Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Arsenal
Venue: London Stadium – Saturday, December 3 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)
Match Odds: West Ham 4/1 – Draw 16/5 – Arsenal 4/6
Both sides were in EFL Cup action in midweek and both were dumped out of the competition – West Ham losing 4-1 away at Man United, while Arsenal suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton.
But attentions now turn back to Premier League action and this is an important game for the Hammers who need to gain confidence – winning a big game like this could give them the lift they need.
Slaven Bilic’s side are just one point and two places above the drop zone after 13 games, following a disappointing start to the season, although the move to a new ground could be seen as a major reason for struggling.
West Ham recorded two consecutive wins in October, but have since gone on a run of four league games without victory (D2, L2), although they have stemmed the flow of defeats, losing just two of their last seven (W2, D3).
Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 3-1 success in a tricky game at home to Bournemouth last weekend and while they’ll be disappointed to lose in the EFL Cup in midweek, it was never a priority this season.
The Gunners are still yet to lose a league game since the opening day defeat to Liverpool (W8, D4) and will come into this game as favourites, given their opponents’ inconsistency.
Arsene Wenger’s side are also undefeated away from home in all competitions this season, so they’ll be hoping to continue their impressive run to keep in touch with the front-runners.
The last meeting between these two sides was a thrilling 3-3 draw at Upton Park back in April. West Ham have only beaten Arsenal once in their last 16 attempts in the league (D3, L12), although that did come at the Emirates last season when they won 2-0.
West Ham will be without Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio after both suffered groin injuries in midweek. Diafra Sakho (thigh) and Sam Byram (hamstring) are also out, while Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku could return to the squad.
Arsenal’s familiar problem with injuries is no different this season. They will be without Mathieu Debuchy after he suffered a hamstring injury last weekend, while Olivier Giroud (groin) is a doubt. Santi Cazorla has undergone ankle surgery and will be sidelined for a further three months. Hector Bellerin (ankle) remains out, while Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are long-term absentees. Mohamed Elneny was taken off early in midweek, reportedly suffering with illness, but will hope to be fit for action this weekend.
West Ham’s last five: W/L/D/L/D
Arsenal’s last five: D/W/D/D/W
Key Stat: The Gunners are unbeaten in eight league visits to West Ham (W6, D2).
Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean doesn’t even seem to need to play well to produce results. He didn’t have his greatest game last weekend, yet he still netted twice and proved to be the difference for Arsenal. That’s the sign of a world-class player. His work ethic is above anyone’s and he could be crucial once again.
West Ham 1-2 Arsenal – This is always a tough game to call. But Arsenal will sense an opportunity as Man City and Chelsea play each other, so there is a chance to make up some ground on at least one of them. The Hammers are still struggling to find their feet at the London Stadium and they could be exposed again if the Gunners perform how we all know they can on their day.