Arsenal v West Ham preview: latest on Koscielny, Walcott, Song…
Arsenal v West Ham preview: containing the latest team news and thoughts of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal make the short journey to Upton Park tomorrow to take on West Ham in the Premier League.
The Gunners are currently one point behind the Irons in 6th place in the Premier League table.
After making two changes for the Boxing Day clash with QPR, Arsene Wenger will be forced to make at least one change at West Ham with Olivier Giroud suspended for three matches.
It is likely with five matches in fourteen days that there will be further changes to the Gunners starting line up.
Arsene Wenger revealed the latest Arsenal team news at his press conference this morning.
“[Laurent] Koscielny has a chance, he will have a test tomorrow,” said Wenger. “He has a little chance. [Alex] Chamberlain has an even smaller chance.
Theo Walcott was in the squad on Friday but it was difficult to bring him on when it was tight and we had to defend. He’s not far away.”, added Wenger
Alex Song is set to face Arsenal at Upton Park on Sunday for the first time since leaving the Gunners to join Barcelona two years ago.
Song is currently on a season long loan at West Ham from Barcelona.
“He didn’t play on Friday against Chelsea,” noted Wenger. “He was certainly rested for us. I think he was a very good player when he was here but he didn’t play a lot when he was in Spain.
“I brought him here at the age of 17 and kept him despite all the opinions against him. You don’t need to convince me he’s a good player.”
Arsenal’s win over Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day kept them in touch with the teams immediately above them in the Premier League table.
West Ham are a point ahead of the Gunners, and fourth-placed Southampton are two clear.
After facing West Ham on Sunday the Gunners then visit St Mary’s Stadium on New Year’s Day to take on Southampton.
But Wenger does not expect the outcome of matches at the turn of the year to be decisive in finalising league positions.
“I don’t give importance to the table at the moment,” he said. “There’s 20 games to go.
“It’s very tight and it’s down to consistency now. We know every game now is down to consistency and reproducing the performances. We need to prepare quickly, focus quickly and that is an ability we want to show at West Ham.
“The plan is to sleep well and recover. We want to stay in the game. We’ll train on Saturday morning and on Saturday night we go to the hotel. It’s very quick and interesting as well.”
West Ham duo Alex Song and Diafra Sakho were rotated out of the starting line-up at Chelsea but are set to return against Arsenal.
Arsenal’s on-loan right back Carl Jenkinson is not eligible to play for the Irons under the terms of the loan agreement. Joey O’Brien or Guy Demel are likely to deputise.
James Tomkins is again likely to miss out with a hamstring problem, so James Collins will continue to deputise.
- Arsenal have won their last eight league and cup games against West Ham in all competitions.
- The Gunners have scored at least three times in each of their last five matches against the Hammers.
- West Ham have not beaten Arsenal since winning both meetings 1-0 in the 2006-07 season, triumphing at the Emirates Stadium in April 2007 and at Upton Park in November 2006.
- The Hammers have won six of their last seven Premier League home games.
- They have kept four clean sheets and conceded just three goals in that run.
- They are unbeaten at Upton Park since August, when they lost their opening two Premier League home matches.
- Arsenal have failed to score in only one of their last 11 away matches in the Premier League – their 2-0 loss to Chelsea on 5 October.
- The Gunners have conceded five times in their last two away league games – with all but one of those arriving before half-time.
- With 10 goals and six assists, Alexis Sanchez has scored or assisted half of Arsenal’s 32 Premier League goals this season.
- Ian Wright (14) is the only player to reach 10 Premier League goals in fewer games for Arsenal than Sanchez (17).