Arsenal are looking to put last week's defeats by Everton and Manchester City behind them and get back into the Premier League title race when they face West Bromwich Albion in the Boxing Day fixture at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are now nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but will return home to north London in an effort to try and get back on track after a difficult week. West Brom meanwhile will hope to bounce back from the 2-0 loss to Manchester United.
Follow the live action below...
It’s a big game for…
Arsène Wenger: Quite simply, after back-to-back defeats, the pressure is on Wenger to ensure Arsenal’s title challenge does not slide completely off the rails this Christmas.
Tony Pulis, his old bête noire, is unlikely to make it easy for him. His West Bromwich Albion side are in form and primed for an impressive finish this season.
20/20: Arsenal have met West Bromwich 20 times in Premier League history and have scored in every encounter.
Wenger’s men went down to defeat at the Hawthorns last November, with injuries to Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla severely denting their title hopes.
Player to watch…
Mesut Özil: The playmaker was singled out for criticism in each of Arsenal’s recent defeats, but Wenger believes his languid playing style makes him an unfair target.
Past three meetings…
Arsenal (Sanchez 2) 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
Premier League, April 2016
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Morrison, Arteta og) Arsenal 1 (Giroud)
Premier League, November 2015
Arsenal 4 (Walcott 3, Wilshere) West Bromwich Albion 1 (McAuley)
Premier League, May 2015
West Bromwich Albion: DWLWL
Kick-off time: 3.00pm
TV: Highlights on BBC One, 10.55pm
Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the Boxing Day Premier League action, with eight games set to kick-off a busy festive schedule. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all feature today, while Sam Allardyce makes his Premier League return with Crystal Palace after replacing Alan Pardew on Friday night, with the Eagles taking on Watford in the opening game of the day.
With everyone still in the Christmas spirit, sit back and relax as we bring you all the goals as they go in.
TEAM NEWS: Watford have made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend. Captain Troy Deeney and Juan Zuniga are omitted from the starting XI for Odion Ighalo and Daryl Janmaat as Walter Mazzarri looks to bounce back from consecutive league defeats.
Sam Allardyce has marked his first game in the Palace dugout with two alterations to the side that lost 1-0 to league leaders, Chelsea, last weekend. In an attacking line-up, Allardyce has opted for Andros Townsend and Mathieu Flamini over regular starters James McArthur and Joe Ledley.
STAT: Crystal Palace haven't kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since Boxing Day last year in a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth. Big Sam's introduction couldn't have come sooner.
No Troy Deeney? Watford scored three goals against Palace in the Premier League and the FA Cup last season and they all came from their skipper. Deeney scored Watford's equaliser during their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley in May and a brace to secure a 2-1 win over the Eagles at Selhurst Park earlier last season. Massive call to leave him out of the game today.
KEY MAN: Christian Benteke. The Belgium striker is beginning to come into his own at Palace after failing to impress during his short stay at Liverpool. After scoring six goals in his last seven away games for the Eagles, Benteke is proving to be an impressive outlet for Palace away from Selhurst Park and will be a big threat again at Vicarage Road.
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