Tuesday, June 25

Premier League



Preview: West Ham United vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: West Ham United vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:ID:346471: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League London derby between West Ham United and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.
By , Editor | 5mo

Gameweek 22 of the Premier League season gets underway with a capital city derby as West Ham United face Arsenal at the London Stadium.

The Hammers go into the match sitting in mid-table following an inconsistent campaign so far, while Arsenal have the chance to temporarily move level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea.

West Ham

Matters off the field will be most concerning to West Ham fans in the build-up to this match following the revelation that star man Marko Arnautovic wants to leave the club.

The forward's brother revealed on Thursday that the Austrian is eager for the club to accept a £35m bid from China, although West Ham have since insisted that he is not for sale.

Whether that wrangling spills onto the pitch - either in the form of Arnautovic being dropped or letting his performance level drop - remains to be seen, but it is an unwelcome distraction for a side looking to establish themselves in the top half.

Saturday's hosts go into the game sitting 10th in the table having won eight and lost nine of their opening 21 games, and victory would lift them up to eighth for a few hours at least.

The Hammers have only won one of their last four Premier League outings, though, having won four in a row before that to get December off to a flying start.

Every team in that middle cluster from seventh to 13th will be considering the outside possibility of a push for Europe, and Manuel Pellegrini's side can certainly afford to look up the table rather than over their shoulders with 12 points separating them from the relegation zone.

Nevertheless, an improvement is still needed at home in particular, with West Ham having fared better on their travels so far this season and taking only one point from their last two outings in front of their own fans.

Perhaps of even greater concern will be the fact that they have not kept a clean sheet in a league match at the London Stadium in their last eight attempts - their longest such run since a 12-game streak which came to an end in December 2009.

Indeed, their goalless draw with Chelsea in September remains their only home league clean sheet of the season, so the visit of the league's third-highest scorers is not ideal for Pellegrini's men.

However, the Hammers did manage one in the FA Cup last Saturday as they beat Birmingham City 2-0 to reach the fourth round, and they will hope to carry some momentum over from that match when Arsenal come to town.

Recent Premier League form: WWLWLD
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLDW


While West Ham may struggle to keep hold of their star man in the January transfer window, Arsenal seem unable to bring anyone in as they look to bolster their ranks in order to break into the top four.

Only loan signings will be available, according to manager Unai Emery, which means that the Spaniard will mostly have to make do with what he has got as he tries to bridge the three-point gap to Chelsea.

Victory on Saturday would see them draw level on points with their West London rivals - at least until Chelsea host Newcastle in Saturday's late kickoff - but a rejuvenated Manchester United are now also butting into the equation too.

Arsenal still sit three points clear of their old rivals - whom they will face in the fourth round of the FA Cup later this month - but a run of just two wins from their last five league games has allowed the Red Devils to catch up.

Gunners fans may be forgiven for having one eye on next weekend already as a showdown with main top-four rivals Chelsea looms at the Emirates, and the importance of taking momentum into that game with a win this weekend should not be understated.

Emery's side did at least respond to their 5-1 drubbing at Anfield with a big win of their own against Fulham on New Year's Day - running out 4-1 winners - although they were thankful for some wasteful Fulham finishing in that match as their defence once again looked shaky.

Indeed, Arsenal have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League games - at home to Huddersfield Town more than a month ago - and they are yet to keep one in their 10 away top-flight outings this season.

Only three teams in the entire league have conceded more goals than Arsenal on their travels, and they come into this match without a top-flight away victory since November - a four-match winless streak which has seen them ship 11 goals.

Things are at least better at the other end, where Arsenal have scored in every league game since their opening-day defeat to Manchester City, and their players should be rested after Emery was able to make a host of changes for their FA Cup win over Blackpool last Saturday.

Arsenal have also won their last two London derbies in the Premier League, and another triumph this weekend would see them make it three in a row for the first time since March 2015.

Recent Premier League form: WLWDLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWDLWW

Team News

Arsenal have been boosted by the news that six first-team players have returned to full training and are back in contention for this match.

Crucially, five of those are defenders to ease Emery's headaches at the back, with Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal all available once again.

Mesut Ozil is also in contention after recovering from his knee problem, and he could also start in an Arsenal side which is likely to show at least eight or nine changes from the FA Cup win over Blackpool.

One player almost certain to return is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored in each of his last four league London derbies, netting six goals in that time and providing two assists.

As for West Ham, Arnautovic was taken off just 20 minutes in to their FA Cup game against Birmingham and reacted angrily to the decision, despite Pellegrini taking precautions over a back problem.

The wantaway Austrian should be fit to start this weekend, though, and is likely to be used despite the latest speculation over his future.

Javier Hernandez has an outside chance of recovering from a back injury of his own in time for the match, but Pellegrini could instead opt for Andy Carroll after he came off the bench to score against Birmingham.

Carroll has also scored four times in his last two home league games against the Gunners, including a hat-trick in April 2016.

Pellegrini still has a lengthy list of absentees including Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini and former Arsenal stalwart Jack Wilshere.

There could still be a familiar face for the Arsenal fans, though, as Samir Nasri is expected to be in the squad and could make his first Premier League appearance since playing against West Ham in August 2016.

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Noble, Rice, Anderson; Carroll, Arnautovic

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

Head To Head

West Ham have lost more Premier League matches against Arsenal than they have against any other club in the division, being beaten 29 times from their 45 such meetings.

The Hammers have only won one of the last 23 across all competitions too, including three defeats in a row and an ongoing winless streak of seven.

That solitary victory came at the Emirates, and you have to go back to November 2006 for West Ham's last home triumph over Saturday's visitors, losing eight of the 11 such meetings since then.

We say: West Ham 1-3 Arsenal

West Ham do have players capable of causing a leaky Arsenal defence serious problems and they could get something from this game, but they have a miserable record against the Gunners and if Emery's side can tighten up at the back with their fit-again defenders returning then they should be able to come away with all three points.

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last updated article - 2019-01-13 19:03:16:
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