Arsenal makes the short trip to East London to take on West Ham United, who have already beaten the Gunners twice this season.
David Moyes ended one of his major droughts of not winning against a particular opponent away from home in Arsenal when West Ham United triumphed in December. Since that smashing win over the Gunners, the Hammers have not managed another victory in the league since they aim to end that barren run on Sunday.
The Hammers have not in the best of runs of late since that win at the Emirates. Three draws and a defeat in the Premier League, coupled with the FA Cup elimination at the hands of Bristol City in a two-legged affair, sums up their form. Last weekend, Manchester United ran out 3-0 winners, with Moyes’s men unable to muster anything close to a reply.
Moyes will still harbour massive ambitions for the season and has a squad capable of delivering significant results. West Ham will primarily target a place in the top-six, although their current spot at seventh will come under severe pressure from Brighton if they cannot manage a win at the weekend.
In contrast, Arsenal come into the West Ham clash at the back of a third successive win in the Premier League. Last Sunday, they took a giant step in their season with a smashing victory over Liverpool at the Emirates. Mikel Arteta’s side barely allowed Jurgen Klopp’s Reds a sniff at their goal. However, the result would have gone in any direction except for individual errors dominating the post-match analysis.
Bukayo Saka’s opener was cancelled out by an unfortunate own goal by Gabriel Magalhaes with no fault of the Brazilian. A combination of errors from William Saliba and David Raya allowed Liverpool to re-enter the contest. However, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker did something similar in the second half to enable Arsenal to retake the lead.
Leandro Trossard put the game to rest late, as Liverpool had already been reduced to ten men following a second yellow for Ibrahima Konate. The win allowed Arsenal to route back into the title chase, as they closed the gap on the Reds to two points. Manchester City may have that upper hand for now, considering they are also two points away from the top with a game in hand.
Team News & Tactics
West Ham United
Davod Moyes does not have too many problems with his squad, with Lucas Paqueta and Michail Antonio the only confirmed absentees ahead of Sunday’s game against Arsenal. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was withdrawn in the second half with a head injury, but the Frenchman should return to the fold for this clash.
Moyes will probably name an unchanged lineup from their morale-sapping defeat away to Manchester United, meaning Maxwel Cornet will remain in his left-sided attacking role for now. Similarly, Nayef Aguerd continues to work his way through reclaiming his form and partnership with Kurt Zouma at the back.
James Ward-Prowse will also keep featuring in that advanced role in the attacking third, with Tomas Soucek and Edson Alvarez likely to feature in central midfield again.
With Mohammed Kudus also somewhat recovering from his AFCON journey, the Ghanaian will want to perform strongly to mark his true return. With him playing on the right side of the attack, Jarrod Bowen will continue to lead the line for the Hammers, hoping to maintain his excellent record against big sides.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson; Alvarez, Soucek; Kudus, Ward-Prowse, Cornet; Bowen
Much like David Moyes, Mikel Arteta might have named an unchanged side himself had it not been for one critical injury Arsenal had in the clash against Liverpool. Oleksandr Zinchenko went off at half-time with another calf problem, as his replacement, Jakub Kiwior, put in a tremendous shift in the second half.
However, Arteta will have Takehiro Tomiyasu available for selection since returning from his AFC Asian Cup journey with Japan. The versatile defender remains the manager’s preferred choice to replace Zinchenko at left-back against West Ham.
Regarding injuries, Fabio Vieira, Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey are all out of contention. Arteta downplayed the significance of Gabriel Jesus’ fresh knee trouble and insisted the striker could miss only a few days.
Hence, Arteta may not take an unwanted risk with the Brazilian against the Hammers, as his formula to play Kai Havertz in the No .9 role worked wonders. Considering the German will start up front, the manager may not change his midfield or front three for the West Ham encounter.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Odegaard, Rice, Jorginho; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli
- Arsenal have only won more Premier League games against Everton (37) than they have against West Ham United (35).
- Arsenal have only kept two clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League games against West Ham.
- Arsenal have won their last three matches in the Premier League.
- Since beating Arsenal at the Emirates, West Ham have not won a game in all competitions.
- The Hammers have gone four games without a win in the Premier League for the second time this season.
Player to Watch
Ideally, one would have readily named Declan Rice as this man to watch out for, as many would be eager to see the reception at the London Stadium. However, there is a particular focus on Kai Havertz after he put in a magnificent shift in the centre-forward role, troubling the Reds’ defenders.
Havertz has given Arteta a new option in the striker role, as Jesus was barely missed in that crucial Liverpool game. Havertz provides a physical presence up front, and those qualities will be needed against the Hammers and their otherwise daunting defenders. Should the German add goals to his game, some fans might revisit their calls to sign Ivan Toney in the winter window.
West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal
The Hammers are in desperate need of a win after a winless drought stretching since the end of December. Moyes has not fared well against Arsenal but will take encouragement from their result at the Emirates. Since that loss against West Ham, Arsenal have lost another two games in all competitions but have won their last three.
Moreover, they have put aside questions about their form in front of the goal, something that will play a crucial role if they are to win against the Hammers. Overall, the Gunners are in the form to take another win and keep their place near the table’s summit.