Domestic football is well and truly underway as the League Cup prepares to return to our lives this weekend for what should be a fascinating set of fixtures across the country. One of the most notable, and arguably one of the most important, will go down at The Hawthorns when West Bromwich Albion host Arsenal in the second round.
On paper it’s a tie that really shouldn’t be all that close but in reality, this is a huge banana skin for the Gunners to try and overcome.
West Bromwich Albion may have experienced the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League last season but so far, they’ve done a pretty good job of bouncing back. They’ve strung together three wins and one draw to leave them joint top of the Championship alongside Fulham and if we didn’t know any better, we’d say they’re attempting to reclaim their status as a yo-yo club from Norwich. Either way they’re a threat, and that can’t be taken lightly by Mikel Arteta given how much of a role momentum can play in cup competitions.
Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League last season and they’ve followed that up with consecutive 2-0 defeats to Brentford and Chelsea to start off the new campaign. That should be incredibly worrying for this club and while there may still be plenty of time left to turn things around, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen. In fact, we’d suggest quite the opposite, with the Gunners being in a more vulnerable position now than they have been in a long time. – which is why it turns out this is actually a pretty important game of football.
We do think Arsenal are going to pull off the win here with a nice, professional performance that sees them come away with a 3-1 success and progression to the next round. That isn’t really going to be enough to stem the flow considering everything we know about the problems this team has right now, but maybe it could give them a purpose. The League Cup isn’t exactly the premier competition they’re going to be competing in but if they can go on a nice run and take it seriously, they could push themselves to the final.
Then again, that probably relies on Arteta still being in a job.
Can Arsenal finally get their campaign off to a winning start?