Arsenal vs West Ham
Monday 26th December 2022
As part of our Boxing Day Premier League predictions, we take a look at Arsenal vs West Ham. Can Arsenal continue their impressive vein of form to establish themselves as genuine title contenders? Read on with our Arsenal vs West Ham prediction.
Where Can I Watch Arsenal vs West Ham?
Amazon Prime Video (UK, NI, CI, IoM); USA – TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Arsenal vs West Ham Match Overview
Following a lengthy six-week interlude to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Arsenal host West Ham in a London derby that’s considered to be crucial for both sides, but for hugely different reasons. Arsenal have made an incredible start to their Premier League campaign, winning 12 of their opening 14 matches and dropping a total of five points. Their home form has been immaculate, with six wins from six outings averaging slightly over three goals per game with slightly over one against. Recent victories over top-four rivals Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea have firmly established Arsenal’s title-challenge credentials, although they may feel that the World Cup has disrupted their considerable momentum.
West Ham, on the other hand, find themselves just one point outside the relegation zone, managing just four wins from their opening 15 Premier League matches and, worryingly, averaging less than a goal per game. They can take little comfort from their away form this season, which has seen them produce largely toothless displays with three goals in seven matches. Despite this, all of their away defeats have been by a single goal, and they have limited their opponents to one goal per game. It’s also possible that the hectic club football schedule imposed by the presence of a winter World Cup has taken its toll with West Ham involved in Europa Conference League football.
Arsenal vs West Ham Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Aguerd, Antonio, Cornet, Cresswell, Scamacca (West Ham); Smith Rowe, Tomiyasu (Arsenal)
Will not play: Zouma (West Ham); Jesus, Nelson, Zinchenko (Arsenal)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, Gabriel, Ben White; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Gabriel Martinelli; Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka; Eddie Nketiah
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Lukasz Fabianski; Aaron Cresswell, Craig Dawson, Thilo Kehrer, Vladimir Coufal; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Said Benrahma, Lucas Paqueta, Jarrod Bowen; Michail Antonio
Arsenal vs West Ham Prediction Analysis
Stopping Arsenal Playing Between the Lines
It’s reasonable to assume that the key to this game lies in stopping Arsenal’s attacking quartet from finding the gaps between West Ham’s back four and the central midfield pairing of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. Ordinarily, Arsenal would benefit from Gabriel Jesus operating as a false nine to add to their strength in this area, but with Eddie Nketiah likely to deputise as a more conventional striker we’re likely to see Martin Odegaard playing in a more advanced role. This means that Declan Rice is likely to play a more defensive role in this match and is likely to operate as more of a defensive midfielder to shut down Arsenal’s primary creative threat. While we would expect West Ham to adopt a more defensive, counterattacking outlook against such strong opposition anyway, this could prove to be fruitful, as Nketiah is less suited than Gabriel Jesus is at helping Arsenal to dominate this area of the pitch and if West Ham are compact enough, they could severely limit his involvement.
If, and it’s a big if given Arsenal’s quality and form this season, West Ham are successful in shutting Arsenal down for the most part in this area of the pitch, then it’s likely that West Ham will find themselves in a favourable situation on the counter in terms of numbers as, with Jesus’ absence forcing Odegaard into a more advanced creative role, there will be additional space to drive into. Although West Ham have struggled this season generally, they do possess some quality in the final third, with Benrahma, Bowen, Paqueta, Antonio and Fornals all capable of causing significant problems when allowed to do so.
Breaking Down the Low Block
When out of possession, West Ham are going to be as compact as possible, with every player performing a defensive function but only pressing Arsenal with any real intent once they start to advance towards the final third as they will not want to compromise their defensive shape. This will present Arsenal with a significant challenge at times, as is often the case in club football in fixtures between clubs with a disparity of available talent. As stated earlier, although West Ham have suffered five defeats in seven away Premier League matches, picking up just four points and scoring three goals, the fact remains that they have conceded just one goal per game away from home. While we obviously expect Arsenal to be in the ascendency when it comes to the general run of play and for them to be territorially dominant, they will find themselves up against a dogged, well-disciplined West Ham side who will be determined to escape the predicament that they’re in.
Therefore, Arsenal will surely look to stretch the play as much as possible and that involves playing where the space is likely to open up. Typically, in matches such as these, defensively-minded teams will sacrifice some space in wide areas, and it’s here that Arsenal will look to call upon the likes of Martinelli and Saka to act as roving inside-forwards, attempting to pull apart West Ham’s defensive shape. In turn, this should allow Tierney and White to create overloads and inject a little unpredictability into Arsenal’s attacking forays. With space at a premium, Arsenal’s off-ball movement must be constant. Nketiah in particular will be required to make runs at every opportunity even if very little seems to be on at times, in case an Arsenal attacker manages to find him in a condensed area through a moment of inspiration or a defensive lapse.
Beat the Bookmaker Arsenal vs West Ham Prediction
This match is likely to be more keenly contested than it may appear at first glance. Despite the gulf between the two sides, West Ham are well-versed in making life difficult for their opponents and are capable of playing a brand of defensive football in these matches which can be immensely frustrating for the opponents. In this regard, the loss of Gabriel Jesus will heavily impact the Gunners’ ability to play between the lines. We expect them to have Martin Odegaard operate in a more advanced role to compensate, but they will be wary of the threat that this could bring against them on the counter-attack. We also cannot ignore West Ham’s impressive European form, nor can we discount the notion that smaller squads are disproportionally affected by the impact of European club football in such a condensed season. We do, however, expect the Gunners to come through this match with three points.
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham, Both Teams to Score
Beat the Bookmaker Arsenal vs West Ham Prediction – Both Teams to Score Odds:
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