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West Ham v Arsenal preview | Confirmed team news, Pepe to start please + prediction

By on December 9, 2019

freddie ljungberg arsenal

Arsenal desperately need to get out of our current crisis and back to winning ways with a win over West Ham at the London Stadium this evening.

Unfortunately, Freddie Ljungberg has failed to turn things around since taking over as interim boss following Unai Emery’s departure. We drew 2-2 away to Norwich in his first game in charge before crashing to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton last week.

Arsenal’s winless streak has now extended to nine games in all competitions, which is our worst run since the 70’s, and we’re now left sitting 11th in the Premier League table and 10 points adrift of the top four.

A win tonight would see us move level on points with eighth-placed Sheffield United and close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to seven points, so we’d still have a chance of snatching a top four place this season.

However, failure to beat a at struggling West Ham side – who are 16th and one point off the bottom three – would all but end Arsenal’s fading hopes of getting back into the top four so this is a huge game for us.

Team news

Arsenal will once again be without Dani Ceballos as the club have confirmed on Arsenal.com the Spaniard is still nursing a hamstring injury that’s kept him on the sidelines for over a month.

Rob Holding is back in training after recovering from a bruised knee but he’ll need a late fitness test. Otherwise, Arsenal have no other injury concerns to worry about.

As for West Ham, they’ll welcome former Gunner Jack Wilshere back into the squad while Michail Antonio is expected to pass a late fitness check on a groin injury.

However, Lukasz Fabianski won’t play against his former club as he’s still out with a hip injury while Manuel Lanzini is out with a fractured collarbone.

Preferred line-up

I hope Ljungberg freshens things up as his 4-3-3 isn’t working. Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are wasted on the wings so it’s time the boss made a bold decision to leave out Alexandre Lacazette and get back to playing a 4-2-3-1.

Kieran Tierney, Matteo Guendouzi and Gabriel Martinelli should all come into the side while I hope we see Nicolas Pepe recalled on the right wing as he made a big difference against Brighton when he came on.

Our defence is a shambles so I think it’s time we cut our losses with David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi and put some faith in Holding and Calum Chambers in the middle of the back four.

This is the team I hope we see:

football formations

Predicted score

Arsenal are on a woeful run of form and the players confidence is rock bottom. It’s hard to see where a win is going to come from but this is as good an opportunity as we’ll get for the next few weeks. Arsenal have a good record away to West Ham as we’ve won 7 of our last 10 visits and they’ve lost their last two home games.

Manuel Pellegrini is under intense pressure as the Hammers have been poor for much of the season so they are there for the taking. We’ve seen some positive signs in Ljungberg’s first two games and if he changes formation and plays our best players in their proper positions, we have a real chance of turning things around. I’m backing the boys to get back to winning ways tonight.

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal

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