Emirates Stadium, London
Tuesday, April 15
2:45 p.m. EDT, 19:45 BST
- Match Officials
- Referee: Kevin Friend
- Assistants: Harry Lennard and Matthew Wilkes
- 4th Officials: Chris Foy
- Reverse Fixture: West Ham 1 - 3 Arsenal
- This Match, Last Year: Arsenal 5 - 1 West Ham
- All-Time in All Competitions: 57 Arsenal wins, 33 West Ham wins, 38 draws
- Arsenal's League Form: L-W-L-D-D-L
- West Ham's League Form: L-L-L-W-W-L
- Weather: Clear, 12 C / 53 F
With Arsenal having just played the little matter of an FA Cup Semi-Final just three days ago, not only will the players likely be a little less than rested, but this preview will be as well, meaning that due to a lack of time, it'll be another quick post, with the essentials honed down to bullet points.
It's time to put the FA Cup aside, tortuously thrilling as the victory may have been, and get back to basics. It's advantage Everton in the battle for fourth place; Sports Club Stats clocks them in at 57.2% odds to finish fourth, leaving Arsenal at 42.2%, based on over 842 million weighted simulations, most of which are done using small figurines, I believe.
In terms of remaining fixtures, both clubs will face 13th place Hull City away in their final five matches. Arsenal will also play 9th place Newcastle, 11th place West Ham, and 16th place West Brom at home, plus 17th place Norwich on the road. Everton have 3rd place Manchester City, 7th place Manchester United, and 12th place (!) Crystal Palace at home (this match is tomorrow,) plus 8th place Southampton on the road.
Everton have a two point lead and a +6 advantage on goal difference. Their schedule certainly looks more difficult on paper, but Arsenal will be facing more teams fighting against relegation than the Toffees. It's a big job to be done, but there are still 15 points up for grabs.
Arsenal Squad News
Out: Ozil (hamstring,) Wilshere (foot,) Walcott (knee,) Ryo (ankle,) Diaby (knee)
Doubts: Ramsey (muscle,) Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin,) Monreal (dead leg,) Podolski (leg,) Rosicky (hip,) Gnabry (knee,) Koscielny (calf)
Suspended: Flamini (second of two, accumulation)
- There is a chance that Laurent Koscielny (calf) may start for the first time since the loss to Chelsea, after he departed that debacle at halftime. He faces a late fitness test. It would be the first time Arsenal had all four of its first choice defenders playing at the same time since Kieran Gibbs was sent off for confusing Andre Marriner.
- Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked knackered after extra time on Saturday; perhaps Kim Kallstrom gets his first Arsenal start here to give somebody a much needed rest, as Mathieu Flamini serves the second match of a two match ban.
- Lukas Podolski also apparently had a "little muscle problem" but Arsene Wenger expects him to be all right.
Predicted XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Kallstrom, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
West Ham Squad News
Out: McCartney (hamstring,) Borriello (calf)
Doubts: Nolan (hamstring,) O'Brien (shoulder,) Collins (calf)
- Captain Kevin Nolan faces a late fitness test with a hamstring injury.
- Joey O'Brien is a doubt; he's just returned to training from a dislocated shoulder. Meanwhile, James Collins also faces a late fitness test.
- George McCartney and Marco Borriello are definitely out for the Hammers.
- West Ham have not played since Sunday, April 6, meaning they have had eight days of rest.
Predicted XI: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero, Noble, Taylor, Diame, Downing, Jarvis, Carroll.
- As I had to remind many of you back in September when Arsenal dispatched West Brom from the League Cup on penalties, winning such a shootout counts not as a win but as a draw for the sake of discussing form.
- As such, Arsenal have now gone five matches without a regulation victory across all competitions. Arsenal's last streak of this length came in March-April of 2011, in the aftermath of losing the Carling Cup Final to Birmingham City, but after beating Leyton Orient in an FA Cup replay. Arsenal ended that season with two wins from their final 13 matches.
- West Ham sat in 18th place, even after a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, on January 29. They rattled off four wins after that to rise to 10th and still sit in 11th, despite losing four of their last six.
- The Hammers have kept 13 clean sheets in 33 league matches this season, though have gone seven league games without a shutout.
- Arsenal have won their last seven matches against West Ham, across all competitions, dating back to a 2-2 draw in October of 2009 during which I got drenched in beer by West Ham fans celebrating their equalizer; Arsenal had led 2-0. That game sucked.
- Arsenal came from behind to win the reverse fixture, 3-1, on Boxing Day. It remains the only time Arsenal have come from behind to win a league game this season. Lukas Podolski returned from a hamstring injury from the bench to ignite the Gunners; the German scored and Theo Walcott netted a brace after Carlton Cole gave West Ham the lead in the 46th.
- The Gunners scored three goals in 10 minutes in this fixture last year, one in which they also came from 1-0 down to win. Olivier Giroud had a brace, while Podolski, Walcott, and Santi Cazorla also scored in a 5-1 Arsenal victory.
- Arsenal have not only won their last seven against West Ham, but they are also unbeaten in 12 against the Hammers. West Ham's last win against Arsenal marked the first time a visiting team won at the Emirates Stadium; Bobby Zamora scored just before halftime and West Ham held on to win 1-0 in April of 2007.
- The referee is Leicestershire-based Kevin Friend.
- Arsenal have not had Friend as referee this season.
- Arsenal have a record of three wins (3-0 over Wigan, 6-1 over Southampton, and 7-5 over Reading in the League Cup) and two draws (1-1 with Leyton Orient in the 2011 FA Cup and 2-2 with Liverpool last January) all-time with Friend in the middle.
- Kevin Friend has taken charge of one West Ham match this season, their 1-0 loss to Hull in September that was decided by a controversial penalty.
Around the League
- Wednesday: Everton v. Crystal Palace; Goodison Park, Liverpool
- Wednesday: Manchester City v. Sunderland; Etihad Stadium, Manchester