On Sunday, Arsenal travel to West Ham United in what will be the latest examination of their title credentials. It is a London derby that will be an impact on the battle at both ends of the table, with the home side still needing points to ensure their survival. Last weekend, they were boosted by a win against Fulham, but there remain concerns about their performance levels. David Moyes will know that his side need to be much better if they are to get anything from the game on Sunday.
West Ham United will want a better performance at home than their previous outing, where they shipped five goals to Newcastle United. It was a display filled with individual errors and supporters will be concerned that it could be even worse against Arsenal. Since then, they have beaten Fulham and drawn to Gent in the Europa Conference League. The results look okay, but they have been more passive than their opposition in both matches. That coupled with fatigue is a real concern ahead of Sunday’s game.
Aaron Ramsdale was the hero last weekend, as he made some huge saves to ensure Arsenal left Liverpool with a point. To lose a two-goal lead was disappointing, but Mikel Arteta will be pleased that his side managed to leave Anfield with something. It is one of the most difficult places to go in the Premier League and their fate remains in their own hands. A point won’t be good enough this weekend, especially as Manchester City will be expected to beat Leicester City.
West Ham have only won two of their last 29 Premier League matches against Arsenal.
Arsenal haven’t lost in the Premier League when they have scored the first goal. No other team has managed that in the current season.
It has been a challenging season for West Ham, but Declan Rice has continued to impress in midfield. There are no doubts that he is good enough to move to a Champions League club and that will be on his mind going into the summer. It feels like the right time for him to leave the London Stadium and West Ham will benefit from his sale, as they will get a huge fee for him. That will help their own recruitment, whether it is David Moyes leading it or not. During his youth, he was a part of the Chelsea academy. He didn’t make the grade at Stamford Bridge and that disappointment has helped fuel his own rise to the top of English football. Now, he could be returning to one of the elite clubs, but he will want to finish his West Ham career on a high. If they manage to avoid relegation and win a European trophy, it will be the perfect send off. Arsenal have a very good midfield and it will be difficult for West Ham to dominate in that area. They need Rice at his best if they are to have a chance this weekend.
As one of the few players in the Arsenal squad with title winning experience, it will be important that Gabriel Jesus is in the team in the coming weeks. Since returning to the team, he has played very well and Arsenal do look a better functioning attack with him. At Manchester City, he was used to playing in the highly pressurised games at the end of the season. His experience will be vital for the Gunners, as the younger players can follow his lead. In hindsight, the Brazilian can be viewed as one of the best signings made last summer. Despite his injury, he has contributed eight goals and five assists. Jesus offers goal threat and creativity, which is why Arteta believed he was the perfect striker for this team. The quality of the wide forwards means they need someone to link the play, more than a prolific goalscorer.
Gianluca Scamacca is the only injury concern for the home side. Moyes may choose to rotate his team after the draw during the week. One eye will be on the second leg of their European quarter final.
William Saliba could be back involved this weekend. It remains to be seen if Arteta will rush him back. Eddie Nketiah is a week or two away from a return to action.
West Ham haven’t been very good for the last few weeks. Even their win over Fulham wasn’t a dominant display, with the Hammers conceding possession and territory. If they do the same again on Sunday, Arsenal will run rampant. Moyes can’t afford another thrashing at home following the Newcastle game. They will look to frustrate Arsenal, but the league leaders should have enough to win.
West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal