WEST HAM VERSUS ARSENAL: MATCH FACTS AND PREVIEW

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Arsenal and West Ham square up in the traditional boxing day fixture of this season. Both teams enter into the game with a run of poor results. West Ham have not won in their last 4 league games while the gooners are passing through a lean patch and have not won in the last 3 games, getting just two points from a possible nine.

The gooners would go back to the summit of the league with a win and Liverpool fails to win at the Etihad.  This title race is turning out to ‘unbelievable’ according to Jose Mourinho and every point lost this season would be crucial to the gooners.

West Ham has had it rough this season and sits just above the relegation zone. The absence of Roy Carroll is surely being felt by the team, not just for his goals, but for his link-up play especially with Nolan and Diame. They have kept the second highest number of clean sheets in the league (8, just behind Everton) but still have a not too strong defence.

However, their strength is surely in midfield. Allardyce has a pool of experienced midfielders to choose from, Nolan, Morrison, Noble, Taylor, Cole; on the wings, they have Jarvis and Downing. However, I think the main man for the Hammers is Senegalese International, Mohammed Diame.

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The big tall midfielder is known for his power play and is in the same bracket as other powerful midfielders like Yaya Toure and Moussa Dembele. He can operate down any position across midfielder and has the power to drive through the defence. He has to be watched by the gooners, give him freedom to operate could be dangerous.

Wenger would have a hard choice also in his team selection. In the dour draw with Chelsea, he did not make a single substitution; expect him to make some changes to the starting line up with Carzola, Flamini and maybe Podolski making the lineup. Vermaelen would be expected to start in place of the recuperating Koscienly after a decent showing against Chelsea. The main dilemma for Wenger would be whether to start Ozil and Giroud. News was making the rounds that Bendtner would start in place of the tall handsome Frenchman. This could be the potential starting eleven.

SZCZESNY, GIBBS, MERTESACKER, VERMAELEN, SAGNA; FLAMINI, RAMSEY; CARZOLA, WALCOTT, PODOLSKI; GIROUD.

MATCH FACTS

 

Arsenal have won their last 6 matches against West Ham in all competitions.

 

Arsenal have scored at least 3 goals in their last 3 matches against West Ham in all competitions.

 

West Ham have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 4 home matches against Arsenal in all competitions.

 

West Ham have failed to win 9 of their last 10 matches in the Premier League.

 

West Ham have lost 8 of their last 10 Premier League meetings with Arsenal, but will looking to make home advantage count for the welcome of the Gunners on Boxing Day.

The trip to Upton Park will be Arsenal’s 100th London Derby away from home in the Premier League and a win for the north London side would make it 45 wins from the century of encounters.

 Arsenal are unbeaten against West Ham in their last 10 matches in the Premier League, winning 8 times and drawing twice.

West Ham have a chance conversion rate of only 9% compared to Arsenal’s 20%.

 

This should be a win for the Arsenal, if we are to win the league come May, this should be a game where we should win. We have not won in the last 3 premier league games and the last win over Southampton seems to be so long ago.

West Ham would not roll over and be beaten; they would give a very strong fight. Sam Allardyce teams always gives Arsenal problems especially during his Bolton days, but Arsenal should have enough to win the game and the away fans that would make the short 16 miles journey across London should come back celebrating.

Happy Birthday to the Welsh wizard, Aaron Ramsey. At 23, there is so much more to come from Rambo. #COYG

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