‘There’s a lot at stake’ – Slaven Bilic expecting West Ham and Arsenal to produce derby thriller

7 Apr

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admits Saturday’s clash with Arsenal could make or break both teams’ season.

The Hammers need a victory to stay in the hunt for a place in the top four as they bid to secure Champions League football for the first time.

Facing them are an Arsenal side who require all three points to cling on to any realistic hopes of staying in the title race, while defeat would bring their own top-four credentials into question.

Bilic’s side remain in the FA Cup but his league ambitions, which have grown loftier as the season has progressed, could suffer a fatal blow with defeat by the Gunners.

“It’s a big game, a London derby first of all,” he said.

“The season is approaching an end and it’s very important for them and for us. We are both fighting, either for a place in Europe or, from their point of view, they are trying to be champions.

“They still have a chance on paper, but they admit they need to win all their games.

“There’s a lot at stake. We also need points to stay in the race for the top four, five or six.”

West Ham are unbeaten in their last 13 matches at Upton Park and are looking to complete the double over Arsenal, having won 2-0 win at the Emirates on the opening day of the season.

They received a major boost ahead of the clash after Cheikhou Kouyate’s red card, for his lunging challenge on Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle last weekend, was overturned ensuring the midfielder is available.

“It was a good, proper decision to overrule it,” added Bilic. “I said straight after the game it was obviously never a red card.

“It’s nice to be unbeaten at home. I didn’t know it was 13 games but that just shows we approach every game as a single game.

“We know we have a good home record, that is why we are high in the table.

“Our form and our position in the table makes us quite confident. That first game was ages ago but it’s nice to know that we played them this season and beat them 2-0.

“We are at home, we are confident, so it should be a great game.”


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