Gunners seeking revenge for opening day defeat
Gunners seeking revenge for opening day defeat

West Ham will be looking to effectively kill of any lingering hopes Arsenal have of winning the Premier League title at the Boleyn Ground tomorrow.

The Hammers, who beat the Gunners on the opening of the season, know a win will boost their chances of European football for next season.

West Ham are well placed to qualify for the Europa League and have an outside chance of making the top four.

West Ham will be looking to win both matches against Arsenal in the same season for the first time since 2006/07.

West Ham have an impressive record in London derbies this season. They have won 14 points from seven matches compared to Arsenal’s five from six matches.

For Arsenal it is another must win match if they are to close the eleven point gap on leaders Leicester City, and the four point gap on second placed Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gunners will also be looking to win on their last ever visit to the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers move into the 60,000 Olympic Stadium next season.

Arsene Wenger has an excellent record at the Boleyn Ground, winning nine and losing just two of his sixteen Premier League visits (W9 D5 L2).

The Managers

Slaven Bilic

“It was a major surprise [when we beat Arsenal] at the time, but we’ve shown throughout the season that it wasn’t a one-off,” Bilic said.

Arsenal are very dangerous in the beginning of games and they are in very good form.

To beat Arsenal you have to play a complete game. When they have the ball, you have to reduce the gaps between the lines. It’s a big London derby. Arsenal are fighting for the championship so they will want to win all their remaining games – we both want the three points.”

We are happy but we want to grab any possible situation in front of us. Arsenal are quite used to being in these situations year after year. There’s no point in talking about who are favourites.”

Arsene Wenger

I’m always reluctant to change what works,” Wenger said. “[It is] down to the confidence gained from our last two games. Team play has improved in those games and our game is based on mobility, speed and technique. We have found a good balance in our game.

We know that we need nearly the perfect run and we know as well that we don’t look only in front of us, we look behind us as well. We are chased by a group of teams who can make it very difficult for us so we have just to focus on our performance and hope we finish [the season] in a very strong way.

As long as it’s mathematically possible, there’s a strong possibility [Arsenal can catch Leicester]. You look at the difficulty of the Premier League and they have been very consistent but every game is very, very tight. That can go the other way.”

Key Men

Dimitri Payet has been one of signings of the season and has been the catalyst for impressive season. Only Chelsea’s Willian (six) has scored more direct free-kicks this season than Payet (four). Cheikhou Kouyate has scored in two of his three Premier League games for West Ham against the Gunners.

Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny are starting form a promising partnership at centre back, but are likely to be more tested tomorrow than they were against Watford and Everton. Alex Iwobi netted in the wins over Watford and Everton.

Team News

West Ham

The match will come too soon for defenders James Collins and Sam Byram to be involved.

Cheikhou Kouyate is eligible to play after the red card he received against Crystal Palace last weekend was overturned

West Ham United (from): Adrian, Randolph, Spiegel, Cresswell, Demel, Henry, O’Brien, Ogbonna, Oxford, Reid, Tomkins, Antonio, Kouyate, Lanzini, Moses, Noble, Obiang, Payet, Song, Carroll, Jelavic, Sakho, Valencia, Zarate.

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) are set to return to the squad. Petr Cech is pushing for a return in goal having been on the bench last week after recovering from injury.

Arsenal (from): Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Elneny, Coquelin, Flamini, Ozil, Ramsey, Iwobi, Campbell, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck.

Prediction

Arsenal to keep their faint Premier League title hopes alive with a 2-1 win.

Match officials
Referee:
Craig Pawson Assistants: L Betts, D Cann Fourth Official: J Moss