Arsenal make the short trip across town to take on West Ham at the London Stadium today. It’s a critical match for the Gunners. They all are. Arsenal have zero room for error in the Premier League title race. It’s an important contest for the Hammers, too. West Ham have clawed their way above the relegation zone but are only three points above the line, with a game in hand over most of the teams at the bottom, mind you.
Unlike last season where disappointing results had a tendency to become dropped-points skids, Arsenal have done well to bounce back after things haven’t gone their way. Even though a point at Anfield is a solid result, the manner in which it happened — up 2-0 to a 2-2 draw — left the Gunners feeling like they could have and should have left Merseyside with more. As Mikel Arteta constantly harps on, his side will need to put last weekend’s result behind them and focus on today’s match (and only today’s match).
Annoyingly, David Moyes rested several of his first-choice players against Gent on Thursday in their Conference League quarterfinal first leg. Said Benrahma, Michail Antonio, and Tomas Soucek all started on the bench in their 1-1 draw in Belgium. If you’re going to risk your continental tie, it seems a bit strange to do it ahead of a weekend matchup with the Premier League leaders instead of ahead of a critical relegation zone battle against Bournemouth. Moyes’ lineup choices could be a sign that he has thrown in the towel on what is a decent shot at silverware for his club.
Not that I’m looking for or manufacturing reasons for concern, but West Ham should be better than they’ve been this season. They’ve got the talent. Teams like that worry me. What if this is the random game where it clicks, even if only for an afternoon?
Alex Zinchenko is a surprise absence for the Gunners. The left back picked up a slight groin issue against Liverpool, and Mikel Arteta decided not to risk his fitness. The problem is not thought to be severe. He could return as soon as Friday against Southampton. William Saliba is still working through his back problem and will not be available. Arteta said the centerback is progressing and hinted at a return sometime in the next few matches. Eddie Nketiah is back available following his lengthy spell out with an ankle injury. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are out for the season.
Gianluca Scamacca is the Hammers only absence. The Italian striker’s disappointing first season in London will be cut short by knee surgery. Lucas Paqueta, who missed West Ham’s win over Fulham with a knock, is back available.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Ødegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus
Here’s how we line up to face West Ham…— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 16, 2023
Tierney starts at the back
Gabriel Jesus leads the line
Nketiah returns to the squad pic.twitter.com/05b9FRa9h6
West Ham - Fabianski, Coufal, Kehrer, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Paqueta, Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma
WHAT: Arsenal at West Ham
WHERE: London Stadium
WHEN: Sunday, April 16th, 6:00 am PT | 9:00 am ET | 2:00 pm BT
HOW TO WATCH: Broadcast live on the USA Network. Streaming online at NBCSports.com
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