Buoyed by last weekend’s resounding success against Liverpool, Arsenal return to Premier League duties in high spirits as they travel across London to lock horns with West Ham United.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard inspired the Gunners to a morale-boosting 3-1 home win against the Premier League pacesetters last Sunday, blowing the title race wide open.
Despite whittling down the gap on the Anfield outfit to only two points, Arsenal cannot afford to get complacent, especially considering their tendency to follow up outstanding wins with sub-par showings.
Mikel Arteta’s men have enjoyed a remarkable start to the new calendar year in the Premier League, winning all three league assignments after a dismal 2-1 loss at Fulham on New Year’s Eve.
That was their second consecutive top-flight defeat against fellow London rivals following a 2-0 home defeat to none other than West Ham just before Christmas.
Arsenal exorcised those demons with an overwhelming 5-0 victory against Crystal Palace in the last Premier League London derby they’ve hosted, setting themselves up nicely for this revenge-poised clash.
Depleted by several high-profile absences, David Moyes’ charges seem destined to fail at the London Stadium for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Everton in late October.
Lucas Paqueta’s injury has proved a massive setback for West Ham’s quest to seal European qualification, as they’ve gone winless in their last six competitive outings (D4, L2).
Although the Hammers have yet to taste victory in 2024 and are winless in their last four Premier League games (D3, L1), they’re still within striking distance of sixth-placed Manchester United.
Only two points separate them from the Red Devils ahead of the kick-off, not least because they’ve reigned supreme in top-flight home contests this season, losing just twice in 11 (W5, D4).
Further confidence stems from West Ham’s impressive three-match unbeaten streak against Arsenal (W2, D1), including a 3-1 League Cup triumph on this ground in November.
However, their emerging defensive woes could facilitate Arsenal’s path to vengeance, with Moyes’ side conceding multiple goals in two of their last three Premier League fixtures.
Nothing less will do for the Gunners as they bid to better last season’s runner-up finish amidst a fierce battle for Premier League supremacy against Liverpool and Manchester City.
Arteta must improve Arsenal’s away form to increase the likelihood of returning home with all three points after overseeing just one triumph in the last four away league matches (D1, L2).
That success at least came on their last Premier League travel.
Gabriel Jesus and Saka scored beyond the hour mark to propel Arsenal to a 2-1 victory at Nottingham Forest, offering them a chance to win back-to-back away league games for only the third time this season.
Another free-firing display could be mandatory, considering the last five meetings between West Ham and the Gunners at the London Stadium have seen both sides on the scoresheet.
Team News & Potential Line-ups
Paqueta is not the only first-team star unavailable for selection. West Ham can’t call upon talismanic forward Michail Antonio.
On a more positive note, first-choice goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is ready to reclaim his place between the sticks after being taken off at half-time of the Hammers’ 3-0 loss to Man Utd.
West Ham United potential starting line-up:
(4-4-2): Alphonse Areola; Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Emerson; Tomas Soucek, Edson Alvarez, Kalvin Phillips, James Ward-Prowse; Mohammed Kudus, Jarrod Bowen.
On the other hand, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus are still in doubt after being forced off against Liverpool.
Saka suffered the same fate, but the quicksilver winger is fit and ready to join forces with Martinelli and Trossard up top.
Arsenal potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): David Raya; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel, Takehiro Tomiyasu; Martin Odegaard, Declan Rice, Jorginho; Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli.