West Ham United v Arsenal

8 Apr

West Ham players celebrate scoring against Arsenal at the Emirates


West Ham have the best London derby record in this season’s Premier League

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

TEAM NEWS

West Ham have a full-strength squad for the visit of Arsenal.

Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is available after his red card against Crystal Palace last week was rescinded.

Arsenal midfielders Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) could feature after recovering from thigh and hamstring injuries respectively.

Keeper Petr Cech is expected to start after returning to the bench against Watford following a calf problem.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Jonathan Pearce: “This should be a belter.

“It’s a decade since West Ham last beat Arsenal at home. But this is the season they’ve ended hoodoo runs at Liverpool and against Tottenham and for the first time in a generation look like capable of finishing in the top four. If they win this they can do it.

“Kouyate’s rescinded red card is crucial. Big players are also now fit again.

“But Arsenal are finishing with a flourish as usual. Alexis Sanchez is flying again. Alex Iwobi is attracting the sort of headlines the Hammers’ Reece Oxford grabbed after their opening day win at Arsenal.

“And then there’s Dimitri Payet. Anything could happen.”

Twitter: @jpearcefootball

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: “It’s a big game, a London derby first of all.

“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… There’s a lot at stake.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “As long as mathematically it’s possible, there’s a strong possibility [of catching Leicester].

“We know we need nearly the perfect run – I could have cut the ‘nearly’ out.

“We do not only look in front of us, we look behind us as well, because we are chased by a group of teams who can make it very difficult for us.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Arsenal are a strange team, and I can see them winning nearly all their remaining games this season.

The pressure is off the Gunners now, with their title hopes all but over, which is why I think they will go to Upton Park, relax, play some open football – and win.

Prediction: 1-2

Lawro’s full predictions v Grand National jockey Leighton Aspell

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won nine of the last 10 Premier League meetings with West Ham.
  • The Hammers’ 2-0 win at the Emirates in the opening game of the season is their only victory in their last 15 league meetings with Arsenal (D2, L12).
  • It is 10 years since West Ham last enjoyed a home win over Arsenal – Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew had a touchline bust-up after Marlon Harewood’s dramatic late winner in November 2006.

West Ham

  • West Ham are unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions.
  • After losing their opening two home league games this season, the Hammers have not lost any since (W7, D6).
  • West Ham have won half of their 14 league games against teams in the top half this season, the best record in the top flight.
  • Dimitri Payet has been directly involved in 23 goals in all competitions this season, 13 more than any other West Ham player.
  • This is West Ham’s third consecutive London derby – both the previous two (against Chelsea and Crystal Palace) have ended in 2-2 draws. The Hammers have the best record in Premier League London derbies this season, picking up 14 points from seven games.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal have won just two of their last seven away matches (D3, L2).
  • The Gunners have scored 29 away goals in this season’s Premier League – only leaders Leicester can match that.
  • Arsenal are looking to keep three consecutive clean sheets for just the second time in this season’s top flight.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored five times in six Premier League games against West Ham; but just one of these goals has come at Upton Park.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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