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01 January 2021 18:44

Sports Mole looks at how Arsenal could line up in Saturday's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion.

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© Provided by Football FanCast West Brom's Matheus Pereira West Brom's start to life under Sam Allardyce has been a mixed bag, though mostly negative. In between two embarrassing defeats, the Baggies pulled off a phenomenal result up at Anfield, drawing 1-1 with the defending champions, but it seems it was all for nothing as they were thumped 5-0 by old foes, Leeds United, at the weekend. Interestingly, the 66-year-old has largely stuck with the starting XI that got Slaven Bilic the sack barring one or two names, so evidently, changes are needed if Albion are to stand a chance at surviving in the Premier League. Big Sam has opted to snub Matheus Pereira since his return from suspension, restricting the creative Brazilian to two substitute appearances and that's a dangerous game to play. Even after providing the assist against the Reds, the permanent summer arrival still couldn't get in the starting XI, not even over Matty Phillips, who was utterly woeful against United.

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That goal contribution took the £18m-rated sensation's total to 32 goals or assists in just 55 appearances, per Transfermarkt. He is undeniably the biggest creative influence in the lacklustre Baggies side – since his arrival last term, the former Sporting attacking midfielder has averaged at least 2.4 key passes per game across the Championship and Premier League. Pereira once again tops the charts for that facet – and he's way, way clear as the next best this campaign is Phillips on 0.8 key passes per game. It seems baffling that Allardyce would ignore such a player from the off. He simply must be starting every single game.

The £30k-per-week maestro was named Championship Player of the Year by Sky Sports pundit Keith Andrews, who said: "I'm going to go for Pereira because I have been blown away by his skill, his ability on the ball, the way he takes the game to the opposition and the vision he has. He is such an all-round attacking player and isn't just one type of No 10. I think he is at his best in the centre, but we have seen him play from the right and the left, too." Whilst he has also been previously lauded as an "absolute steal" and a "genius." One goal in three games isn't a sign that things are changing at the Hawthorns, so if Big Sam has any sense, then Pereira will be the first name on the teamsheet between now and the final game of the season. AND in other news, this Baggies star BETRAYED Sam Allardyce in 5-0 Leeds thrashing… The post West Brom: Sam Allardyce must unshackle Matheus Pereira first appeared on FootballFanCast.com. Sports Mole looks at how Arsenal could line up in Saturday's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion. Arsenal will be targeting a third straight Premier League victory when they take on a struggling West Bromwich Albion side at the Hawthorns on Saturday night. The Gunners have won their last two against Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion, although a disappointing season to date has left them in 13th position in the table. Mikel Arteta's side have lost four of their eight away matches in the league this season but will fancy their chances of beating a West Brom outfit that currently occupy 19th spot. Here, Sports Mole looks at how Arsenal could line up in their first match of 2021. Out: Gabriel Magalhaes (coronavirus), Thomas Partey (thigh) Doubtful: David Luiz (illness), Willian (illness), Bukayo Saka (knock), Reiss Nelson (muscle)> Click here for Arsenal's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match Arsenal will again be without the services of Gabriel Magalhaes due to coronavirus, while fellow summer arrival Thomas Partey remains unavailable for selection due to a thigh problem. Willian and David Luiz have both recently been absent due to illness, but the pair should be available on Saturday, while Bukayo Saka is expected to overcome a knock. Arteta could decide to select the same XI that took to the field against Brighton, with Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Saka operating behind lone forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Alexandre Lacazette scored the winner at the Amex and is in contention, though, with Arteta now facing a selection dilemma in the final third of the field. There are unlikely to be any changes to the back four or midfield two, meaning that the likes of Dani Ceballos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will have to accept spots on the bench once again. Willian and Luiz, meanwhile, are expected to be named among the substitutes as the London club have performed impressively without the Brazilian pair.