West Ham v Arsenal Preview

West Ham host Arsenal this Saturday as they search for their first win over their London rivals since 2007 (5.30pm BST).

Although West Ham had a year to re-group in the Championship, that winless run is nine matches and Arsenal have won the last four home and away games between the two sides.

After winning last year’s cplay-off against Blackpool, West Ham have wasted no time in settling back into life in the Premier League. That is due to keeping a number of their top players during their one year stint in the championship.

Whether the players believed they would bounce straight back or they were just so passionate about playing for West Ham is unknown but Sam Allardyce clearly has a special rapport amongst his squad.

Despite being relegated, West Ham kept hold of the likes of Carlton Cole, Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Ricardo Vav Te. In keeping these star players for their year off away, they have not had to build a new team ethos on returning to the top flight. As a result they are seventh and the two other promoted teams, who finished above them in the Championship, are seventeenth and nineteenth.

West Ham have not had the hardest start to the season, in fact it was about the most straightforward start that they could have asked for as the highest placed side from last year that they have faced is Fulham, who finished ninth.

So while Southampton have played both Manchester sides, Arsenal and Everton, West Ham have been playing predominantly bottom-half sides. In the summer Allardyce recruited well in bringing in Andy Carroll and Yossi Benayoun, both on season long loans from Liverpool and those two have added great experience and Premier League quality to their squad.

West Ham’s only loss of the Premier League to date came against Swansea away from home but since then they have beaten Fulham and QPR and earned draws against Norwich and Sunderland.

West Ham’s most disappointing result of the season came in the Capital One Cup last week when they were thrashed 4-1 by Wigan at home however they bounced back to beat London rivals QPR 2-1 away from home last Monday. West Ham welcomed back striker Andy Carroll in that victory but picked up a hefty fine in the process from the FA as they received a Premier League record of eight yellow cards.

Arsenal will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to rivals Chelsea last weekend. That defeat was Arsenal’s first in any competition this year and after a series of strong defensive performances this year, that performance was a return to the Arsenal defending of yester year.

Arsenal did beat Olympiakos 3-1 in midweek to put them in a very strong position to qualify for the knockout stages of European football yet again. For the second game in a row there were goals for Gervinho and Lukas Podolski.

Gervinho has recovered remarkably well from his appalling outing at Manchester City and his confidence looks sky high at the moment after a superb goal against Chelsea last weekend. It was his second goal in two European games. Arsenal are set to welcome back Jack Wilshere soon and an appearance on the bench may be a possibility this weekend.

Andy Carroll caused Arsenal a magnitude of problems during his time at Newcastle but this season Arsenal have looked more organised and defensively assured, bar last weekend.

With Gervinho, Podolski, Carzola, Ramsey and Arteta in fine form Arsenal should be too strong for West Ham and they should extend their winning run over their London rivals to five matches.

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