The Premier League match between West Ham and Arsenal will take place this Thursday, December 26, 2013 (7:00 AM Pacific) at the Boleyn Ground in London. Both teams need a victory in order to achieve their different aims. Arsenal (36 points) is sharing the top of the table with Liverpool, and they want to finish the year in that position. Meanwhile, West Ham (13) is only one point above the relegation zone, so they have to obtain as many points as possible if they want to find tranquility.
West Ham are not in good shape, since they’ve won only one of their last ten league games -6 defeats and 3 draws-. Playing at home, they won only two out of eight matches -4 losses-. In their last matches they’ve tied against Sunderland playing at home, and lost against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Hammers’ captain Kevin Nolan will return from a two-match suspension after seeing the red card against Liverpool. Their probable lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Adrian; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Taylor, Nolan, Diame, Jarvis; Maiga.
On the other hand, Arsenal is the best team of the tournament playing on the road: they’ve won five out of eight matches, with one draw and two losses (both in Manchester, visiting United and City). In their last three games, they faced direct opponents in the fight for the championship, and they couldn’t defeat anyone, as they’ve tied at home against Everton and Chelsea, and lost away against Manchester City.
For this match, they won’t have their midfielder Jack Wilshere, who received a two-match ban by the FA after an offensive gesture towards Manchester City fans. Their probable lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Cazorla, Özil; Giroud.
Arsenal have been clearly superior in the latest matches against West Ham. The Gunners have won the last six matches, and they’re unbeaten in the last eleven games, having drawn only two times. West Ham’s last victory was in April 2007, when they defeated Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. In that season, West Ham also won the first leg match at Upton Park.
In the whole history, Arsenal remains the best in the head-to-head: they’ve won 44 out of 99 meetings playing away against West Ham (the biggest record in all London derbies).
West Ham vs Arsenal Prediction
Arsenal is the favorite team to win this match. Although they haven’t won any of their last three matches, they’ve played against three difficult rivals, which are very close to the first position. West Ham lost their four matches against the top-five teams of the league, and I think that Thursday’s match won’t be the exception. My prediction is a 1-3 victory for Arsenal.
West Ham vs Arsenal Television
The West Ham vs Arsenal Premier League match will be televised on DirecTV and NBC Sports Live Extra (online streaming service).
West Ham 1-3 Arsenal Highlights