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Arsenal face West Brom tomorrow afternoon (a.k.a the final day of the Premier League season) knowing that only a win will guarantee a place in next season’s Champions League.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few days, you will be well aware that it is extremely tight in the fight for the last of the Champions League places, with Spurs and Newcastle only 1 and 2 points behind respectively.
I am not going to go on about it in too much detail because we have already done so in our match preview article, but essentially as long as we win the game then there is no need to worry about Spurs or Newcastle.
If Arsenal finish 4th in the league, however, then we rely on Chelsea losing in the final to Bayern Munich and would still have to go through the tough qualifying round. If we finish 5th (entirely possible) then we can look forward to games against the likes of Rapid Bucharest, Malmo FF and FC Maribor without Robin van Persie.
- Theo Walcott (hamstring) faces a late fitness test, while Sebastian Squillaci and Park Chu Young (both irrelevant) are major doubts.
- Bacary Sagna underwent a leg operation earlier this week and will face several months on the sidelines.
- The have been reports that Wojciech Szczesny is suffering from a back problem and might have to pull out. Lets just hope that he pulls through!
- Other injuries: Diaby (whatever excuse Wenger has given this week), Arteta (ankle), Mertesacker (ankle), Wilshere (ankle), Frimpong (ACL/Knee)
- Chris Brunt has had his tonsils removed and will not feature in Roy Hodgsons last game in charge at the Hawthornes.
- Peter Odemwingie could be available after a hamstring injury, but Jerome Thomas is ill.
- Other injuries: S Reid (ankle), Z Gera (ACL/Knee)
Predicted Starting XI
With Bacary Sagna injured, Carl Jenkinson will hopefully slip straight in at right-back. If we play Djourou on the right then we are absolutely screwed. Aaron Ramsey will partner Tomas Rosicky in central midfield in the absence of Mikel Arteta, while Yossi Benayoun has been preferred to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the last half a dozen games or so and I don’t expect that to change. Walcott is probably not going to be fit enough to start, although he may make the bench.
West Brom 1-3 Arsenal Given Arsenal’s current defensive form, a clean sheet is obviously out of the question. However, I think that all of our players will recognise the importance of the game. Individual errors and silly mistakes are out of the question.