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Arsenal vs West Ham: Match preview, predicted lineups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch
Can the high-flying Gunners continue where they left off before the World Cup break?
When and where to watch Arsenal vs West Ham
Arsenal vs West Ham kicks off at 8pm on Monday 26 December.
You can catch all the action from the Emirates Stadium on Amazon Prime via BT TV.
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Arsenal vs West Ham preview
Gooners are daring to dream as Arsenal resume their Premier League campaign five points clear of favourites Manchester City, as the north London outfit aim for their first title in 19 years.
Mikel Arteta has created a settled side who have already shown their mettle on numerous occasions this campaign, as gritty wins over Fulham, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Chelsea demonstrate, with the team heading into the World Cup off the back of three straight league wins over Nottingham Forest, Graham Potter's men and Wolves.
Arsenal also have a encouraging spread of goalscorers this season, with Martin Odegaard leading the way on six league goals, with two of the Gabriels, Jesus and Martinelli, just behind on five, and Bukayo Saka (four) and Granit Xhaka (three) chipping in as well. However, Jesus is now out for around three months, placing much of the Gunners' goalscoring burden on the shoulders of the inexperienced Eddie Nketiah.
West Ham ended the first portion of their campaign in the top flight the same way they started, with three defeats, as they finished on the losing side against Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Leicester.
In between those struggles, the Irons have picked up wins over Villa, Wolves, Fulham and Bournemouth, but only the first of those victories came on the road.
David Moyes will hoping that big-money summer signing Gianluca Scamacca has used the World Cup break to refresh mentally as the Italy striker currently finds himself on nine competitive games without a goal, although the 23-year-old may not be fit to play in north London after rolling his ankle in a friendly at Fulham earlier this month.
Arsenal vs West Ham predicted lineups
Arsenal (4-3-3): Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Kehrer, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; Scamacca.
Arsenal vs West Ham: Injuries and suspensions
Other than Gabriel Jesus, Emile Smith Rowe is unlikely to return from a groin injury sustained in September.
Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu are doubts for Boxing Day with calf and thigh injuries respectively, while William Saliba's participation is also uncertain after he suffered a muscular problem and Mikel Arteta fears that Reiss Nelson will be "out for a while" after picking up a thigh injury in the recent friendly against Juventus
In good news though, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are back from World Cup duty and both attackers played in a training-ground friendly against Luton on 21 December.
For West Ham, Kurt Zouma is out after underdoing knee surgery, while Maxwel Cornet (calf), Nayef Aguerd (virus and adductor strain), Aaron Cresswell (hamstring), Michail Antonio (calf) and Gianluca Scamacca (ankle) are all doubts for the trip to the Emirates, but Declan Rice and Lucas Paqueta is expected to feature following their World Cup involvement.
Form (last six league matches from oldest to most recent)
Arsenal – WWDWWW
West Ham – DLWLLL
Arsenal vs West Ham: Last time they met
Two goals from set pieces proved enough for Arsenal as they battled to a 2-1 victory over West Ham at the London Stadium in May.
That result - courtesy of headers from Rob Holding and Gabriel either side of Jarrod Bowen's strike - put the Gunners into fourth place with just four games of the season remaining, though they would eventually lose the final Champions League spot to Tottenham.
Another ugly but efficient win would be more than enough for the three-time Premier League winners this time around as they look to sustain their unexpected title challenge.
The last meeting between these two at the Emirates saw Arsenal run out 2-0 winners last December, with Gabriel Martinelli stroking home coolly after Alexandre Lacazette's precise through-ball.
Vladimir Coufal then received a second yellow for a foul in the box on Lacazette, but the striker had his penalty superbly saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
However, with the Hammers tiring, Emile Smith Rowe exploited the space afforded to him and strode forward to drive home and wrap up the three points.
He said what?!
Mikel Arteta on David Moyes' influence after the Scot signed him as a midfielder for Everton:
"He was extremely supportive all the time and everything we did together, and I have incredible memories with him because we had a very successful time together.
"I'm so grateful first off for the trust he always showed in me. For how much I learned of him on the field, off the field, about building a team, about getting the right characters in the team to build what you want."
Arsenal vs West Ham: Players to watch
Martin Odegaard may well benefit from the mid-season break and was the key man in Arsenal's last game against Wolves, scoring both goals to earn his side a hard-fought win.
Said Benrahma was probably West Ham's biggest attacking threat heading into the World Cup, scoring two in his last four league matches.
Arsenal vs West Ham: Key stats
- The last seven meetings between these sides have produced 28 goals
- West Ham haven't taken points off Arsenal at the Emirates since August 2015 - a 2-0 win