Arsenal have their second London derby in the space of 3 days on Wednesday night when they take on West Ham at the Emirates. It is a game they cannot afford to drop points in, with it being their game in hand of teams above them such as Everton and Tottenham.
Lukas Podolski has resumed training after an illness that kept him out of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea. He is expected to be back in the squad tomorrow, as is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was also ill when the Gunners played at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal are lacking options in midfield with Mikel Arteta still out (calf strain) plus Francis Coquelin has a hamstring injury picked up in the defeat to Chelsea and Abou Diaby is doubtful with a thigh injury.
West Ham are expected to be without James Collins and Marouane Chamakh is ineligible for this fixture as he is on loan to West Ham from Arsenal.
There’s no hiding from it. Arsenal need results and they need them fast. West Ham are currently 12th but only 7 points behind the Gunners who are currently 6th. Arsenal have lost two big games recently in the league, the first at home to Man City and the second away to Chelsea at the weekend. Those dropped points have made this game vital and anything less than a win will increase the pressure on Arsene Wenger to spend some money in the transfer market.
This fixture was originally intended for Boxing Day but tube problems meant that they fixture had to be postponed. Arsenal were in form at Christmas, they would probably rather have had the points in the bag back then. But that is life. Arsenal need to get a win tomorrow night. It won’t get any easier for them either. After tomorrow’s London derby they have a tricky FA Cup tie at Brighton and then face in form Liverpool at the Emirates.
Arsenal won the reverse fixture 3-1 back in October with goals from Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla cancelling out reported Arsenal target Mohamed Diame’s opening goal. I would certainly settle for 3-1 tomorrow night!. I will take a scrappy 1-0 win myself as the 3 points are the most important thing, but it won’t fill me with any confidence going into the Brighton and Liverpool games!.