West Ham face Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday at the London Stadium. The hosts look out of the top four race and have the distraction of a two-legged Europa League semi-final on either side of this match. The Gunners have won consecutive big matches against Chelsea and Man Utd and are looking like the favourites to take the fourth Champions League spot. Arsenal have gone five matches without defeat against West Ham, winning four of those.
West Ham Form
The Hammers have had a tough couple of months as their European commitments take their toll. Their last 13 matches in all competitions have seen seven defeats. In league action, they have three defeats in five matches and a solitary win.
A 4-1 aggregate victory against Lyon in the Europa League (1-1 at home, 3-0 away win) came either side of losing 2-0 at Brentford in the Premier League. A 1-1 home draw with struggling Burnley was next before losing 1-0 at Chelsea in the last minute. West Ham lost 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in their last match, the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals.
West Ham Team News
The Hammers are without Craig Dawson at centre back due to suspension after his red card against Chelsea. With Angelo Ogbonna out long-term, David Moyes is hoping that Issa Diop recovers and can partner with Kurt Zouma. That looks unlikely, so he may need to switch to a back three with Aaron Cresswell and Ben Johnson are side centre backs.
The rest of the squad is available and a little rotation is expected with priority given to the Europa League second leg. Jarrod Bowen or Michail Antonio could be given a breather with Said Benrahma starting
West Ham Motivation
The Hammers can’t really get into the top four even with a win here. All attention is on their trip to Germany next Thursday. Expect some rotation, fatigue and a lack of complete focus on beating Arsenal.
David Moyes’ side have won just once in their last six matches after Europa League clashes with three defeats.
The Gunners look favourites to finish in the top four despite just coming out of a serious rut. After five wins in a row, they sat six clear of rivals, Tottenham having played one fewer match. However, four losses in their next five matches saw them fall out of the Champions League places.
Two poor defeats came at home to Brighton (2-1) and at Southampton (1-0). Both sides were struggling badly for form and points prior to facing Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s side bounced back though with two key wins, 4-2 at a below-par Chelsea and 3-1 against Man Utd. The latter match saw some fortune as the Gunners were awarded a penalty and Granit Xhaka’s goal could have been ruled out for offside.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta is without Kieran Tierney at left-back and Thomas Partey in midfield. Nuno Tavares scored in the last match and will keep his place in defence and Mohamed Elneny has impressed in midfield so will partner Xhaka.
Takehiro Tomiyasu made his return from injury in the last match but may have to make do with a place on the bench. Alexandre Lacazette is fit and available so Eddie Nketiah could make way in attack. Bukayo Saka has been carrying a few knocks and playing through the pain and will start this one.
Arsenal have to win this match with just a two-point advantage over Spurs currently. A draw would be a poor result unless Tottenham also drop points this weekend (with Spurs playing first). Should Antonio Conte’s side beat Leicester, pressure will be ramped up on the Gunners to respond with a win.
West Ham may be tired so Mikel Arteta could demand a fast start whilst also being concerned with the counter-attacking threat posed by the Hammers.
West Ham have lost 7 of their last 13 matches (all comps)
West Ham have lost 3 of their last 5 PL matches
West Ham have conceded in their last 4 home P L matches
Arsenal are 5 PL matches unbeaten against West Ham (W4, D1)
Arsenal have lost 4 of their last 7 PL matches
Arsenal have failed to score in 3 of their last 7 matches
This would usually be a 50-50 match. West Ham are in poor form though with bigger fish to fry and defensive injuries. Arsenal need to win this match and should have enough to do it. They could also find the Hammers hard to break down as Chelsea did a week ago.
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