Sam Allardyce’s decision to rest Alex Song and Diafra Sakho from the starting line-up against Chelsea two decision could prove to be a vital one.
It’s not easy to remain at your very best for two games in three days, particularly when those games are against Champions-elect Chelsea and a team we’ve lost our last eight meetings with in Arsenal.
So a little bit of rotation was inevitable and the decision to do it against Chelsea was a wise one. Chelsea are almost unstoppable and boast a 100% home record, so the chances of getting anything from Stamford Bridge were always going to be slim.
But Arsenal are no where near their best, look vulnerable in defence and are over-reliant on Alexis Sanchez – so a full-strength West Ham side at home should have what it takes to snatch all three points against a top four rival (I can’t believe I just typed that!).
It’s our home form that stands us in good stead, too. We haven’t lost at the Boleyn Ground since the end of August and have only failed scored at home twice all season.
That suggest there’ll be goals this afternoon and, if Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll can link up in a way they did against Swansea, we could find ourselves finishing a roller coaster year in the top four.
West Ham United (5th, 31 points)
Alex Song and Diafra Sakho are expected to return to the starting line-up after being rested in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
James Tomkins remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Carl Jenkinson is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Arsenal (6th, 30 points)
Olivier Giroud begins a three-match suspension after seeing red against QPR on Boxing Day.
Laurent Koscielny faces a late fitness test as he edges closer to returning from a hamstring problem.
Potential Starting XI
Last 10 Meetings
|15 Apr 2014||Premier League||Emirates Stadium||L 3-1|
|26 Dec 2013||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||L 3-1|
|23 Jan 2013||Premier League||Emirates Stadium||L 5-1|
|6 Oct 2012||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||L 3-1|
|15 Jan 2011||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||L 3-0|
|30 Oct 2010||Premier League||Emirates Stadium||L 1-0|
|20 Mar 2010||Premier League||Emirates Stadium||L 2-0|
|3 Jan 2010||FA Cup 3rd Round||Boleyn Ground||L 2-1|
|25 Oct 2009||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||D 2-2|
|31 Jan 2009||Premier League||Emirates Stadium||D 0-0|
Match in Numbers
6 – West Ham have won six of their last seven Premier League home games
8 – Arsenal have won their last eight league and cup meetings with the Hammers
3 – And the Gunners have scored at least three goals in each of their last five games against West Ham.
3 – West Ham have conceded just three goals in their last seven league home games
1 – But Arsenal have failed to score in just one of their last 11 away league games
16 – Alexis Sanchez has scored or assisted 16 of Arsenal’s 32 league goals this season
@WestHamWorld 2-0 up.
— Xavier Player (@xtgplayer88) December 28, 2014
@WestHamWorld 2-1 west ham
— Allan Smith (@Allan22_WHU) December 28, 2014
@WestHamWorld 2-1to the irons
— David J (@davejhammer) December 28, 2014
— Protographic (@Richard_Kreider) December 28, 2014
Head-to-Head (all competitions)
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||For||Against||GD +/-||Win %|