Arsenal v West Ham United: Premier League Match Preview
Arsenal host West Ham United in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium tonight (7.45pm kick-off UK time).
It’s a match that pits two teams currently on a poor run of form in the Premier League against each other, with speculation surrounding the futures of the respective managers Arsene Wenger and Slaven Bilic.
The Gunners go into the match in 6th position in the Premier League table.
Arsenal have the same record after 28 league games as they did last season, with 15 wins, six draws, seven defeats and 51 points.
Arsenal put in an improved performance in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Gunners had lost four out of their previous five Premier League games. The Gunners have only taken four points from the last 18 available.
However, they have lost just one of their 15 matches against sides in the bottom half of the table (W11, D3) prior to the latest round of matches.
West Ham are in 15th place in the Premier League table.
The Hammers currently have 33 points from 30 games, 17 fewer than they did at this stage last season.
Hull City came from a goal down to beat West Ham 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday.
West Ham have lost 20 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, the most of any side in the competition.
Saturday’s result continues a poor run of form for West Ham.
They have lost four Premier League games in a row. And are on a winless run of six in the Premier League – a run stretching back to 4 February.
A defeat tonight would make it five consecutive Premier League losses for the first time since they did so under Avram Grant between April and May 2011.
That poor run of form has left the Hammers just six points above the drop zone.
Arsenal won the reverse fixture 5-1 at the London Stadium on 3rd December 2016, with goals from Alexis Sanchez (3), Mesut Ozil and Alexis Oxlade-Chamberlain. Andy Carroll scored for the Hammers.
Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend of the 2015/16 season has been their only loss in the last 17 Premier League matches between the teams (W13 D3).
West Ham though do have a good record against Arsenal in the Premier League era at the Emirates Stadium and Highbury Only versus Fulham (6) have the Hammers won more Premier League away matches against than v Arsenal (5).
Alexis Sanchez has scored 18 goals in the Premier League this season and has 22 goals in all competitions.
Sanchez scored a hat-trick when the teams met at the London Stadium earlier in the season and has four goals and one assist in his last two matches against West Ham.
Theo Walcott’s goal against Manchester City on Sunday took his Premier League tally to 8 this season. He scored 18 in all competitions this season.
Andy Carroll’s return to full fitness is very timely for West Ham. Carroll has played the full 90 minutes in four successive league games for the first time since April 2014.
Carroll scored his 50th Premier League goal in West Ham’s defeat to Hull City. He is the 44th English player to reach that milestone.
Carroll has scored five Premier League goals against Arsenal – against no side has he scored more (also 5 v Swansea City and Manchester City).
This is what Wenger had to say on whether he has set a target for a top 4 Premier League finish
“No. I tell myself to finish as high as possible.
“It’s a good challenge [reaching the top four],” said Wenger. “It is perfectly possible, for 20 years I have done it. I am quite pleased that people can realise it is not as easy as it looks. Like Pep Guardiola said ‘to achieve a top four in England is a trophy.
“We have many games in April, we need to have everyone on board and to work like we did against Manchester City, then we have a chance. We need everybody on board. We need the support of our fans.
“We also have an FA Cup semi-final, There is all to go for and it is a good opportunity to show we are united and strong.”
This is what Wenger had to say about West Ham.
“They have struggled at home, moving into the new stadium. They lost Payet as well during the season. The Premier League is difficult but they have quality players.”
Bilic has been given the dreaded vote of confidence by the West Ham board. “Despite speculation to the contrary, the manager’s position is not under threat,” said West Ham in a statement.
This is what Bilic had to say on the statement.
“I don’t have to read the papers to know my relationship with the Board. I talk to the Chairman before and after every game.
“It’s nice to hear it, but I know I have the confidence of the Board. When I wasn’t worried before, I’m not relieved now.”
This is what Bilic had to say about facing Arsenal.
“It’s my second season, whereas Arsene has been there more than 20 years, so it’s different but our recent results are similar.
“Arsenal have their problems, but they are still a team with a lot of pace, a team you can’t afford to lose the ball against in your own half because the transition and pace they have up front is unbelievable.
“I watched Arsenal’s game with Manchester City on Sunday twice and they were very motivated and up for it physically and tactically.
“They attack with numbers which makes them more likely to create something, but when they lose the ball they are very vulnerable because they leave a big space behind which you can use.
“I saw a few things (we can exploit). They have their problems otherwise there wouldn’t be issues now.”
Laurent Koscielny is out with the Achilles injury picked up against Manchester City on Sunday.
Petr Cech remains sidelined with a calf injury, but may be fit to return against Crystal Palace next Monday. His deputy David Ospina is also a doubt after picking up a knock in Sunday’s match with Manchester City.
Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to return to the matchday squad.
Per Mertesacker is now fully fit and may return to the matchday squad.
Aaron Cresswell is out and will miss the next couple of games.
Michail Antonio returns after a hamstring injury.
Diafra Sakho is close to a return after recovering from a back injury that has kept him out since November and may be on the bench tonight.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: S Child, A Nunn
Fourth official: S Attwell
Arsenal to win 3-1.