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Arsenal vs. West Ham: the Rice Bowl

The Gunners’ penultimate match of 2023.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal host in-form West Ham at the Emirates today, with Mikel Arteta’s side looking to reclaim their place atop the Premier League table. The visitors have won three of their last four in the league, including consecutive clean sheets against Manchester United and Wolves the last two times out. But David Moyes has never beaten Arsenal away as a manager (4D, 18L) and West Ham have not fared much better in their last 30 matches away to Arsenal (2W, 6D, 22L).

The Hammers knocked the Gunners out of the Carabao Cup at the start of November, but the 3-1 scoreline doesn’t tell the full story. West Ham scored 3 goals from a paltry 0.42 xG generated from just 28% possession. David Moyes deployed close to his best lineup. Mikel Arteta rotated. Expect today’s match to play out in the same way. Arsenal will dominate possession, West Ham will look to strike on the counter.

Jarrod Bowen and Mohamed Kudus lead the way for the Hammers with 11 and 6 goals respectively, including 7 away from home for Bowen. Kudus has hit a purple patch, with 6 goal contributions in his last 8 matches in all competitions. The pair of wingers look to unsettle defenses with their movement and pace, often set free by Lucas Paqueta, Vladimir Coufal, and James Ward-Prowse. As always when facing JWP, Arsenal will need to be careful not to give away needless free kicks. The West Ham midfielder is one of the best in the world from dead-ball situations.

The Gunners have made the Emirates a fortress — unbeaten in 13 straight matches in all competitions, including winning their last 7 straight by a combined scored of 21-2. Arsenal have also dominated London Derbies lately. Mikel Arteta’s side is unbeaten in 17 consecutive Premier League matches against London clubs, although Arsenal’s 2W, 3D record this season is not nearly as impressive as last year’s 10W, 2D.

Arsenal will be without Kai Havertz, who picked up his 5th yellow of the season against Liverpool and will be suspended. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fabio Vieira, Thomas Partey, and Jurrien Timber are all out with injury.

Michael Antonio misses out for West Ham. Defender Nayef Aguerd missed out against Manchester United through illness. It’s unclear whether he has recovered to face Arsenal.

Halfway through the season, and the title race is no clearer than when the season kicked off. The Gunners are keeping the pace, but the margin for error is small and the path unwieldy. A London Derby win against a solid West Ham will see the Gunners in first and round out a very successful 2023 at home. With any luck, the fireworks will start a few days early in London for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Arsenal - Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Ødegaard, Trossard, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

West Ham - Areola, Coufal, Ogbonna, Mavropanos, Emerson, Alvarez, Soucek, Paqueta, Kudus, Ward-Prowse, Bowen

WHAT: Arsenal vs West Ham United
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Thursday, December 28th, 12:15 pm PT | 3:15 pm ET | 8:15 pm BT
HOW TO WATCH: Streaming on Peacock

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