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Arsenal vs West Ham match thread: London Calling

The Gunners host cross-town rivals West Ham with top four repercussions on the line.

Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal welcome London rivals West Ham to the Emirates today for what has become a surprisingly important tilt in the chase for a top four spot. David Moyes’ transformation of the Hammers from perpetual mid-table occupants to a team regularly in contention for European football has been nothing short of impressive, if not a little alien. Meanwhile, Arteta’s side is slowly showing improvement and promise as the youth revolution is underway and both teams seem headed in the right direction, slowly but surely.

Both teams enter this match in mixed form. Arsenal’s confident throttling of Southampton was preceded by three away losses in four matches before it. Similarly, West Ham have lost a little bit of their steam, as the same side the managed to beat Liverpool and Chelsea this season have struggled for results against Burnley and Brighton. Neither Arsenal nor West Ham are title contenders by any stretch, but a Champions League spot would do wonders for either club.

It’s not often that this London Derby is the one with top for implications, but nothing quite makes sense anymore in a post—COVID world. With West Ham in 4th and one point separating the two sides, neither can afford to slip up, especially with Manchester United and Tottenham both finding winning form under new managers. A draw will give rivals an opening, and neither team will want that, so expect a hard-fought match.

This is the type of situation that Arsenal have struggled with in recent years. When faced with a chance to gain ground and make a run at a top four spot, the bottom inevitably finds a way to fall out. Critical losses at United and Everton have already tested the Gunners’ resolve, and the Aubameyang captaincy fiasco has been eating up headlines and headspace. A win today, though, puts some of those concerns to bed for now, especially with some manageable fixtures on deck.

This game is no small showdown. Arsenal have been flirting with being a top four contender, but this match is a prime chance to gazump the Hammers and keep apace with the rest of the pack. COYG.

LINEUPS:

WHAT: Arsenal vs West Ham
WHERE: The Emirates Stadium, London
WHEN: Wednesday, December 15th, 3:00pm EST/12:00apm PST/8:00pm GMT
HOW TO WATCH: Live on NBC Sports and streaming on NBCSports.com

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