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West Brom to battle Arsenal for victory in survival fight

Sport | Published:

Sunday seems certain to bring another eventful Albion trip to Arsenal.

But while the Baggies fans don fancy dress to mark the end of the season, captain Chris Brunt is warning his team-mates it is not party time yet.

In recent years, visits to the Emirates Stadium brought a sending-off, a hotly contested penalty, a couple of chastening defeats and a memorable, epic victory for the Baggies.

And Sunday's return is guaranteed to be colourful with travelling fans choosing North London as the scene for their end-of-season festivities.

But while the fans dress up, with a Spanish flavour expected in honour of boss Pepe Mel, Brunt says the players still have business to take care of with their Premier League future still not entirely secure.

Victory over West Ham on Saturday took Mel's side to 36 points and relative safety with three games remaining.

But Brunt warned: "We were all relieved and buzzing after the game because it was a big three points for us but I don't think we're out of the woods yet.

"Other results will dictate that.

"We've still got three games to play and we need to pick up some points."

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And Brunt has another mission in the final week of the season after a string of off-field dramas and controversies blighted the campaign.

An upturn in form has taken the Baggies to the brink of securing another season in the top flight but Brunt is keen for Mel's men to ensure the focus from outside the club remains on the field as the squad look to remind the public of their quality.

"We've got a good squad of players," said Brunt. "A lot has been made of stuff off the field this season and we haven't helped on it either because we haven't won enough games.

"But last week we won the game against West Ham, defended well, relied on our goalkeeper and back four when we needed to and used the bench well.

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"When you look at the likes of Victor Anichebe coming off the bench – I wouldn't want to be a defender seeing him coming on.

"He's a handful and he saw the game out well for us.

"He held the ball up for us and took a few whacks and that's credit to him because I'm sure he wants to be starting games but he came on and did his job.

"At Manchester City we weren't great. Against West Ham we started OK.

"Ben Foster made a great save in the first half but I don't really remember West Ham having too many clear-cut opportunities."

Saido Berahino netted the winner against the Hammers while forming a useful understanding in attack with record signing Stephane Sessegnon.

And Brunt reckons the pair can be potent if paired together after Berahino finally let his boots do the talking following a season of personal controversies.

The skipper said: "Saido deserved his goal. He worked his socks off. He was superb and we've got to give him a special mention.

"He's been out of the team for a while but he came back in and put in a performance like that and I was delighted for him.

"There have been a few bits and pieces in the Press over the last couple of months so to come back and play like that is credit to him.

"He was superb.

"Stephane was superb, too, and him and Saido worked really well together.

"He's a good player and you can see why we paid the money for him in the summer.

"We saw it last year when he played against us for Sunderland.

"He causes all sorts of problems because he's had a tough season.

"He had a bad injury over Christmas but he came back and did well."

"He trains well every day and he shows the quality he's got. You'd rather have him with you than against you.

"We defended well against set-plays. We knew West Ham were dangerous at those, but apart from the one that hit the bar I think we dealt well with them.

"We were glad to get the win in the end and hopefully that's one foot over the line."

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