Arsenal v WBA Preview/ Lineup: Samba Boys Return, AMN for Elneny, Laca or Auba?

Arsenal v West Bromich Albion – January 2nd 2021

The club was founded as West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 by workers from George Salter’s Spring Works in West Bromwich, in the Black Country . They were renamed West Bromwich Albion in 1880, becoming the first team to adopt the Albion suffix; Albion was a district of West Bromwich where some of the players lived or worked, close to what is today Greets Green.The club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association in 1881 and became eligible for their first competition, the Birmingham Cup.

They reached the quarter-finals, beating several longer-established clubs on the way. In1883, Albion won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup. Albion joined the Football Association in the same year; this enabled them to enter the FA Cup for the first time in the 1883–84 season. In 1885 the club turned professional, and in 1886 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time, losing 2–0 to Blackburn Rovers in a replay. They reached the final again in 1887, but lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. In 1888 the team won the trophy for the first time, beating strong favourites Preston North End 2–1 in the final. As FA Cup winners, they qualified to play in a Football World Championship game against Scottish Cup winners Renton, which ended in a 4–1 defeat.

In March 1888, William McGregor wrote to what he considered to be the top five English teams, including Albion, informing them of his intention to form an association of clubs that would play each other home and away each season. Thus when the Football League started later that year, Albion became one of the twelve founder members.

Albion’s second FA Cup success came in 1892, beating Aston Villa 3–0. They met Villa again in the 1895 final, but lost 1–0. The team suffered relegation to Division Two in 1900–01, their first season at The Hawthorns. They were promoted as champions the following season but relegated again in 1903–04. The club won the Division Two championship once more in 1910–11, and the following season reached another FA Cup Final, where they were defeated by Second Division Barnsley in a replay.

Albion won the Football League title in 1919–20 for the only time in their history following the end of World War I, their totals of 104 goals and 60 points both breaking the previous league records. The team finished as Division One runners-up in 1924–25, narrowly losing out to Huddersfield Town, but were relegated in 1926–27. In 1930–31, they won promotion as well as the FA Cup, beating Birmingham 2–1 in the final. The “double” of winning the FA Cup and promotion has not been achieved before or since. Albion reached the final again in 1935, losing to Sheffield Wednesday, but were relegated three years later. They gained promotion in 1948–49, and there followed the club’s longest unbroken spell in the top flight of English football, a total of 24 years.

The speed with which the club became established following its foundation is illustrated by the fact that it outgrew four successive grounds in its first seven years. The first was Cooper’s Hill, where they played from 1878 to 1879. From 1879 to 1881, they appear to have alternated between Cooper’s Hill and Dartmouth Park. During the 1881–82 season, they played at Bunn’s Field, also known as the Birches. This had a capacity of between 1,500 and 2,000, and was Albion’s first enclosed ground, allowing the club to charge an entrance fee for the first time. From 1882 to 1885, as the popularity of football increased, Albion rented the Four Acres ground from the well-established West Bromwich Dartmouth Cricket Club. But they quickly outgrew this new home and soon needed to move again. From 1885 to 1900, Albion played at Stoney Lane; their tenure of this ground was arguably the most successful period in the club’s history, as they won the FA Cup twice and were runners-up three times.

The throstle effigy has been a feature of the Woodman corner since the 1970s.

By 1900, when the lease on Stoney Lane expired, the club needed a bigger ground yet again and so made its last move to date. All of Albion’s previous grounds had been close to the centre of West Bromwich, but on this occasion they took up a site on the town’s border with Handsworth and Smethwick. The new ground was named The Hawthorns, after the hawthorn bushes that covered the area and were cleared to make way for it.

Premier League Away Games
26-Dec-021  21
02-May-051  20
15-Oct-05  112
03-Mar-091  31
19-Mar-11 1 22
13-May-121  32
06-Apr-131  21
06-Oct-13 1 11
29-Nov-141  10
21-Nov-15  112
18-Mar-17  113
31-Dec-17 1 11
Total :6332016

It’s been three years since we last played the Baggies at the Hawthorns and we drew the game 1-1. Our overall away record has been positive but we only managed to win one point in our last three visits, however those games were played between 2015 & 2017.

Arsenal v WBA – Away Games
Div 12212206473

Albion have a miserable record so far in the 2020/21 Premier League, they have only gained eight points from their first sixteen games. It appeared that their new manager, Sam Alardyce, had them on a corrected course with a determined 1-1 draw against Liverpool but that quickly changed with a 5-0 loss against Leeds United.

What team will show up against Arsenal?


TA’s Preferred Lineup v WBA:

I know this will not be popular with many but I would start Willian today. He has had a good rest and will relish to play with his fellow countryman, Martinelli, and the super talented Saka around him in this formation (which will suit him much better). I get the perceived lack of work-rate thing and that he is a former Chav and all that, but I still rate him highly. I would be happy to see another start for Mari but a rest will do him good and we could do with Luiz’s leadership and balls over the top tomorrow. Elneny may have played too many games in December but I still think we need him to start again. He is the most natural available partner for Xhaka and together they will do another cup-game sort of performance. However, I am hoping that AMN will see some action in midfield too tomorrow.

Up-front it is a toss between Auba or Laca. I feel Auba has a brace in him but for this he does not necessarily need to start. So I would go for Laca to run the defence down and Auba to pick them off from the 65th minute or so. Saka could do with a rest but he is in such good form right now and we really could do with making it three in three wins, that I don’t think we can keep him out. Hopefully Nelson or ESR will get some playing time in Saka’s position later on.

51 thoughts on “Arsenal v WBA Preview/ Lineup: Samba Boys Return, AMN for Elneny, Laca or Auba?

  • Thanks GN5, a well researched and presented historical post. I have always liked the name the Hawthorns. I have a feeling the boys will get bruises and scratches as the Brommies will be thorns in their sides.

  • Here’s our latest team news update ahead of Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion:

    Currently isolating according to UK Government and Premier League protocols following testing positive for COVID-19. Gabriel is currently feeling well and we are continuing to monitor and support him. Pending the completion of all the necessary protocols and ongoing health checks, we are hoping that he will return to training next week.

    Thomas Partey
    Left thigh. Thomas has progressed well since the injury on December 6. He has started to train outside and will continue with his daily assessments and monitoring. We are hoping that Thomas will return to full training with the squad next week.

    David Luiz
    Now back in full training following illness.

    Bukayo Saka
    Sustained heavy impact to his left leg during Tuesday’s match against Brighton, but has been in training since and available for selection.

    Now back in full training following illness.

    Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this already but the victory at the Amex must have been extremely satisfying for Bernd Leno, not only did he keep a clean sheet and save a penalty (is it his first in the Premier?) he also got some payback for the foul challenge that ended his season last term…

  • Thanks again for the research GunnerN5, the Hawthorns is one of my favourite grounds as I’ve never seen Arsenal lose there, in fact we always seem to win when I go there, although that hasn’t been for a long time. I saw Kenny Sansom make his debut at the Hawthorns and I saw Van Persie’s last game for us there as well. Or Yossi Benayoun’s finest finest moment in an Arsenal shirt…

  • Yes Total, you are as perceptive as ever, you really won’t be popular at all… 😉

    For me it’s the same team and same subs, no need to change for me – non negotiables mate.

    Willian for me can have a run out in the FACup, see if he can work up a sweat?

  • I’ve been thinking since Chelsea last week, that against West Brom I’d have Lacazette start and try to hold up the ball with quick runners around him against Sam. This is probably not a game for Aubameyang, at least not to start.

    It will probably be a battle, and we may have to try to handle it as we did Brighton. Even though that’s less fun to watch. Even the best clubs have to be practical this season.

  • J, we are aligned. I expect it to be a hard on the eye game, unless we score early and they will have to come up with something else. It is unlikely to be a game for the purists!

  • I have nothing against Willian starting today. It’s not about punishment, rather rotation for fitness reasons. And Willian needs a confidence boost as much as Aubameyang or anybody else. And what could be a more promising opportunity than challenging WBA after they’ve been destroyed by Leeds? Probably there is no more ‘walk in the park’ games in the PL, but if there could be any, that would be against a Sam Allardyce team.
    TA has already started to talk us down from our expectations, but I still hope for a big margin win with a clean sheet.


    Firstly, it means clubs can no longer sign EU players aged between 16 and 18 as was the case previously. Now, a player from the EU can only be signed if they are 18 and over.

    Youth players aged 16 to 18 can still move between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales following an amendment to transfer regulations approved by world governing body FIFA.

    There will be additional criteria for youth players – those aged 18 and 19 – including the number of times they were named on a team sheet even for a match in which they did not ultimately play, appearances in youth competition at club and international level and so on.

    In theory, English clubs who have a partnership with a team still in the EU could get them to sign under-18 players on their behalf, before moving to England once eligible.

  • I’m not sure Total, the devil is in the detail and we’re moving into unchartered territory as the influx and positive influx of foreign players, managers and staff began post 1995 after the Premier League began flexing its financial muscles and after the U.K. was well into the Common Market, EEC, EU project.

    Maybe Premier League clubs can circumvent the regulations by having nursery clubs in EU countries?
    The Premier League is a massive money making machine and woe betide anyone in Government who tampers with it. The biggest obstacle has always been the FA in England, they were the ones who blocked foreign stars coming to England, but the Premier League wags the dog now not the FA…

  • Appreciate the background as always GN5!

    As per the lineup TA? With just the FA Cup match home vs Newcastle (1/9) until a Thursday (1/14) PL one vs Palace. I’d like to see the same lineup today with Lacazette up front. Then maybe Mikel makes some of those changes in the FA Cup match– possibly earning some a start in the return PL game vs Newcastle (1/18). Don’t unsettle The Kids by changing the lineup now– when there’s minutes to be had for those you mention next week. Also not keen on playing those who have just come off either injuries or illness just to give minutes.

    Had read there will be more of a premium on uncovering South American talent until details of the EU exit have been fleshed out. Might be reason KSE gives Arteta more backing than expected in January.


  • 1
    Pablo Marí
    Smith Rowe
    Aubameyang (c)
    R. Rúnarsson
    David Luiz

  • I’m watching football on the TV and the semi finals of the World Championship Darts on my computer.

  • This will no doubt be a tough old match and Sam will instruct his bullies to kick our youngsters out of our stride. No pretty football tonight and we will need to keep our heads.

  • Total, I played darts since I was 14 years old on coached youth darts for 25 years. My son shot his first perfect game when he was 13 years old. So darts is in my blood, at one time my son and I had around 100 trophies between us so we decided to donate them to youth darts to be re- purposed.

    It’s tough because DAZN is the only way I can see Premier League and Darts in Canada and it does not have recording facilities so I’m forced to watch them live and i don’t want to miss either..

  • Tierneeeeey, what a goal by the little Terrier. And on his weaker foot too…..

    Weather is starting to turn nasty.

  • bukayo and kieran are in a class of their own
    kieran must have been tired of providing assists for goals that … were not scored
    dani has had a few key passes which must have delighted PB

  • Le Gall, I’m an open book to you. 🙂
    Tierney’s goal was a peach. Lacazette is also fine.

  • We need to make this game a high scoring one by being composed and start picking passes, patiently. Auba, who needs goals, needs to be showing greater hunger and diving into crosses.

    That’s what the older heads, as advocated by some up here, will bring.

    Saka makes it two. Great combination with Smith-Rowe.

  • Special recognition to Laca there too. He’s flicked it nicely into the path of ESR before his lay off for Saka.

  • Auba vs Leicester redux
    how long had it been since we scored a tap-in after one-touch football like this??
    laca’s always great in the build-up of such moves
    We’re back!!

  • Besides being a top team goal I really enjoyed in our second, that while everybody had the opportunity to dribble, quick pass, hold the ball or shoot, the boys managed to pick the perfect choice at least 5-6 occasions in a row. Let’s exceed Leeds’ 5 tonight. 🙂
    I give ESR the credit, but everybody should be proud of this one.

  • If this develops into a blizzard, every chance the game gets called off and postponed. So, we have to hope that doesn’t happen.

  • wish rob could score his first (??) PL goal tonight
    for bernd, it has become a mind game
    the level of concentration that goalies of dominating teams must keep under such wintry circumstances, is something i admire very much

  • You are right, Le Gall, Rob scored in the Carabao Cup (against Nottingham) and a funny goal in the EL against Bate Borisov – and a wonder-header against PSG in a pre-season game – but he is a virgin when it comes to the Premier League.

  • Hope no one (including WB’s lads) is going to get injured on what the pitch’s turning into – Mikel, you wouldn’t antagonize any fan, I think, if you chose to take Bukayo out, so as to give him shelter from the storm, and keep him fit for the upcoming February battles (giving a few minutes to Pépé wouldn’t harm, either)
    Well, something’s happening, isn’t it? what a difference confidence makes
    ESR is a wonderful and funny lad; it always takes him a few minutes to get in the mood, he’s like a diesel engine – once he’s warmed up, it’s just plain sailing, and what an artist he is/will be
    Auba seems a bit lost; I think it’d be a good idea to keep him on the pitch so he might score the goal which’ll boost his confidence, and bring back our skipper to us

  • But the thing is is he willing to fight to score the goal he so desires? We could have been, at least, 3 up if he was willing to go a fraction of a second earlier or put his head on a 50-50 ball. I don’t get it. Tierney has just scored a goal he(Auba) would have been proud of; what more does he need to know it’s his chance to rack up some goals?

    Just look where he was stood as the second goal developed.

  • Charlie Austin on for the second half. It’s got to be more of the same, so he doesn’t get a sniff.

  • I come from a time when there were orange balls at the disposal of clubs (and spectators) in winter in case it should snow …
    H.G. Wells (aka Le Gall)

  • Laca is having a barnstorming game tonight. Probably his best outing in a while.

  • lac’s first double un red and white, or so I think) – help me out on that one too, PB
    good for laca to keep his scoring streak going – i liked the way (on the first one) he adapted the weight of his pass to bukayo at the start of the move, taking the snowy pitch into account, very professional
    well … mikel?? what about preserving bukayo/kieran a little?? ainsley.gabe need to stretch their legs, and a first goal for gabe’d be great
    well done, lads

  • 4 goals in one game and 3 wins in a row. Not bad for a team that was touted for a relegation battle. We must keep it going and see where we get after the next 3 games. Already, we are 3 points off 6th, which says a lot for the possibility of being in the top 7 if we get the results.

    Thought Laca was in with a shout for MoTM, along with Laca and Tierney. Let’s not forget that this WBA side held Liverpool and Man City on their grounds. I think the competition for places, with returning players, has helped the intensity. Also, the emergence of ESR seems to have placed Willock further down the pecking order and this is reflected in his game as he tries to over-elaborate simple situations and ends up making errors. He needs to go out on loan to play more.

    Great start to 2021 and long may it continue.

  • (for retsub1)


    We have three players on the pitch wearing tights, five of our 10 outfield players wearing gloves and Kieran Tierney is the only one in a short sleeve shirt without an under shirt.
    10:32 PM · 2 janv. 2021·TweetDeck

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