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Arsenal vs. West Ham: match preview

Back to the grind, and all that.

maybe Kim will play, who knows
maybe Kim will play, who knows
Mike Hewitt

Arsenal vs. West Ham United
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
2:45pm Indianapolis - 1:45pm Chicago - 11:45am Portland - 7:45pm London
The Emirates Stadium, London, England
Television: NBCSN

After a win that was more grueling than we'd all hoped in the FA Cup semifinal, today Arsenal get back to it with a visit from good ol' Sam Allardyce and the famous West Ham United.

The situation is this: Everton lead Arsenal by two points for 4th place with games played even between the two (Everton played this weekend and Arsenal obviously didn't). We're also only four points ahead of Tottenham, but Arsenal have a game in hand there so, with a win here, that would get a little safer. West Ham are in 11th place, but as has been the case much of the season, there's not a lot of separation between teams in the middle and bottom of the table. Arsenal are 27 points better than West Ham; they're only seven out of the relegation places. So obviously both teams have quite a lot to play for.

The injury situation is intriguing. West Ham are in pretty good shape, all things considered - only Kevin Nolan is a real doubt with a hamstring injury, and George McCartney, Marco Borriello, and Joey O'Brien are out. For Arsenalthere's an odd mix of players coming back from injury and players drifting between "injured" and "healthy." Tomas Rosicky, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Nicklas Bendtner, and Abou Diaby all trained with the first team yesterday, and Ozil and Koscielny in particular have been missed of late. It's unlikely that all will start (particularly Diaby, because come on), but some may feature on the bench. That's in part because after up to 120 minutes of soccer on Saturday, the team's a bit knackered. Nacho Monreal left the FA Cup semifinal with a dead leg, and is questionable. Lukas Podolski is a question with a slight muscle injury and overtired mouth. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both face late tests.

But if tests are passed, it's starting to look like the team is coming back together for the last month or so of the season. And thank Bergkamp, because they've been missed. We need three points here, so it's time to go get them.