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Preview: Arsenal v West Ham, Team News, Starting XI & Prediction
Arsenal get back to Premier League action when we take on West Ham at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
We’ve responded extremely well to our Champions League disappointment against Monaco with victories over Everton and QPR in the league while we also booked our place in the semi finals of the FA Cup with a superb 2-1 win at Man Utd on Monday.
The victory at Old Trafford should instill confidence in the squad after years of painful defeats away to the 20-time champions, and now we’ve got another great opportunity to retain the FA Cup.
However, it’s league matters that are the focus tomorrow and we’ve got the chance to cement our place in the top four and open up a four point gap over fourth-placed United ahead of their game against Spurs on Sunday.
With two of our main rivals playing each other it’s vital we take full advantage and register three points against the Hammers on Saturday. Anything less than a win will be considered a failure. Simple a that.
West Ham can be a tricky side to face but we’ve got a surprisingly good record against them recently, winning all eight of our previous league meetings, so we’ll be favourites to continue that run at home tomorrow.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for up to a month with a hamstring injury while there is still no comeback date set for Jack Wilshere.
Mathieu Flamini does return to the squad but I think we’ll see Francis Coquelin continue in the holding role.
Mikel Arteta returned to full training today while Gabriel Paulista is due to resume training on Sunday, but neither will be in contention tomorrow.
As for the Hammers, they’ll be without James Tomkins after he dislocated his shoulder in training so he joins Winston Reid on the sidelines as the centre-back has a hamstring problem.
Carl Jenkinson can’t face us due to the terms of his loan while Enner Valencia is out along with Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll.
Wojciech Szczesny didn’t do enough to justify him keeping the gloves so David Ospina should return in goal. Nacho Monreal was excellent against United and if he’s due to start against Monaco in midweek then I’d rest him and start Gibbs tomorrow.
With The Ox out I think it’s time Theo Walcott got a start on the right wing while I’d keep Santi Cazorla alongside Coquelin in midfield, which would mean Aaron Ramsey continuing on the bench.
We showed our grit and determination against United on Monday but I have a feeling we’ll ease past an injury-hit West Ham side on Saturday. As long as the players concentrate on this fixture and don’t have one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League clash, then we should secure a relatively comfortable win. Arsenal 3-0 West Ham