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Arsenal v West Ham: Match Preview

Arsenal take on West Ham in a game that they really, really, really have to win.

Shaun Botterill

Arsenal v West Ham
Wednesday, January 22, 2013
Emirates Stadium, Islington, The Best Borough in London
Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET/19:45 GMT/11:45 AM PT
Televisual coverage: Fox Soccer Channel

I'm not saying we need three points. But we need three points. Arsenal's game in hand comes up tomorrow, as the Gunners play West Ham in a match postponed from Boxing Day because of a Tube strike. On Boxing Day, things were looking rosy. Arsenal had won three straight games, and there was promise of new signings early in January. Nearly a month later, Arsenal have 1 point from 3 matches in January, and haven't signed anyone. The loss against Chelsea, combined with Clint Dempsey equalising in the last minute against Manchester United (YOU %*£(@$& %&* FERGUSON YOU £&$) set the Gunners 7 points back of Spurs, in 4th place, and 11 points back of Chelsea in 3rd place with that game in hand. So yeah, this game against West Ham is really important.

To make matters worse, Mikel Arteta isn't back from injury, and Francis Coquelin hurt his hamstring against Chelsea. Abou Diaby is apparently in the redzone, to which I respond in a positively shocked manner. I had no idea playing someone 3 times in a week after not playing for 3 months because of injury could be detrimental to their physical well-being. None at all! In better news, Tomas Rosicky is back in training, but might not start.

West Ham, meanwhile, will be denied the services of on-loan striker Marouane Chamakh, as he's ineligible to face the club that have been paying him for something over the past year. Andy Carroll is injured, so Carlton Cole will start upfront. Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis should start on the wings, and the dangerous knack for scoring Kevin Nolan will start behind Carlton Cole. It's also a good chance for Arsenal fans to see how Mohamed Diame plays, as he's been linked with the club.

Basically, if Arsenal play well, they should beat West Ham. They played very well in October to beat them at Upton Park, doing things that make Arsenal good: passing the ball quickly, moving well, creating chances and pressing the ball. If they do those things tomorrow night over the whole of the 90 minutes they should win. Basically, that's what they have to do. Will they do it? Well, that remains to be seen.

Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud
Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Koscielny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Frimpong