After excursions in the FA Cup, West Ham will welcome Arsenal in for this London derby on Saturday in the Premier League as the 22nd match day kicks off in earnest.
Group EPL London Stadium, London, England
Key Stat: Arsenal haven't lost to West Ham since March of 2015, a run of seven without defeat. That win for the Hammers is the only one against the Gunners they've had since 2007, meaning they have one win in 23 tries.
Expert Verdict: Given the fact that Arsenal have dominated this tie in the past decade plus and the fact that the Hammers are just not all that good at home, this one looks like a slam dunk for the Gunners. West Ham have occasionally looking to be kicking into form under Pellegrini, but each time they do they are brought back down to earth. That will prove to be the case at the former Olympic stadium as Arsenal shake off poor away form to win.
Mauricio Pellegrini has a number of injuries to account for here. Right back Ryan Fredericks and center backs Winston Reid and Fabian Balbuena are out. Midfielders Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez, and Manuel Lanzini are also ruled out, while winger Andrii Yarmolenko is set to miss out on most of the season.
Marko Arnautovic’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hammers. The Austrian striker had been sidelined for a while, and they desperately needed a hero last time out in the league. That he was. From 2-0 down, they came back with two goals from him in the span of three minutes. If the Hammers can get Felipe Anderson firing at the same time, they would be putting a lot of teams under considerable pressure. The former Lazio winger has eight goals to his name, one more than Arnautovic, and also has two assists, making him a dangerous threat on the counter.
West Ham have two wins, a draw, and two losses in their last five matches:
2-0 home win vs Birmingham City (FA Cup)
2-2 home draw vs Brighton
2-0 loss at Burnley
1-2 win at Southampton
0-2 home loss vs Watford
Defenders:Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell
Midfielders:Snodgrass, Obiang, Rice, Felipe Anderson
Unai Emery has center back Rob Holding, striker Danny Welbeck, and attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan all out for this fixture. Others are just on the cusp of being passed fit, so Emery could be looking at nearly full strength side before too much longer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored double the amount of goals (14) than his next closest teammate so far, and that makes him one to watch. He got his latest in the 4-1 romp over Fulham on New Year’s Day. The attack isn’t to be worried about if you’re a Gunner, though. Instead, it’s the back line. Fingers have to be crossed toward the fitness of Laurent Koscielny. If he can stay fit and play well, as he used to do so, he could at least temporarily fix what has been a porous defensive unit this term.
Arsenal have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
0-3 win at Blackpool (FA Cup)
4-1 home win vs Fulham
5-1 loss at Liverpool
1-1 draw at Brighton
3-1 home win vs Burnley
Defenders:Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny
Midfielders:Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac
Forwards:Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette
West Ham and Arsenal have played a total of 123 times to date, and it has been the Gunners leading the way in a landslide thus far. They have 61 wins, 34 draws, and 28 losses to the Hammers.
Here's a look at the last five results:
Aug 25, 2018: Arsenal 3-1 WHU
Apr 22, 2018: Arsenal 4-1 WHU
Dec 19, 2017: Arsenal 1-0 WHU (EFL Cup)
Dec 13, 2017: WHU 0-0 Arsenal
Apr 5, 2017: Arsenal 3-0 WHU
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
West Ham are at 5/2 to win, a draw is at 13/5, and an Arsenal win is at evens.
West Ham come into the weekend of fixtures in tenth place in the division with 28 points to their names from 21 matches. With two teams that had previously been doing fairly well, Bournemouth and Everton struggling, they have managed to do this with only four points coming in the last four games. It’s not a brilliant total, but they are well above the drop zone and look very safe compared to last term. As for Arsenal, they begin the weekend in fifth place with 41 points. They are thus three points off the pace of London rivals Chelsea for the Champions League places. But they now have to look over their shoulders as Manchester United have won four PL matches in a row now and are only three points behind them.
At home, the Hammers have been fairly average this term. They have four wins and two draws in 11 matches to give them a total of 14 points. It’s not brilliant, but it’s also not calamity, so it does help to explain where they are in the overall standings. In their last two matches there, they have just one point to show for their efforts. The Gunners’ away record, meanwhile, has them seventh so far. While they have improved from where they were a year ago, they have fallen off the pace of the teams above them largely due to this. They have four wins and three draws in ten outings, but they have struggled recently with two points coming from their last four excursions to foreign territory. Will that run keep up?
Arnautovic to score anytime and take advantage of a weak Arsenal defence is at 6/4. Aubameyang is at 21/20 to do so anytime. Both are at Ladbrokes.
At Betfair, you can get 1.47 odds for both teams to score.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a team just doesn’t play well against another side. And that is the case with this one for the Hammers. Just look at the squads. West Ham have players Arsenal didn’t want. If that doesn’t speak volumes, I’m not sure what does.