Historically Arsenal have got West Ham’s number in this fixture – this may not surprise you. What may surprise you is that there has been more draws in West Ham versus Arsenal encounters than there has West Ham wins, with the Hammers winning on 34 occasions and there being 39 draws. This fairly dismal record for the claret and blues may continue this weekend, as Arsenal look set to add to the 60 wins they have already accumulated in this match up. Over the last six seasons, this game has averaged over three and a half goals a game, with the last game finishing 3-3, with Andy Carroll bagging a hat-trick for the Hammers. With both sides coming off of losses in the EFL Cup, and both needing points for their respective league campaigns (be it at the top or bottom of the table) expect a full blooded, vigorous affair at the London Stadium.
This will be West Ham’s first home game since 5th November, following a defeat at White Hart Lane and a draw and a loss at Old Trafford. The Iron are winless in four in the Premier League, and have only registered three points on three occasions this season – all 1-0 successes over Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Sunderland. Clearly then, this is not the start to the inaugural season at the London Stadium the West Ham bigwigs had in mind. However, bizarrely, the claret and blues are only eight points from Manchester United in 6th position – reason enough not to simply write off this campaign but rather get stuck in to change the fortunes on the pitch as soon as possible.
Arsenal, in stark contrast to their opponents, have not lost in the league since the opening day of the season – a 3-4 defeat to Liverpool. In the following twelve Premier League matches, the Gunners have drawn four times and won the remainder. Despite a disappointing draw at home to Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal yet again progress to the knock out stages of the Champions League. The only real blemish on Wenger’s record this season is a quarter final EFL Cup exit versus Southampton. Sure, people may make jokes about the Gunners sitting fourth yet again, and finishing second in the Champions League group again – surely making life very difficult for themselves in the next round. These are facts. However, Wenger’s men are only three points from the top of the league, have only lost once (by a single goal to second placed Liverpool) and lest it not be forgotten comfortably beat the league leaders in September by three goals to nil. There is certainly reasons to be cheerful as we enter the festive season for Arsenal fans.
Predicted line up
West Ham United predicted starting XI:
Arsenal predicted starting XI:
Injuries and suspensions
Diafra Sakho is West Ham’s freshest injury concern, recently being ruled out for six weeks. Andy Carroll, Sam Byram and Gokhan Tore will not return in West Ham colours for this fixture.
Arsenal’s long term injury list remains just that – long term. Welbeck, Cazorla, Akpom and Mertesacker will be out for some time, as well as medium term concern Bellerin. Giroud and Debuchy are touch and go for this fixture. Mohamed Elneny was substituted before half time in the EFL Cup tie versus Arsenal, and may be set for a spell on the sidelines.
A trip to the London Stadium will represent a difficult challenge for Arsenal, and Hammers fans will certainly not want to lose consecutive London derbies in a matter of weeks. However, despite being the away side, this writer is tipping Arsenal to have just about enough quality to see off a struggling West Ham side, who look a shadow of their former (12 months ago) selves.
Our prediction: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
Featured image: All rights reserved by Stuart MacFarlane