Competition: Premier League – West Ham vs. Arsenal
Venue: Boleyn Ground – Saturday, April 9 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: West Ham 14/5 – Draw 13/5 – Arsenal 10/11
West Ham are chasing a top four place and a win on Saturday would see them join Manchester City on 54 points and so their hopes of obtaining Champions League football could rise significantly.
However, the 2-2 draw last weekend against an out-of-form Crystal Palace side will be seen as two points dropped, which at this stage of the season, can be detrimental to their chances.
If they can bounce back with another strong performance against one of the league’s elite sides, belief will start to flow through the squad that they could realistically seal a top four finish.
Arsenal on the other hand are still chasing a title, despite being 11 points off would-be champions Leicester City. Their chances are slim but Arsene Wenger knows his side need to win this game to keep faint hopes alive.
They are four points clear of Manchester City so their grip on an automatic Champions League slot is firm at the minute but a loss on Saturday could see City close the gap to one and would really ile pressure on the Gunners for the run-in.
Form is with Arsenal as they are searching for their third win on the bounce after scoring six and conceding zero in their last two league outings. Belief and confidence should be high going into Saturday’s game.
These sides met on the opening day of the 2015/16 season at the Emirates, with West Ham picking up a shock 2-0 win with a result that set the tone for what has been a remarkable season.
West Ham will be without Arsenal loanee Carl Jenkinson, who is out for the season with a knee injury, while James Collins (hamstring) and Sam Byram (muscle tear) are both out and will not feature either.
Arsenal midfielders Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Mathieu Flamini (hip) are both doubts. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Santi Cazorla (heel) are both still out. Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere are back in full training but are lacking match fitness and aren’t expected to feature here. Danny Welbeck may be preferred to Olivier Giroud in attack once again.
West Ham’s last five: W/W/W/D/D
Arsenal’s last five: L/L/D/W/W
Key Stat: West Ham last completed the double over Arsenal in the 2006/07 season. Opportunity.
Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean international had a goal and an assist in the Gunners’ win over Watford last time out. Replicating this form will prove pivotal if Arsenal are to take three points from West Ham on Saturday.
West Ham 1-1 Arsenal – The Hammers have been a refreshing side since the appointment of Slaven Bilic last summer. They are much stronger defensively and pose numerous threats in attack. Arsenal have assets of the own but we expect the two to equal each other out in what should be a hard-fought London derby.