West Brom vs Arsenal: Besieged Gunners unlikely to receive respite from bouncing Baggies

Arsenal are in the midst of a dreadful start to the season, and in-form West Brom look primed to pile on the misery.

When: Wednesday August 25, 8pm GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports

Best bets

West Brom to win the match at 5/2

West Brom to win and both teams to score at 21/4

Draw half-time, West Brom full-time at 13/2

It's fair to say that West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal have had deeply contrasting starts to the season.

The Baggies have boinged their way from the disappointment of relegation to win three of their first four matches and looked mightily impressive while doing it.

Arsenal, meanwhile, appear to be in full-on crisis mode after two humbling Premier League defeats and still await their first goal of the season.

Indeed, should Arsenal lose again it could prove to be the result that ultimately sees boss Mikel Arteta shown the door by the Gunners' board.

Last three EFL Cup campaigns

2020/21

West Brom

Despite a routine 3-0 home win against League Two new boys Harrogate Town in their opening round, West Brom didn't pull up any trees in the EFL Cup last season.

They were eliminated on penalties at The Hawthorns by Brentford, who would replace them in the Premier League come the end of the season.

Arsenal

It is unusual for Arsenal to be involved in the EFL Cup this early, but a lack of European soccer sees them enter the competition a round earlier than normal.

Last season they were given a very tough draw, with Leicester their first opponents followed by a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.

They came through both, yet were thrashed 4-1 by Manchester City a few days before Christmas to end their interest.

2019/20

West Brom

There was a real 'might as well have not bothered' feel about West Brom's efforts in the EFL Cup in 2020/21.

Despite taking an early lead, they were dumped out in the first round by Millwall at The Hawthorns.

Arsenal

Remarkably, Arsenal scored 10 goals in their first two rounds of the EFL Cup in 2019/20 yet didn't get the chance to go any further in the competition.

The trounced Nottingham Forest 5-0 at the Emirates in their first match, earning them a trip to Liverpool.

A quite extraordinary 5-5 draw followed, with the Gunners eliminated on penalties.

2018/19

West Brom

The Baggies definitely flirted with an EFL Cup run in 2019/20, although quickly came unstuck as soon as they ran into Premier League opposition.

West Brom continued their remarkable habit of home draws in the competition and manoeuvred themselves past Luton and Mansfield with ease.

However, Crystal Palace put paid to any Wembley dreams they might have started to harbour by handing them a comprehensive 3-0 defeat.

Arsenal

This was another of Arsenal's 'promised much, offered little, annoying exit' kind of EFL Cup runs.

After beating Brentford and Blackpool to advance, they were eliminated by bitter rivals Tottenham.

Historic head-to-head

West Brom wins: 38

Draws: 31

Arsenal wins: 74

West Brom flying

There can be no denying that West Brom had a bit of a shocker last season. They were relegated from the Premier League without much of a fight if truth be told.

The best way to get over that, though, is by making a strong start to the following season, and that is exactly what they have done.

New boss Valerien Ismael has got his side off to a flier, with them beating Luton, Sheffield United and Blackburn already.

The manner in which they are winning the games is even more impressive than the results themselves, and they will be full of confidence going into the clash against the Gunners.

Gunners firing blanks

Arsenal, meanwhile, look utterly devoid of confidence and with good reason.

They have faced two very different tests so far this season and completely failed them both. Brentford outbattled them on the opening day and Chelsea outclassed them last week. Both ended in 2-0 defeats.

It may simply be down to circumstances. Newly promoted teams are usually very tough to face in their first home game, and Chelsea will outclass the vast majority of sides they face this season.

And it's not like Arsenal are devoid of quality, either. Granted, they are not the force they once were, but they are also nowhere near as bad as they have shown so far this season.

They will start winning again sooner rather than later. However, not soon enough to save their EFL Cup campaign and maybe not even soon enough to save Mikel Arteta's job.

READ MORE: Market movers: Chelsea's title odds shorten, while Arteta in to evens to go next