West Ham - Arsenal Preview: Gunners seek 350th win under Wenger against card-happy Hammers
Sam Allardyce's side have readjusted to life in the Premier League well, but face the north London outfit in their first clash against one of the division's leading sides this term
By Matt Scott
Demel, Tomkins, Collins, Taylor
Vaz Te, Nolan, Jarvis
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski
Sam Allardyce has few injury concerns ahead of Arsenal's visit to Upton Park. Winston Reid was substituted in the first half of the Hammers' win over QPR after taking a heavy blow to the head from team-mate Jussi Jaaskelainen, and James Tomkins will come in if the New Zealander is unfit to play.
Andy Carroll made a 20-minute cameo in that game and after returning to full training, and could be rewarded with a second start for the Hammers.
Joey O'Brien was also forced off at Loftus Road, with Matt Taylor waiting in the wings to return in the left-back spot. The east Londoners' only other injury concern is Jack Collison (knee), who is yet to feature so far this term.
Vito Mannone is likely to keep his place in goal for the visitors with Wojciech Szczesny (ankle) and Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder) still sidelined. Per Mertesacker has missed the last two games through illness and will face a late test ahead of this tie, but should be in line for a recall with Carroll likely to play.
Francis Coquelin appeared in the Gunners' midfield in midweek against Olympiakos and may also retain his place, with Abou Diaby (thigh) set to be missing until after the international break.
Bacary Sagna (leg), Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) are all nearing first-team comebacks but are highly unlikely to feature at Upton Park.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- West Ham have won both of their games against London opposition so far this term, defeating Fulham 3-0 and QPR 2-1.
- The Hammers have picked up more bookings (15) than any other side in the Premier League so far this season.
- Carlton Cole (pictured right) is two appearances away from the 300th of his career.
- West Ham have not beaten their north London opponents since April 2007, losing seven of their nine meetings since.
- Arsenal lost five of their 10 domestic games after Champions League ties last season, also going down to defeat in each of their away games following continental competition.
- Arsene Wenger is into his 17th year as the Gunners' manager after celebrating the 16th anniversary of his appointment last Sunday.
- If Arsenal are victorious, it would represent the 350th win of Wenger's reign.
- The Gunners have the joint-best (with Chelsea) defensive record on their travels in the Premier League, having conceded just once on the road so far this term.
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Top 3 Predictions
West Ham 0-3 Arsenal FC
- 20.7 %
West Ham 1-3 Arsenal FC
- 15.22 %
West Ham 0-2 Arsenal FC
- 12.99 %
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Jan 2013||Arsenal FC 5 - West Ham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 Oct 2012||West Ham 1 - Arsenal FC 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||15 Jan 2011||West Ham 0 - Arsenal FC 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Oct 2010||Arsenal FC 1 - West Ham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Mar 2010||Arsenal FC 2 - West Ham 0|
|3 Dec 2013||Crystal Palace 1 - West Ham 0||EPL|
|30 Nov 2013||West Ham 3 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|9 Nov 2013||Norwich City 3 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|2 Nov 2013||West Ham 0 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
The towering striker has endured a disjointed start to his Hammers career but is back to fitness and if fit, will surely start against the Gunners, a team he has given several problems in the past. If the giant Germany international Per Mertesacker is again missing for Arsenal, Carroll will thrive - Arsene Wenger's side have typically struggled against sides, with a physical advantage over them.
The metronomic Spaniard has taken on a new role for the Gunners this term, sitting deep in midfield, and directing traffic as well as providing a much-needed defensive barrier in front of the occasionally shaky Arsenal defence. With Kevin Nolan set to spearhead the Hammers' midfield, Arteta will not only be required to create attacks, but also quell the Liverpudlian.
Arsenal could struggle on the road against an aerial barrage from the hosts, particularly if Carroll is fit enough to start. That being said, their attack should have more than enough quality to bag them three points, with Gervinho in particular in a good run of form.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed