Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. West Ham United

Emirates Stadium, London
Wednesday, January 23
2:45 p.m. EST, 19:45 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Andre Marriner
    • Assistants: Mike Mullarkey and Andy Garratt
    • 4th Official: Anthony Taylor
  • Reverse Fixture: West Ham 1 - 3 Arsenal
  • This Match, Last Time: Arsenal 1 - 0 West Ham (October 30, 2010)
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 55 Arsenal wins, 33 West Ham wins, 38 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: W-W-W-D-L-L
  • West Ham's League Form: D-L-L-W-L-D
  • Weather: Cloudy, 2 C / 35 F
Well, Gervinho scored.
Arsenal needs to turn in the right direction and fast. I'm not going to go on any long rants about not making any signings now that we're 23 days into January; that's not really my bag. As your preview writer, my purpose here is to tell you about what to expect on the pitch, not in the boardroom.

Arsenal are quickly working themselves into a position where they cannot continue to drop points in such a wasteful manner. They need to start racking up wins, lest they lose all hope of a top four finish. There's still plenty of time left, but you cannot dig the hole too deep.

This is Arsenal's game in hand; having not played this fixture on Boxing Day is the reason they look a little lower in the table than they should be. That is, they're lower in the table than they should be only if they get a result tonight. Win, and Arsenal are just four points out of fourth.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Coquelin (hamstring), Arteta (calf), Rosicky (calf), Gervinho (Africa Cup), Fabianski (shoulder? ankle?)

In terms of those Arsenal have lost since the Chelsea match, Francis Coquelin is out with a hamstring problem. In terms of those coming back, it appears that Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both back in training after both battled illness.

Mikel Arteta is still out with a calf injury, which is now at one-and-a-half out of three weeks. Let's hope it's not Diaby "three weeks," though. There's still no word on Tomas Rosicky whatsoever, aside from the fact that Thomas Eisfeld is amused by him:

Ditto the lack of news on Lukasz Fabianski (though, that should not concern you as much.) Meanwhile, Gervinho scored a rather tidy winner against Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo yesterday.

As for the squad to select tonight, well, there has to be some rotation, right? Arsenal have been playing two games a week for a bit now, and that's not going to ease up any time soon. Abou Diaby needs a rest. Ditto Santi Cazorla. Probably Jack Wilshere too. Basically, the whole midfield. And, some of the defenders. Especially Bacary Sagna, who might been in his worst form yet in red and white.

So, with all that said, I won't be making any squad predictions, again, because I have long given up attempting to read Arsene Wenger's mind.

West Ham Squad News

Out: Carroll (knee), McCartney (knee), Maiga (Africa Cup), Chamakh (loan terms)
Doubts: Collins (hamstring)

Well, Marouane Chamakh can't play. That's something, right?

Welsh defender James Collins faces a late fitness test with a hamstring problem. Andy Carroll is out until February with a knee injury; George McCartney is out until March, also with a knee injury.

Modibo Maiga is on international duty, representing Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Current Form

In 2013, Arsenal now have just one point out of a possible nine in league play, and have now lost consecutive Premier League fixtures for the first time this season, and the first time since losing three in a row last January. The FA Cup replay victory over Swansea means that Arsenal have avoided losing consecutive matches across all competitions yet again, something that has already happened twice this season. Arsenal have scored just five goals in five matches since hitting Newcastle for seven at the end of December. It would be nice to turn this ship around a bit, wouldn't it?

As for West Ham, they have only won twice in their last 13 (11 league matches plus two FA Cup matches with Manchester United.) In this 13 match span, West Ham have only picked up a point on the road on one occasion, with a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion on December 16.

Match Facts

Theo Walcott, in October, preparing to ask for "this many"
wages. I've made that joke before, haven't I?
Arsenal's 3-1 win in the reverse fixture was probably the last point this season we all felt really confident in their abilities. The Gunners were in fifth place at the time, but this win meant they had rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2-1 loss to Chelsea. After the win over West Ham, an international break followed. Then, Arsenal lost to Norwich, and the wheels fell off.

In that match at Upton Park, Arsenal controlled the opening exchanges, but the Hammers struck first against the run of play, as Mohamed Diame hit a wonderful strike. Arsenal were level at halftime, thanks to Olivier Giroud's first league goal, and the Gunners pulled ahead in the second half, with goals from Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla.

Arsenal won this fixture 1-0 the last time it was played, in late October 2010. It took 88 minutes for Arsenal to find the breakthrough that day, which they did through an Alex Song header. Arsenal have now won five straight against West Ham, across all competitions, and are unbeaten in ten. West Ham's last win over Arsenal marked the first time a visiting team had ever won at the new Emirates Stadium, in 2007. Bobby Zamora scored just before halftime and West Ham held on to win 1-0.

The Referee

He looks so utterly distraught here. Did he have to give
a penalty against United at Old Trafford, or something?
The referee is West Midlands-based Andre Marriner. This is the first time Arsenal will see Andre Marriner this season. Last year, Arsenal split the four matches he worked for them, with two wins and two losses. There were a combined 26 goals scored in those four games. Those two losses, however, came against the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic.

Marriner has worked one West Ham match this year, a 3-1 loss at Tottenham. Marriner took charge of no West Ham matches last season, while the Hammers were in the Championship.
  • Arsenal's Last Six with Marriner: W-D-L-W-W-L
  • West Ham's Last Six with Marriner: L-L-D-L-W-L
Around England
  • Tuesday, League Cup Semi-Final: Aston Villa 2 - 1 Bradford City (Bradford City wins 4-3 on aggregate)
  • Wednesday, League Cup Semi-Final: Swansea City v. Chelsea; Liberty Stadium, Swansea (Swansea leads 2-0)