Arsenal and West Ham are set to meet in yet another London derby on Wednesday in a match that the hosts would want to win to stay in contention for a Champions league spot. Three winless matches on the trot have taken a heavy toll; the loss to Chelsea on the weekend has pushed Arsene Wenger’s side down to the sixth spot, seven points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place.
After Chelsea had capitalised on defensive lapses to race to a 2-0 lead on 16 minutes, the game was all but over. Barring a brief phase in the second half after Walcott had reduced the margin, Arsenal’s attack proved inadequate to the task of salvaging a point. The dual absence of Gervinho (doing national duty in the Africa Cup) and Podolski (ill) has done nothing to boost morale ahead of Wednesday’s game.
West Ham’s good showing early in the season has ensured that they are relatively safe from relegation; however the absence of wins (limited to two from the last 10) coupled with the failure to beat the likes of Reading, Sunderland and QPR must serve to furrow Big Sam’s brow. Barring a face-saving late equaliser by Joe Cole against QPR, on the weekend, the general outlook at Upton Park would have been still bleaker.
However, games against Fulham, Swansea and Aston Villa to follow, the Hammers would be hoping for a reversal of form, ahead of the game at the Emirates. West Ham’s defence is likely to be weakened by the continued absence of Welshman James Collins, laid low by a hamstring concern he picked up against Sunderland.
Walcott could prove the difference between the sides as unpredictable Arsenal might yet take away full three points from the game on the back of their striker’s pace.
Arsenal’s probable starting eleven: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin, Wishere, Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski.
West Ham’s probable eleven: Jasskelainen, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, O’Brien, Noble, Nolan, Jarvis, Carlton Cole, Joe Cole.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.