Arsenal pays a visit to Upton Park on Sat. Oct. 6 as they take on West Ham in a London derby. It’s a huge game for both teams since they sit in seventh and eighth place in the English Premier League table. However, what may be surprising to many fans is that West Ham with 11 points sit ahead of Arsenal with nine points while Chelsea leads the league with 16 points. A loss by Arsenal could see them 10 points behind the league leaders at the end of the weekend as well as five behind newly-promoted West Ham. This would be unacceptable for many Gunners supporters.
The game will be quite an interesting clash of styles since Arsenal prefers to play stylish football with a lot of short passes while West Ham like to play the game with a direct approach. West Ham has three wins, two draws and a loss and Arsenal has two wins, three draws and a loss so far with Arsenal also having a pair of wins in the European Champions League, the latest being a 3-1 win over Greek side Olympiakos on Wednesday.
For the Gunners, Ivory Coast international Gervinho has been leading the attack and has five goals in all competitions so far. New signing and German international Lukas Podolski has four, but French striker Olivier Giroud, who was also signed in the transfer window, is struggling with just one goal, which came in a League Cup game.
West Ham will be relying on England international Andy Carroll to spearhead their attack after making a comeback last weekend from injury. Carroll is a classic centre forward who likes to use his size and play a physical game. He’s good on the ground and great in the air and could cause a lot of trouble for Arsenal’s mediocre defence.
With Arsenal playing a possession game, it’s likely that West Ham isn’t going to see a lot of the ball on Saturday. This means they’re going to have to make sure they don’t give it away cheaply when they do have it. Arsenal’s defence certainly isn’t the strongest in the league and West Ham might try to exploit it by playing high balls and crosses into the box.
Some good news for manager Arsene Wenger is that German international defender Per Mertesacker could be back in the line-up after sitting out last week’s 2-1 home loss to Chelsea and the win over Olympiakos. It was reported that he missed the Champions League game due to a virus. Arsenal will be missing midfielder Abou Diaby though and midfielder Jack Wilshere is slowly making his way back into the line-up after missing all of last season and may see the subs bench.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce would be foolish not to start Carroll up front, but it’s a possibility that the big striker doesn’t make the starting 11.
Defender Winston Reid should be back after suffering a minor injury in West Ham’s 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers last Monday night. This game really hedges on Carroll. If he plays from the start then West Ham will have a lot better chance. However, if he sits on the bench and Arsenal scores first then Wet Ham will find it hard to come back.
Look for Arsenal to sneak away with a one-goal win here.
Sportsbook Bet365 has the latest odds of an Arsenal victory at evens a West Ham win at 3/1 and a draw at 11/5.