West Ham make the short journey to North London tonight, to face Arsenal, looking to improve on an away record that is, to be perfectly frank, giving us cause for concern. The fixture is, of course, the one that should have taken place on Boxing Day but was postponed because of the transport strike. Can West Ham get anything from this game? That remains to be seen.
Arsenal one of the giants of the game; are going through a barren spell trophy wise. A side that used to regularly pick up silverware hasn`t done so since the FA Cup win in 2005. This season there are fears that they may not qualify for the Champions League next season and a recent defeat, against Chelsea, has Arsene Wenger a little worried with the Frenchman remarking,
“The position we are in now is a bit backs to the wall because we have to respond.”
“I`m confident we will, but the team was very down after the Chelsea game.”
Can we heap more misery on Arsene and his Gooners?
Arsenal Team News:
On the positive side, Arsene Wenger is able to welcome back Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian, both of whom missed the defeat against Chelsea through illness.
On the negative side, Arsene Wenger will have to do without Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin, both of whom pickled up injuries at Stamford Bridge, the former a thigh problem and the latter a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Jack Wilshire
The talented midfielder is slowly getting back to his best after a long absence through injury. If we give him the time and space, he could be our undoing!
West Ham Team News:
Big Sam takes his squad to the Emirates Stadium with no fresh injury concerns.
James Collins is again expected to miss out and we expect Carlton Cole to start up front with our recent loan signing, Marouane Chamakh, illegible to play against his parent club.
Player to watch: Mome Diame
You just get that feeling that Diame is bound for Arsenal and tonight is the ideal opportunity for the player to impress. If Diame is to leave then let`s hope he can help engineer a famous away win tonight.
Match Facts & Stats
Fortune doesn`t favour the brave as far as fixtures against Arsenal are concerned for West Ham. In our last 10 fixtures against the Gunners we`ve failed to win any, in the process losing 8 and drawing 2
Our away form, as mentioned previously in this preview, is poor. The statistics show that form 30 points available we`ve managed to claim just 8. Perhaps the fact that we`ve also failed to keep a clean sheet in our last 11 league games might have something to do with it.
But, if we can pull off a win tonight then we`ll inflict a third consecutive Premier League defeat on Arsenal that would be the first time they`ve suffered that fate in a year.
Our officials are;-
Referee – A. Marriner
Assistant – M. Mullarky
Assistant – A. Garratt
Fourth Official – A. Taylor
Some would say I`m mad to predict a win for West Ham when you consider our away form, but someday that has to change so why not tonight. A battling performance and a 1-0 win this optimist is going for!
We take a break this weekend as it`s the FA Cup 4th round and we fell at the first hurdle to Manchester United, albeit after a replay. Therefore our next game is a fixture against Fulham, next Wednesday 30th January.