Sitting three points behind Champions League positions, West Ham will be eager to defeat Arsenal on Saturday, this keeping their top 4 hopes alive ahead of the season finale. The Gunners, on the other hand, still believe they can challenge Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur for the Premier League trophy, but the reality is their top 4 berth will be in danger if they lose at Boleyn Ground.
Whatever happens in the final stretch of the season, West Ham will have reason to celebrate this summer, but they also have a unique chance to turn the current campaign into a huge success. The Hammers are still going strong in the FA Cup, where they will have to beat Man Utd and Everton to reach the final, and that does not seem such a difficult task at the moment. But, it is the Premier League top 4 chase that has the priority now, as the team are still within a fighting chance of securing Champions League qualification. West Ham’s performances this season have been so impressive that they have reason to regret failing to beat Chelsea on the road and Crystal Palace at home, and the next few games will show us what Slaven Bilic’s men are made of. Sandwiched between Premier League fixtures against title chasers Arsenal and Leicester City will be the FA Cup clash vs Manchester United, so no doubts next ten days will be quite eventful for the Hammers. But, having done so well against top sides this season, especially at Boleyn Ground, where they are unbeaten in last 15, we have no reason to doubt that West Ham will live up to the billing when facing Arsenal.
There have been some very good news for manager Slaven Bilic as his key midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has had his red card overturned and he is available for selection.
With Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho returning into action, James Collins and Sam Byram remain the only two footballers in the treatment room.
Arsenal fans have long ago become frustrated at seeing their team show a great deal of promise in the first part of the season, only to fall big time when it really matters. The current campaign has been no exception as the Gunners have again failed to mount a serious title challenge, even if the players are determined to persuade us the opposite is true. Having missed a very good chance to make it three FA Cup trophies in a row and also crashing out of the Champions League, Arsenal can now fully focus on the Premier League campaign, but rather than harbouring unrealistic title hopes, they should concentrate on not letting the top 4 berth slip out of their hands. The Gunners currently boast a five-point advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United, but failure to win at Boleyn Ground would certainly complicate the situation and that is likely to place extra pressure on the team that do not exactly know how to cope with these kinds of situations. Back to back wins over Everton and Watford could suggest Arsenal are on fire at the moment, but victories over two out-of-form sides will not prepare them for what awaits them against West Ham.
Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini are both ready to return into action, although neither is expected to start at Boleyn Ground.
The likes of Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky have also resumed full training, but they will be building match fitness playing for the Under-21 side this weekend.
Key Factors to Consider
- West Ham recorded a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture
- Arsenal had won ten straight meetings ahead of that game
- The Hammers are unbeaten in last 15 home games (W9 D6)
- West Ham kept six clean sheets in last ten home fixtures
- Arsenal have three wins in last ten away games in EPL (D4 L3)
West Ham have been thoroughly impressive at their Boleyn Ground and having also performed really well against most top sides, we are backing them to get at least one point from this match. Arsenal have largely struggled each time they had a chance to get closer to their title rivals and they are unlikely to get anything from this game.
Verdict: West Ham not to lose
Best Odds: 5/6