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Preview: West Ham v Arsenal, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Another pivotal weekend is upon us at the top of the table as Arsenal look to keep their fading Premier League title hopes alive against West Ham.
We head to Upton Park tomorrow lunchtime knowing only victory will do if we’re to stand any realistic chance of catching run-away leaders Leicester City.
We did our bit last weekend with an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Watford at the Emirates but unfortunately the Foxes ground out yet another 1-0 win, this time over Southampton.
There’s not much we can do other than win our matches and see where it takes us. The good news is we cut Tottenham’s lead to just four points after they drew at Liverpool last week so if we win our game in hand [at home to West Brom] then the deficit will be down to one point.
Spurs host Manchester United on Sunday afternoon so we could even see that advantage wiped out if Louis van Gaal’s men can do us a favour.
However, we need to concentrate on doing our job first and beating West Ham isn’t going to be easy as the Hammers are a very useful side these days and in Dimitri Payet, they have a world class talent capable of winning any game.
Cech is set to return in goal after recovering from a calf injury. He was named on the bench last week but should start tomorrow after getting another full weeks training under his belt.
Ramsey is also expected back in the squad after overcoming a thigh injury but it remains to be seen whether he’ll regain his first team place as the team looks well balanced with Elneny alongside Coquelin.
Flamini is also available again while Wilshere and Rosicky have stepped up their comebacks with a run-out for the under-21s tonight. Obviously they won’t feature against West Ham tomorrow but it’s great to see them back on the pitch.
Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain are the only two remaining injury concerns as they continue to work on their fitness, but they aren’t expected back until the end of the month.
As for West Ham, they have a fully-fit squad to choose from after Collins and Byram returned to training while Kouyate is available after seeing his red against Crystal Palace overturned.
As I said above, we look like we’ve found a good balance right now so I don’t see any reason to change things from the eleven that’s beaten Everton and Watford…
We saw our nine game unbeaten run against West Ham ended on the opening day of the season when they left the Emirates with a 2-0 win but the Hammers have actually been better away from home this campaign. If we continue to play as we have done over the past two games, I think we’ll win this one, but it’s going to be a close call.
West Ham 1-2 Arsenal