PREMIER LEAGUE

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR FOOTBALL PREVIEW Mon: Arsenal v West Ham

The Premier League returns after the World Cup break for its Boxing Day fixtures, with a London derby between league leaders Arsenal and a struggling West Ham side.

Arsenal have outperformed expectations during the first half of the season and find themselves unbeaten in the Premier League, with four wins in their last five matches in the league putting them five points ahead of Manchester City – who don’t play until the 28th.

The Gooners lost 10 players to the World Cup, but only William Saliba (France) made it past the quarter-finals, giving gaffer Mikel Arteta a near full squad to choose from. However, the knee injury to Gabriel Jesus at the World Cup is causing unease at the Emirates and Arsenal will be much poorer for his absence. Eddie Nketiah could be given the chance to cement a starting place in the side, but there are rumours of Gabriel Martinelli being lined up for the striker role instead.

Arsenal v West Ham United
Premier League
20:00 Amazon Prime Video

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
MAY 2022 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
DEC 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
MAR 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 3-3 Arsenal
SEP 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 2-1 West Ham
MAR 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 1-0 West Ham
DEC 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 1-3 Arsenal
JAN 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
AUG 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
APR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 4-1 West Ham
DEC 2017 LEAGUE CUP Arsenal 1-0 West Ham

West Ham only lost 5 players to the World Cup, but all of them bar Thilo Kehrer (Germany) made it to at least the quarters, with Nayef Aguerd (Morocco) and Alphonse Areola (France) finishing 4th and 2nd in the tournament respectively. The Hammers are dealing with multiple injuries, including to Aguerd with striker Gianluca Scamacca and centre back Kurt Zouma also potentially missing the cross-London trip.

Even without Jesus, Arsenal are expected to be too strong for West Ham. England star Bukayo Saka is expected to return and club top scorer Martin Odegaard wasn’t at the World Cup, giving the Gooners plenty of in form firepower. Arsenal’s mid-season friendlies against Lyon and Milan went to plan (3-0, 2-1 in the 90), even if two own goals lost them their third vs Juventus – where they had a near full first choice squad on the pitch.

West Ham’s mid season break went to plan – they went unbeaten with a 4-2 win over Cambridge Utd and a 3-1 win over Udinese, before an even 1-1 with fellow top flight-ers Fulham. David Moyes started near first choice XIs in the games, with summer signing Flynn Downes in Declan Rice’s holding role, suggesting a potential future partnership, but given their league position and the opposition they face, it’d be no surprise if he was straight back in for the trip to the Emirates.

With Gabriel Jesus absent it may be best to leave Arsenal in the match odds, especially as we’ve only seen a handful of Premier League sides (those involved in the Carabao Cup) in competitive action.

One player who should be fresh – and seriously involved – is Martin Odegaard, who is a tempting price at 14/5 to score anytime with starsports.bet. He scored Arsenal’s two goals against Wolves before the World Cup – taking his tally to six for the season – and with Gabriel Jesus out he could take it on himself to play an even bigger attacking role. He found the net against AC Milan in their Dubai friendly and he’s taken 30 shots this season, putting him just inside the top 20 most frequent shooters so far this season.

WILLIAM KEDJANYI


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