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WEST BROMWICH ALBION v ARSENAL
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 6th April 2013, 3:00pm
The Hawthorns

MATCH NOTES

A victory for Albion would see them set a new club record for most wins (14) during a Premier League season. The club's previous high of 13 was set in 2011/12.

Albion have not kept a clean sheet against Arsenal since November 1985, a run of 17 games in all competitions.

The last game Albion played on this date came in 1996 when a goal from Richard Sneekes gave the Baggies a 1-0 win over Millwall at The Hawthorns.

Baggies' striker Romelu Lukaku needs two goals to equal Peter Odemwingie's club record of 15 Premier League goals in a season.

Albion's last six games: West Ham United (A) 1-3; Stoke City (A) 0-0; Swansea City (H) 2-1; Chelsea (A) 0-1; Sunderland (H) 2-1; Liverpool (A) 2-0.

Arsenal's last six games: Reading (H) 4-1; Swansea City (A) 2-0; Bayern Munich (A CL) 2-0; Spurs (A) 1-2; Aston Villa (H) 2-1; Bayern Munich (H CL) 1-3.

TEAM NEWS

Albion

Steve Clarke will be without influential midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu who starts a three game suspension following his sending off at West Ham last weekend. However, the Baggies' boss will be boosted by the return of James Morrison following the player's recent hamstring injury.

Zoltan Gera and George Thorne both remain out with long-term injuries.

Squad from: Foster, Myhill, Daniels, Reid, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Popov, Dorrans, Yacob, Brunt, Morrison, Thomas, Lukaku, Long, Fortune, Odemwingie, Rosenberg, Brown.

Arsenal

England duo Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Theo Walcott (hip/thigh) look set to miss out despite both returning to training this week.

Nacho Monreal is fit despite going off injured in last week's game against Reading but Abou Diaby is definitely out as he recovers from his long-term knee injury.

Squad from: Fabianski, Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Arshavin, Podolski, Gervinho, Giroud.

QUOTES

Baggies' boss Steve Clarke:

“In the three games the team has played after the players have been away on the longer international breaks, when they’ve played two games for their countries, we’ve come back with two really poor away performances at Fulham and West Ham and lost a home game to Man City. The international breaks weren’t very good for us this season and we need to improve on that next season.

“We now need to be motivated by the fact we put in a poor performance last week. On Saturday, we want to put on a strong performance at home which, by and large, we have done well this season.

“Going forward, we have to look at the fact that the boys have been away playing in big qualifying games, as there is big pressure to try and get your team to the World Cup in Brazil. All those factors are something I’ve got to look at next season. When the players return, there’s nothing obviously wrong other than that some of them are a little bit tired. At West Ham, three or four didn’t perform to their best level and any club in this league with that number of players under-performing will normally get beat.”

www.wba.co.uk

Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould:

“It's a very good West Brom side and it's a really tough game.

“I think Steve Clarke has done a magnificent job there. They've been more or less up there for the whole season. They've had a little dip but we know it's going to be a really tough game. They've got a good back four, a good goalkeeper and they don't let in an awful amount of goals.

“If you look all the way through [the side] they've got quality. Sometimes the front two change so they've got the luxury of being able to switch players and I think they've got a good bench. We're under no illusions. We know it's going to be a tough game but we're more than capable.”

www.arsenal.com

MATCH ODDS

Result

Albion Win: 3/1, Arsenal Win: 19/20, Draw: 23/10.

First Goalscorer

Giroud 11/2, Gervinho 13/2, Lukaku 7/1, Podolski 7/1, Cazorla 7/1, Long 8/1, Odemwingie 9/1, Oxlade-Chamberlain 9/1, Fortune 11/1, Rosenberg 11/1, Dorrans 12/1, Ramsey 12/1, Brunt 14/1, Morrison 14/1, Arteta 14/1, Thomas 16/1, Rosicky 16/1.

REFEREE

Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)

Webb last took charge of an Albion game in September 2010 when the Baggies played out a 1-1 draw with Spurs at The Hawthorns.

The South Yorkshire official has refereed three Arsenal games so far this season - The 2-0 win at Liverpool in September, the 5-2 win at home to Spurs in November and the 2-2 draw at Swansea City in the FA Cup in January.

Webb has handed out 117 yellow cards and three red cards during the season.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets remain on general sale to home supporters that are on the club's ticketing database.

WEATHER FORECAST

Partly cloudy but dry, 7°C.

FIXTURE HISTORY

The two clubs first met in competitive action during the 1900/01 season, Albion running out 1-0 winners in a FA Cup second round tie at the then Woolwich Arsenal's Manor Ground. Ben Garfield was the scorer of the only goal of the game.

The first league meeting of the two clubs came during the following season, Albion losing the first game at Arsenal 2-1 before winning the return game twelve days later at The Hawthorns by the same scoreline. Chippy Simmons and Billy Lee were the Albion goalscorers.

Albion's biggest win against Arsenal came in October 1922 at The Hawthorns, legendary striker Freddie Morris hitting four goals in a 7-0 victory.

Arsenal's best victory over Albion is 6-2, achieved in September 1970 at Highbury.

The Baggies' last victory over Arsenal came in September 2010 when goals from Peter Odemwingie, Gonzalo Jara and Jerome Thomas guided Roberto Di Matteo's Albion to a 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have won on six of their last eight visits to The Hawthorns and Albion have won just three out of the last 31 meetings between the two clubs.

LAST LEAGUE MEETING AT THE HAWTHORNS

Albion 2-3 Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Sunday 13 May 2012, 3:00pm

Albion: Fulop, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Cox (Odemwingie 73), Morrison (Andrews 51), Mulumbu, Dorrans (Scharner 79), Long, Fortune. Subs not used: Dawson, Shorey, Daniels, Hurst.

Goalscorers: Long 11, Dorrans 15

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Andre Santos (Ramsey 79), Rosicky (Walcott 46), Song, Coquelin, Benayoun, Gervinho (Gibbs 67), van Persie. Subs not used: Fabianski, Djourou, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh.

Goalscorers: Benayoun 4, Andre Santos 30, Koscielny 54

Booked: van Persie 38 (foul)

Attendance: 26,358

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

Arsenal secured an automatic Champions League spot with victory over West Brom after being helped by a nightmare display from Baggies' stand-in goalkeeper Marton Fulop. Fulop, who replaced the injured Ben Foster, was at fault for all three Gunners goals from Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos and Laurent Koscielny as Arsene Wenger's side edged out Tottenham for third spot.

Albion had netted through Shane Long and Graham Dorrans after Benayoun's opener, but Fulop's horror show meant it was a losing end to new England head coach Roy Hodgson's reign. Wenger will take immense satisfaction from his side's achievement after some supporters had called for him to be sacked earlier in the campaign. It will also give him a stronger hand to play in attempting to keep hold of leading scorer and skipper Robin van Persie. Albion will now look to find a successor for Hodgson and attempt to build on a second successive mid-table finish.

Arsenal were the first to settle and a mistake by Fulop gifted Benayoun the opening goal after three minutes. Van Persie and James Morrison challenged for the ball in midfield and the ball ricocheted into the path of Fulop. But he appeared to stumble when under no pressure and Benayoun was left with the simplest of tasks to knock the ball into an empty net. Albion retaliated and Wojciech Szczesny produced a fine low save to keep out a shot on the turn from a narrow angle by Marc-Antoine Fortune. But after 11 minutes the fit-again Long brought the Baggies on level terms. He chased down a pass from Morrison and hammered a low shot past Szczesny into the corner of the net. Wenger appealed in vain for offside with the fourth official but Long appeared to be played onside by Carl Jenkinson. Three minutes later an equally clinical finish from Dorrans put the Baggies in front. Morrison was again the creator and Dorrans gave Szczesny no chance of saving with a similar finish to that of Long. Gareth McAuley blocked an effort from Benayoun inside the box and a Van Persie free-kick hit the defensive wall, but after half an hour Santos brought the Gunners level. Fulop got a hand to his swerving left-footed drive from 20 yards out but could only parry it into the corner of the net. Play was moving from end to end and Van Persie became the first player to be booked seven minutes before half-time for a touchline challenge on McAuley.

Wenger brought on Theo Walcott in place of Tomas Rosicky for the second half. The visitors started the period on the offensive and a cross-shot from Santos was only just off target. Albion were forced to reshuffle after 51 minutes when the impressive Morrison limped out of the action to be replaced by Keith Andrews. Fulop's horror show continued when another mistake gifted Koscielny a goal after 54 minutes to restore Arsenal's lead. The former Sunderland goalkeeper punched a corner from Van Persie back towards his own goal and Koscielny made no mistake from four yards out. Albion tried to recover and a Jonas Olsson header was deflected over his own bar by Van Persie. Then Szczesny reacted quickly to turn aside a shot on the turn from Andrews. In injury-time substitute Kieran Gibbs produced a vital block on Billy Jones' shot after he burst into the box.

Sporting Life

CURRENT CONNECTIONS

Baggies' winger Jerome Thomas started his career with the Gunners.

PAST CONNECTIONS

Amongst the players to have turned out at various levels for both clubs are: Kwame Ampadu, Paul Barron, Vince Bartram, Brendon Batson, Kevin Campbell, David Cork, Bobby Gould, Don Howe, Junichi Inamoto, Nwankwo Kanu, Alan Miller, Jay Simpson, Brian Talbot, Carlos Vela, Steve Walford and Chris Whyte.

Don Howe played for and managed both clubs; Former Arsenal and Albion players Brian Talbot and Bobby Gould were also both managers at The Hawthorns; Albion manager of the 1960's Archie Macaulay played for Arsenal; Gordon Clark, Albion's manager from 1959-61 later became chief scout at Arsenal; Former Albion assistant manager Colin Addison had a spell as a player at Highbury; George Wright was a physio / trainer at both clubs.

ALL-TIME LEAGUE & CUP RECORD VS ARSENAL

 VENUE P W D  L F A
 Home 64 24 15 25 93 88
 Away 64 12 14 38 73 136
 Neutral 1 0 0 1 0 1
 Total 129 36 29 64 166 225

LAST TEN MATCHES AGAINST ARSENAL

DATE COMPETITION H/A F-A GOALSCORERS GATE
Sat 08 Dec 2012 Premier League A 0-2 Arteta 2 (2 pens) 60,083
Sun 13 May 2012 Premier League H 2-3 Long, Dorrans - Benayoun, Santos, Koscielny 26,358
Sat 05 Nov 2011 Premier League A 0-3 van Persie, Vermaelen, Arteta 60,091
Sat 19 Mar 2011 Premier League H 2-2 Reid, Odemwingie - Arshavin, van Persie 25,729
Sat 25 Sep 2010 Premier League A 3-2 Odemwingie, Jara, Thomas - Nasri 2 60,025
Tue 22 Sep 2009 League Cup A 0-2 Watt, Vela 56,592
Tue 03 Mar 2009 Premier League H 1-3 Brunt - Bendtner 2, Toure 26,244
Sat 16 Aug 2008 Premier League A 0-1 Nasri 60,071
Tue 24 Oct 2006 League Cup H 0-2 Aliadiere 2 (1 pen) 21,566
Sat 15 Apr 2006 Premier League A 1-3 Quashie - Hleb, Pires, Bergkamp 38,167
 
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