Top four sure Arsenal may rest names against Baggies for Cup final
Arsene Wenger can relax. As far as he’s concerned, it is mission accomplished for the season. With Champions League football secured once more, they head into their home game with West Bromwich Albion with the luxury of being able to rest players for the FA Cup final.
At 3/10, the Gunners are the clear favourites, though Albion will take confidence from a probable under-strength opposition. Pepe Mel’s men finally won at home last time out, beating West Ham 1-0, and they can take that momentum to north London, knowing that if they come back to The Hawthorns with anything, then it’s a bonus.
In what could be a sign of things to come, the Baggies last won back-to-back in the league in September, beating Sunderland 3-0, before an unlikely triumph against reigning champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Striker Saido Berahino, who opened the scoring against the Hammers, is 11/1 to do so against Wenger’s outfit, and 3/1 to net at anytime. Albion haven’t lost a game that he has struck in so far, recording four wins and a draw. Berahino also has a goal against this opposition on his CV already.
Arsenal have added Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to their injury list with a groin problem, while Jack Wilshere and Keiran Gibbs remain sidelined, with Bacary Sagna fighting a knee issue.
Defender Gareth McAuley could make what could be a crucial return for the visitors after missing the last two fixtures, with Liam Ridgewell and Zoltan Gera expected to be available for their next match; a vital trip to Sunderland. Steven Reid however, is doubtful with a groin grievance.
The Gunners were back to their creative and ruthless best against Newcastle, with Olivier Giroud boosting his season’s tally of 21 goals in all competitions, and record signing Mesut Ozil reminding everyone just how good he is, chipping in with a goal as well. Giroud is 5/2 to notch the opener, while Ozil is 13/8 in to score anytimg again after doing so against the Magpies.
Wenger has gradually turned the Emirates stadium into something of a futuristic fortress. They haven’t lost at home since the opening day against Aston Villa, recording 12 wins and five draws from 17 games.
Since their slight wobble at Goodison Park, when they succumbed 3-0 and briefly allowed Everton into a top four spot, Arsenal have gone to win every match including a tense FA Cup semi-final against Wigan. Their focus seems to have returned and they will want to keep up the tradition of ending their Premier League campaigns on a high.