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West Ham vs. Arsenal: match preview

Kickoff: 12:30 PM EST, The Boleyn Ground, East London
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Channel

Arsenal travel two grounds east for their second Premier League match against West Ham United tomorrow.  It marks the fourth game in eleven days for Arsène Wenger's men, who looked flat against both Leeds and Ipswich in their last two games, and who will be looking for a response tomorrow.

West Ham, on the other hand, have won both of their cup games over the past week, and aside from getting shellacked by Newcastle, they have been playing well in 2011.  They are also traditionally a team that gives Arsenal some trouble, both home and away, and Arsenal had to sweat every minute to beat them courtesy of a late late Alex Song strike at the Emirates earlier this season.

West Ham are also mostly at full strength right now, the only notable absences for tomorrow being Thomas Hitzlsperger and Manuel da Costa.  Wayne Bridge has also joined them from Manchester City and will be available.  Arsenal will be without the services of Lukasz Fabianski, who failed a fitness test on his shoulder today, so Wojciech Szczesny will be back between the posts.  Bacary Sagna is serving the final match of the ban for his red card against Manchester City, Thomas Vermaelen is still not available, and neither is Sebastien Squillaci or Abou Diaby.

Arsenal have not won since January 1 against Birmingham; perhaps the shift in focus that comes with a league match will be a breath of fresh air.  Wenger has all of his attackers available to him save for Diaby, so one expects that he will go with the front six that cause problems for Chelsea and Birmingham City.

Possible lineup:


Eboue         Djourou       Koscielny       Clichy

Song         Wilshere


Walcott        van Persie      Nasri

with Arshavin, Rosicky, Denilson, and Gibbs all possibilities off the bench.