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West Ham United vs. Arsenal

Boleyn Ground

26th December, 2013

3pm

On Sky

West Ham United v Arsenal Match Preview

Arsenal travel to Upton Park on Boxing Day having taken only 2 points out of the last 9 available and the Gunners will want to get back on track against relegation threatened West Ham.

The Irons have struggled to score goals all season, especially at Upton Park. With Andy Carroll injured and Kevin Nolan yet to notch a league goal, Allardyce's job is probably on the line, adding to the pressure for him.

Arsenal meanwhile will look to rotate their team, with Arsene Wenger hinting that he would need to rest Mesut Ozil over the holiday period. Santi Cazorla has been an unused substitute in the last two matches and will be looking to play himself back into form.

Arsenal haven't been hot favourites for a game for some weeks now and they will have to readjust to the pressure of being expected to win- a pressure they have handled exquisitely for much of the season.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger maintains there are no easy matches in the Premier League, citing Chelsea's loss against Stoke recently, which he hopes will inspire his Arsenal side.

"In the Premier League, we have learned that this year it is difficult everywhere. For example Chelsea lost at Stoke a few weeks ago.

'Now we have to go to West Ham on Boxing Day and on top of everything it's a derby. We have given a lot against Chelsea so we need to make sure that we are completely focused on this game."

"It`s a local derby on Boxing Day," said the manager, "and we know that West Ham have made surprising results.

"They have won twice at Tottenham this season now and can be a tough opponent.

"I think everybody takes West Ham seriously and expects great resistance from them. Last year we did well against them - we have to be inspired by that, go there and play our game again. But they have good players, always a good crowd and it`s a derby so they are always up for it."

Irons boss Sam Allardyce has intimated that his will be a safety first approach this time around, after a couple of defeats against Arsenal last season.

'Arsenal had a very tactical game (against Chelsea). We could do with locking them out like Chelsea did.

'We got tumbled over twice by them last year, particularly at the Emirates, so we'll protect ourselves on Arsenal's abilities and then try to exploit their weaknesses.'

West Ham United Team News:

West Ham welcome back captain Kevin Nolan from a three match suspension for the visit of Arsenal. James Tomkins is still in the squad despite his arrest on Sunday.

Andy Carroll (ankle), Winston Reid (foot) and Ricardo Vaz Te (knee) are all long term absentees. Goalkeeper Adrian could keep Jussi Jaaskelainen on the bench having started the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend.

West Ham United (from): McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Rat, Collison, Maiga, Adrian, Taylor, Ravel, Noble, O'Brien, Diarra, Collins, Demel, Jaaskelainen, Downing, C.Cole, J.Cole.

Player to watch: Ravel Morrison

In a West Ham side that has struggled to inspire this season, Ravel Morrison has become the East Londoners' star turn. Capable of a mazy dribble and a moment of inspiration, much rests on the shoulders of Morrison.

West Ham's tactics will predominantly be to spoil, if they are to take the leap towards three points, you feel that Ravel Morrison will have to be involved somewhere.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal have no new injuries to contend with following the 0-0 draw with Chelsea. That means Jack Wilshere will complete his two match suspension.

Laurent Koscielny (knee) faces a late fitness test. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (knee), Yaya Sanogo (back) and Abou Diaby (knee) are all out.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Rosicky, Arteta, Podolski, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Monreal, S.Cazorla, Flamini, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Gnabry.

Player to watch: Olivier Giroud

With just two goals in his last ten games and a presentable chance squandered against Chelsea, eyes have begun to wander towards the imminently opening transfer window.

The words 'we need a world class striker' are back on the lips of Arsenal supporters. Whilst the all round job Giroud does for the team is widely acknowledged, his ruthlessness in front of goal is once again in question, with chances being snatched at rather than caressed as they were in the early part of the season.

Match Facts & Stats

West Ham have lost eight and won none of their last 10 Premier League games against Arsenal.

Theo Walcott has scored in his last three Barclays Premier League appearances against

West Ham.

Olivier Giroud has scored three goals in his two appearances against the Hammers and Santi Cazorla has two in two.

After going seven games without a victory in the Premier League away at a Sam Allardyce team (D3 L4), Arsene Wenger has enjoyed two victories in a row.

This is Arsenal`s 100th London derby away from home in the Premier League and the Gunners have won 44 out of 99; more victories on the road than any other team in capital clashes.

West Ham have won their last three Premier League games played on December 26, scoring nine goals in the process.

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Phil Dowd. He will be practising his posturing in front of the mirror as we speak.

Match Prediction:

I think Arsenal will get back on track with a narrow 1-0 win, with Theo Walcott nabbing the winner.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal will play away at Newcastle on Sunday at 1.30pm. West Ham are at home to West Brom on Saturday at 12.45pm.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 25 2013

Time: 6:43PM

Your Comments

Really do hope we get back to winning ways with this game. Big Sam's side would make life difficult for us, no doubt. The team has a few players who just love to show they can get stuck in, when Arsenal come knocking; fellows like Nolan, both of the Coles, Taylor, Collins and even Downing. Cazorla to play as No. 10 should be good and effective while Poldi needs to get some game time, as well.
Naijagunner
Agreed, Walcott looks most likely to score. I think he will score a brace however. 2-0 to the Arsenal.
supersof
 

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