midfielder. "On the other side, we have some young guys and they can feel the frustration as well. It's definitely not helping them. We all have to stick together - that's the only thing we can do. It's what we did last season when everybody was writing us off and we came back stronger.
"We have to win the people over again. That's the challenge. We did it last year, so why not do it again? Of course it will be difficult. There's no doubt about that, but we are capable of doing it again. If we are all on board, this is a great place to be and a great place to play football. But we have to stick together and fight."
Visitors West Brom have been a revelation in the Premier League this season, and still find themselves fifth in the table despite consecutive defeats. Manager Steve Clarke has steadfastly refused to get carried away by his team's excellent start, but is confident ahead of the visit to north London.
"It's a game that we have to be positive about and look forward to," said Clarke during a pre-match press conference. "The last two games have been frustrating for us for different reasons but going down to the Emirates is a different challenge.
"Arsenal are probably not playing as well as they would like and they've had some reverses so they'll be fired up to try to turn their season around. The way the game is now means, no matter what club you're at, if your team is not doing well you're going to get criticism. That's the state of play with Arsenal at the moment."
Arsenal did the double over West Brom last season, scoring three goals in each game. The Gunners have won five of the last seven against the Baggies, losing just once, and have scored at least two goals in each of their last six meetings.
The hosts have doubts over Bacary Sagna (ankle) and Andre Santos (stomach), while Abou Diaby is out with a thigh injury. West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster is unlikely to feature due to a groin injury.
The Gunners' tally of 21 points is their lowest at this stage of the season under Arsene Wenger. In contrast, West Brom's league position is their highest after 15 games of a season since 1981.