Clearly, Mikel Arteta and I had different opinions on how much rotation was needed during December and with the side having lost three of their previous four. Arteta backed his key players (mostly, more on that later) and they delivered. A quick set of goals midway through the opening half gave Arsenal a comfortable lead, only to see the positive vibes continue when Gabriel got his second goal of the season. Now with much-needed momentum, the Gunners take on an impressive West Ham who are so far thriving across the Premier League and Europa League.
Last season Arsenal won 2-1 at home against West Ham and had a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Olympic Stadium that saw two own goals and a late strike by Alexandre Lacazette to steal a point. The Gunners have a great record against the Hammers in recent years - 8 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss over the last 12 matches. They are even better at home, with Arsenal only having lost to West Ham once at the Emirates since 2007 (from 14 games).
Make sure to check out this match’s Q&A with the West Ham Way.
- Bernd Leno
- Nuno Tavares
- Rob Holding
- Calum Chambers
- Mohamed Elneny
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Eddie Nketiah
- Left Out: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pablo Mari, Cedric, Folarin Balogun & Arthur Okonkwo.
- Out: Sead Kolasinac (left ankle).
- Aubameyang was left out of the matchday squad due to a disciplinary breach. Mikel Arteta did not want to further elaborate on his absence, the captain’s armband, or Aubameyang’s availability for West Ham. Until we know more, it’s pointless to speculate, but the captain himself had recently admitted that he was struggling with form, so perhaps this break can turn into a positive. Regardless, let’s assume he is out for Wednesday’s match until we hear otherwise from the club. Lacazette delivered against Southampton and will be asked to once again.
- The other key player that didn’t see action on Saturday was Emile Smith Rowe. His injury against Manchester United has kept him out of the last two matches, but he was on the bench this weekend. Luckily he wasn’t needed as the offense clicked against Southampton and he should be fully fit for the much more important London derby. Getting him back into the starting XI is crucial for these big games - four goals in his last six league appearances.
- Speaking of hot form, this is the Martin Odegaard everyone was excited about when he first arrived last season. Three goals in three matches, he is at the moment undroppable and making an extremely talented, young, and likable attacking like for Arsenal - Emile Smith Rowe (21), Martin Odegaard (22), and Bukayo Saka (20). Are there any really talented forwards in the 20-22-year-old range that might pair well with this trio?
- Beyond those three, this match against West Ham should not be taken lightly. David Moyes has done a tremendous job at the club this time around. They have topped their Europa League group while also managing to hold on to fourth place in the Premier League. Luckily Arsenal are fully fit and as such, there is no need to change the backline or midfield from Saturday’s win. I’m not worried about Lacazette, Ramsdale, or the backline. How Xhaka-Partey fair on Wednesday evening will likely be how Arsenal’s night goes.
- The lack of European football, while disappointing this season, has allowed Arsenal to maintain most of its starting lineup. After this match, Mikel Arteta will have several opportunities to rotate in players around the pitch with Leeds United, Sunderland (League Cup) & Norwich coming up.
How to watch
Wednesday (12/15) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on NBCSN.
Arsenal - 2
West Ham - 1
Now it’s your turn. Who is in your starting XI and give us your scoreline prediction down in the comment section?