Mar 7, 2020 at 3pm UK
West HamWest Ham United
Lacazette (78')
FT(HT: 0-0)

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

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Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League encounter between Arsenal and West Ham, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Arsenal play host to West Ham United at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon in a battle between two sides needing three points for entirely different reasons.

The Gunners go into the weekend's clash five points off fifth-placed Manchester United, while West Ham are only above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Match preview

Mikel Arteta was welcomed with open arms back to the club where he spent five years between 2011 and 2016, but it has been a topsy-turvy start to life for the former Gunners captain in the Emirates dugout.

Indeed, the North London outfit are unbeaten in the Premier League since the New Year, and have won four out of their last five matches in all competitions.

Monday's 2-0 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round keeps Arteta's hopes of a trophy in his maiden season alive, a win which was much needed following the manner of their defeat to Olympiacos in the Europa League round of 32.

Having reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in the 2017-18 campaign, and finishing runners up to Chelsea last year, many Arsenal fans believed that a European trophy and a route back to Champions League football could have been on the horizon for their side this season.

Nevertheless, Arsenal's league form has much improved since Arteta replaced fellow Spaniard Unai Emery, and the Gunners now sit eight points off the top four on 37 points.

Moreover, the emphasis on the long-term development of youth has led to the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah all enjoying regular first-team action, with the latter registering two goals in his last two starts.

Arteta has already seen his side keep six clean sheets in all competitions since his arrival, with the centre-back partnership of Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz garnering significant praise for their performances in recent weeks.

A third consecutive league victory could see Arsenal rise to eighth in the table, potentially leapfrogging arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the process should Burnley pick up all three points against Jose Mourinho's side on Saturday.

In contrast, West Ham's 3-1 victory over Southampton was their first league win since New Year's Day, and David Moyes's side are at a real risk of a first relegation since 2011 should results not improve.

As protests against the ownership of the club continue to bedevil the Londoners, Hammers supporters will be desperate to see their side pick up only their fourth win away from home all season.

Moyes' men performed valiantly for the most part at Anfield last Monday, but eventually made the trip back down to London empty-handed following a result which has more or less epitomised their season.

However, last weekend's triumph against Southampton has brought some much-needed relief to the London Stadium, as goals from Jarrod Bowen, Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio comfortably saw off Ralph Hasenhuttl's side.

The arrival of Bowen in particular has brought with it a strong sense of optimism over the former Hull City attacker, and fans will be eager to see what the 23-year-old can bring to the table in their fight for survival over the coming weeks.

With games against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea coming up after their Emirates visit, West Ham are no doubt in a perilous position as the relegation battle reaches a crucial point.

The Hammers have conceded nine goals in their last three league games away from home, albeit to top-four sides Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City, and have also suffered defeats at Sheffield United and Crystal Palace since the New Year.

Nevertheless, should Moyes manage to shore up his defence in a similar way to that of Arteta at Arsenal, Hammers supporters may just be able to look forward to another Premier League campaign next season.

Arsenal Premier League form: DDDDWW
Arsenal form (all competitions): DWWWLW

West Ham United Premier League form: LLDLLW
West Ham United form (all competitions): LLDLLW

Team News

Arsenal will be without midfielder Lucas Torreira after the Uruguay international suffered a fractured ankle in Monday's victory at Fratton Park.

After impressing against Portsmouth, Pablo Mari could make his first Premier League start in place of Mustafi or Luiz.

Kieran Tierney could make a long-awaited return to the squad, but fellow defenders Sead Kolasinac, Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers all remain out.

Alexandre Lacazette is also expected to lead the line in place of Nketiah given the 20-year-old's exploits in the FA Cup.

As for West Ham, Lukasz Fabianski will be looking to rectify his mistakes at Anfield this weekend against his former club, but ex-Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will not feature.

January loan signing Tomas Soucek remains sidelined with a hip injury, meaning Declan Rice and Mark Noble are likely to feature as a deep-lying midfield pair.

Ryan Fredericks and Andriy Yarmolenko remain out, while Bowen is likely to be rewarded for his goal against Southampton with another start at the weekend.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Mari, Mustafi, Saka; Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Ngakia, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Bowen, Fornals, Anderson; Antonio

Head To Head

Saturday's game represents the 142nd meeting between the two sides, with Arsenal recording 67 wins in comparison to West Ham's 35.

The Hammers were the first team to beat Arsenal at the Emirates in 2007 courtesy of a Bobby Zamora goal, but have fallen to defeat in their last four visits to North London.

Freddie Ljungberg recorded his only victory as the Gunners' interim manager against West Ham back in December, as goals from Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a 3-1 victory for Arsenal.

We say: Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United

West Ham are visiting a ground where they have shipped a hefty amount of goals over the past few years, and given Arsenal's quality in attack and improved defensive record, we're going for a comfortable home win.

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