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Arsenal vs West Ham preview | Confirmed team news, Martinelli should start + prediction

By on March 7, 2020

gabriel martinelli 2019

Arsenal get back to Premier League action when we take on West Ham at the Emirates this afternoon.

After being dumped out of the Europa League in dramatic fashion by Olympiacos, Arsenal bounced back with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Portsmouth in the fifth round of the FA Cup last Monday night.

We have a tricky trip to Sheffield United to look forward to in the quarter finals, however, all our focus should be on Premier League matters today as we look to get ourselves back in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Despite languishing way down in 10th place in the table, back to back league victories over Newcastle and Everton have kept Arsenal within sight of the top four as we can cut the gap on Chelsea to just five points with a win this afternoon.

Mikel Arteta should be confident of getting the job done against a West Ham side who are only out of the bottom three on goal difference but the Arsenal players shouldn’t take the test too lightly as the Hammers are a dangerous side on their day.

Team news

We were dealt a big blow last week after it was confirmed that Lucas Torreira is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a fractured foot during the FA Cup fifth round win over Portsmouth on Monday night.

Torreira joins Calum Chambers on Arsenal’s long-term casualty list as the centre-back won’t play again this season while Sead Kolasinac remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

However, Kieran Tierney could be back in contention today after returning to full training last week while Cedric Soares is also back in full training following a knee injury – although he won’t be considered for selection this afternoon.

Arsenal will recall a number of players with the likes of Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang and Alexandre Lacazette coming back into the side after being rested against Portsmouth.

As for West Ham, they’ll have Tomas Soucek available for selection after he made a swift recovery from a hip injury while Andriy Yarmolenko is back in training. However, Jack Wilshere won’t feature against his former side as he’s still injured along with Ryan Fredericks.

Preferred line-up

I’d like to see Bukayo Saka keep his place at left-back as the teenager has excelled in recent weeks and Tierney will still be lacking match fitness. Pablo Mari could keep his place after impressing on his debut but I’m not convinced he’s ready for the Premier League just yet so I’d go with Sokratis alongside David Luiz.

I’ve said for a long time that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shouldn’t be played from the wing so I’d leave Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah on the bench today with Auba up front and Gabriel Martinelli on the left wing. Reiss Nelson was excellent against Portsmouth but I’d still opt for Nicolas Pepe on the right.

Here is the Arsenal line-up I’d go for this afternoon:

football formations

Expected West Ham XI: Fabianski, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Ngakia, Rice, Noble, Antonio, Fornals, Bowen, Haller.

Prediction

We have a terrific record against West Ham as we’ve only lost 2 of our last 23 league meetings and I’m confident we can maintain that run this afternoon. With the exception of a few blips [Olympiacos!], we’ve been steadily improving under Arteta and West Ham don’t tend to travel well, especially against the bigger clubs.

Arsenal need to make the Emirates a fortress again and this is the type of game we simply have to win if we’re to stand a chance of making a late push for a Champions League qualification place. I don’t see the boys letting us down today as they’ll be desperate to make-up for our Europa League exit so I’m going for a 3-1 Arsenal win.

Arsenal 3-1 West Ham

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