Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates on Wednesday night in the English Premier League as the Gunners look to turn their form around
Arsene Wenger’s side have won just 3 out of their last 10 fixtures in all competitions, with all three of those victories coming against non-league opposition. The Gunners simply cannot afford to drop more points against West Ham United or their top 4 hopes will start to look very unrealistic.
West Ham United have also only won 3 out of their last 10 competitive fixtures and manager Slaven Bilic is under increasing pressure to deliver results despite being handed a vote of confidence by West Ham’s owners earlier this week.
Arsenal will be without both Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech – who also missed out on the 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Speaking ahead of the match, Wenger also confirmed that Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be back in contention.
“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey have a test today, and we will see if they can be involved,” he said. “I think there’s a good chance they will be back in the squad. Apart from that, we lost Laurent Koscielny. For how long? I don’t know.”
“It’s an Achilles problem. If he’s ruptured a few fibres of his tendon, it could be a few weeks. If it’s just an inflammation, he could maybe be available for selection next week against Crystal Palace. At the moment, I think he has a scan today and we’ll know much more tomorrow. Mertesacker is available to play, yes.”
Although Mertesacker is available to play, Gabriel Paulista put in a good shift against Manchester City on Sunday evening after coming on for the injured Laurent Koscielny and it is likely he will be preferred in defense.
Up front, Danny Welbeck is likely to start again despite having an indifferent showing against Pep Guardiola’s side. Given that West Ham are likely to adopt a physical approach against Arsenal, it is likely that Olivier Giroud will also feature at some point.
In midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be preferred to Francis Coquelin as Wenger is likely to adopt a more attacking approach to this game but given that he has only just returned from injury it is more likely that Wenger will stick with the midfield that started against Manchester City on Sunday.
For West Ham, Michail Antonio will face a late test to see if he is fit enough for the match while Aaron Cresswell will definitely miss out. Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang also remain sidelined, with Obiang having undergone an ankle operation that will keep him out for the rest of the season.